More Than Friendship Material Pt. 13byStory_Spinner©
A little while later, everyone had formed a neat little line through the kitchen. The girls had set out bowls, spoons, corn bread and drinks. Each friend took turns getting their food and then plopping down wherever they found a spot to eat.
Liz wiggled close to Todd, with Hollie on the other side of him, making a very happy Todd sandwich. Beside Liz, Tammy sat while Mary and Ben camped on the floor together.
Not much talking was had, as everyone dug in, moaning with appreciation as they ate up. Todd stifled while Ben let a belch rip and Mary elbowed in with a laugh. "Nasty!"
They laughed and giggled. "Hey, at least it wasn't the other end, okay?"
"Thank god for that!" Hollie added and grinned.
With their meal squared away, clean up was a breeze among the six of them, and the girls freshened up and got ready to leave. "So?," Mary asked "Are we all set?"
"We're all ready, as far as I know, " Hollie said. "How many cars are we taking?"
"Good question," Tammy said. "We could all go together in my rental, but it means we'd all have to come back here."
"Or we could all go separately, so we can go straight home," Liz added.
"Not to mention have three available back seats." Mary said with a leer."'Of course just the crowded one could be fun too."
"My fiance, the prude, ladies and gentlemen," Ben laughed. "I don't care either way. Just someone pick."
"OK, I vote for separate," Todd interjected. "It'll be late when we get back, I imagine. Plus, it makes it more of a real date that way, right Tammy?"
Tammy winked. "I like the way you think, Mr. Farmer. Does Liz have a curfew?"
"I wouldn't dream of answering for her, Ms. Reynolds, " Todd replied. "Liz?"
Liz flushed, mildly jealous that Hollie was going to be taking quality time away from her when she desperately wanted to make absolutely sure that they were okay. But Todd seemed like his old self. Still, time along with Tammy was dangerous. She was a feisty one!
"Erm...well, I guess not. Although I do have class in the morning and a few other things to take care of," she informed Tammy and the group in general.
Tammy nodded, "Well I won't keep you out too late then." She winked and gave Liz a playful pat on the behind.
"It's set then!" Todd announced as the group began to file out. Liz grabbed his arm and pulled him back for a moment and gave him another long, sweet kiss that drew out a soft low growl of approval.
She grinned and then kissed his chin and let Tammy drag her away.
Todd and Hollie got into his car and took their place in the caravan, as the group headed to the outskirts of town. The Haunted Hayride was a local tradition often imitated, never duplicated, as the advertising trumpeted. "I know you're not from around here, Hollie," Todd remarked. "Have you ever been to this before?"
"No, I haven't," the slight blonde answered, "but it was actually Tammy's idea to go. She's a city girl, so I think she wanted to try something a little down-homey."
"It'll certainly be that," Todd laughed. "Hope she likes port-a-potties."
'Ewwww," Hollie reacted with exaggerated revulsion. "I'm more worried about making a fool of myself screaming. I'm terrible in horror movies. You would have seen that if you had the good sense to keep dating me."
"Hey, I never even really broke up with you. You're the one who was scheming to push me and Liz together."
"Kidding, Todd, jeez. But you're right, I did do that. I'm a practical girl, and I was just avoiding the inevitable." Hollie sighed wistfully. "It's funny though, when I started dating you, people warned me that it wouldn't last. They were right, just not the way I'd envisioned."
"Yeah. I know I have a rep on campus. I don't think I was as bad as some girls made me out to be, but it was well earned in a lot of respects. Speaking of which, thanks for helping me with this little proposition."
Hollie looked at Todd with mock suspicion. "Proposition? So that was what this about. You wanting a last ride with me to test drive your equipment before the big night with Liz."
Little Todd stirred at Hollie's allegation. "Stop that, OK? While I think this will be mutually beneficial, tonight, you're JUST my date," Todd said, taking Hollie's hand and looking at her earnestly. "But what this is about giving you what you need and deserve."
Hollie's heart fluttered at Todd's words. The hint of subterfuge didn't sound like the guy she thought she'd come to know. It was more like the playa that Cindy had told him about. Still, he wasn't putting on any moves and she had missed his attention. Plus, officially Liz had Tammy tonight, and T could certainly show a girl a good time. "OK, I'll act accordingly," she promised.
Todd smiled. "Great. It should be fun. Call Ben and have everybody wait for us at the entrance. We still need to make a couple of quick stops to grab some things."
Tammy made idle chit chat as they drove and Liz relaxed against her seat when her phone rang. Fumbling to get it out of her pocket, she grumbled and jerked, finally pulling it free. A quick glance at the screen showed Ben's number. "Hey...what's up?" She answered.
Ben relayed Hollie's message and Liz quirked a brow and wondered what was going on. "Um...yeah, no problem. I'll tell Tammy. See ya there."
Shutting her phone with a snap, she tucked it away again. "Apparently Hollie called and said that Todd wants us to all meet out front once we get there. He forgot he has to grab something, so he'll meet us there."
"Any idea what he's up to?" Tammy asked.
"Nope, could be anything when it comes to Todd." Liz said and found herself smiling despite her curiosity. "I'm not sure whether we should be nervous or excited about this...so just brace yourself."
They shared a chuckle as Tammy maneuvered through traffic, following Ben's ride.
Once they arrived the foursome waited for several minutes outside of the entrance to the Haunted Hayride, while scores of other attendees strolled past. The evening was crisp and bright, with only a sliver of moon overhead. Every now and then, a scream or howl would sound from the darkened pasture and wooden area behind the rustic wooden fence and lighted jack-o-lanterns. Eerie organ music, tinny from years of use, emanated from speaker poles adorned with fodder stocks.
"Where the hell are they," Mary grumbled, "It's cold out here, and all the fun and refreshments are in there."
"I'll warm you up, babe," Ben said, gathering his fiance against his hard body.
"If you're cold, Elizabeth, I'd be happy to provide equal service," Tammy teased. Liz blushed but did choose to move in a little closer to the taller girl, as she scanned the parking lot for a sign of Todd and Hollie.
A few minutes passed, then Ben's text alert sounded. He pulled his phone from his pocket and read the message. "Hollie says they're parking now. So, it shouldn't be long. " Moments later, Liz's alert sounded too, and she fished it out, this time from a more accessible pocket. She read the message a couple of times with a confused look on her face.
'What's the matter, hun?" Tammy asked. Liz responded by handing her the phone. Tammy read the message, which was from Todd, aloud. "Whatever happens, all of you just try 2 enjoy the show."
Liz frowned. "Not sure I'm liking the sound of that."
"Awww...it'll be alright." Tammy said and handed her phone back. Liz tucked it into her light jacket, she was glad to have at least thought to bring. It was definitely a chilly night!
"I can smell funnel cakes!" Mary sighed,still snuggling up to her big strong man
Liz grinned."You just read my mind, chick. I will be eating my weight in them."
"Good thing I brought cash then...you're going to be an expensive date, I can tell." Tammy teased.
Liz flushed again and giggled, slipping her arm through Tammy's and leaning into her slightly. The tall brunette chuckled. "Oh I see how it is. No warming you up until I mention food and now you snuggle up to me."
The group laughed until Mary spotted the rest of the group. "There they are!"
As they approached, it became obvious to everyone why Todd & Hollie were late, just not why they had done what they had. "What. The. Hell?" Ben muttered as the pair sauntered confidently toward them. Liz stared open mouthed, Tammy looked on with slight confusion, and Mary let out a slow whistle. Heads from all sides turned and other whistles followed. Todd's hair, usually an unkempt tousle of late, was slicked back with gel and he wore sunglasses, unnecessary but stylish, pushed up to the top of his head. His jeans were charcoal gray and hugged tightly to his body, but not as tightly as the shirt tucked into them The white t-shirt gleamed, courtesy of Liz's laundry prowess, and fit like a kid glove, meaning that a kid could probably wear it. Todd's abs, not a 6 pack, but still evident, could be seen easily under the fabric, while his arm muscles bulged.
Tucked into that bulging arm was Hollie's smaller one, and she was garnering even more attention. She had loosened her pony tail, and her blonde locks waved behind her. The jeans outfit she had been wearing when they left the house had given way to an outfit that mirrored Todd's, only in reverse. Her blouse was tight, black lace with a corseted top that gave a peek at her cleavage. Her midriff was bare, despite the chill in the air, and perhaps because of it, as the chill hardened her nipples to visible points, even behind the dark material. Her pants were gleaming white leather, with high heeled boots to match. Eyes followed them as they came closer and stayed on them as they passed. They looked every bit the power couple - walking sex.
"Come on slow pokes!" Hollie called as they passed the gang, all of them turning their heads to watch the pair, still a bit stumped. Mary quirked a brow and tugged a baffled Ben along and Tammy did the same for Liz who didn't know what to think. While Todd looked amazingly good, the fact that Hollie was just as sexy looking and pressed against his side was making her see green.
"You okay?" Tammy whispered as she moved along her side and wrapped an arm around Liz's curvy waist and hip.
Liz blinked, taking her eyes off the swaying motion of Hollie's form and blinked up at Tammy. "Yeah...I think." She mentally shook herself and tried to remind herself that Todd and Hollie had the right to have fun and dress as they wanted, as well. However, that bone deep twang of jealousy still made her back teeth ache as she clenched her teeth in effort to control herself. What the fuck was Todd thinking?! Was this payback for earlier?
Tammy spoke reassuringly. "Don't let it get to you Liz. You're making it obvious you're not happy with this. I'm sure Todd and Hollie are just playing around."
Liz nodded and blew out a breath, slipping her own arm around Tammy's lean waist and let out a startled giggle as the brunette patted her bottom and slid her hand into her back pocket.
Todd leaned in close to Hollie. "They staring?"
She giggled. "Everyone's staring, and who could blame them. Damn we look hot."
"Yes. Yes we do, and let them stare. Let them all stare!" Todd tilted his head back in an evil laugh, and Hollie's light tones joined him. The additional stares they wanted were soon there in great quantities.
Everyone got in line, but Todd and Hollie were ahead of the rest. They didn't even look back, before Todd paid and led his date through the turnstile and into the midway area. Todd put his arm around Hollie and their hips touched sensually as they made their way to the candy apple stand. As promised earlier, Todd paid, and Hollie chose a decadent caramel variety.
"You sent that text, right?" Hollie asked, once eventually they saw their companions coming through the gate.
"Yep. I did," Todd replied, "which is good, because it's almost showtime." Todd gathered the tiny blonde in his arms, carrying her almost like a bride toward the awaiting hay wagon, while they shared bites from opposite sides of the apple.
Liz was trying to be cool, trying to "enjoy the show" as the text had indicated, but even with a funnel cake balanced in her hands as Tammy gave her a boost onto the ride, she was having a hard time not staring.
Ben was giving Todd and Hollie a perplexed look as well, as he and Mary sidled closer onto the seat and Tammy wrapped an arm around Liz. People around them stared at the strange mix of the group...the attractive but "normal" couple of Ben and Mary, Todd and Hollie's flash, and Tammy and Liz snuggled close together. It was as though the crowd didn't know which ones to focus on the most.
"You got a little sugar...there..." Tammy teased, grinning at Liz and leaning down to trace the tip of her finger across the redhead's full lower lip. Liz's eyes widened as Tammy brought the now sweetened finger to her lips and sucked it off sensually. Liz turned a bright shade of red and stuffed her mouth full of funnel cake.
Cheers and hoots suddenly went up around them, in response to tammy's actions. Hollie looked at Todd to see how he was taking that somewhat unexpected development.. Todd did react, but not as expected. He reached over with his right hand and motioned for Tammy to give him a high five. As Liz reddened further, Tammy obliged with a slight smile.
"Nothing like a cool fall night to have a little sugar, is there ladies," Todd said aloud. "I like your style and applaud your openness. In fact, I think I'll follow your lead." Todd picked up Hollie and sat her astride his lap. Reaching behind her head, he drew her face close and kissed her lightly. "That'll protect you from the monsters, baby," he said as the wagon creaked and rattled on its way to the wooded area ahead. Some college students that Todd recognized from campus, offered a wolf whistle and a silent toast to the couple. Todd gave one guy a fist pound. Hollie just giggled and cuddled closer. Ben turned to look at Mary and both just shook their heads. Usually, they were the crazy couple. This was outside their comfort zone. Ben punched Todd in the leg to get his attention.
"Dude," he whispered harshly, "what the fuck are you all doing? Let me in on the joke."
"No joke," Todd whispered back with a wink. "Just let things ride. It's a magical evening."
Liz focused her gaze on Mary and Ben. They didn't seem overly happy with the situation and neither was she! Although Tammy was helping provide a little distraction, she couldn't understand this sudden 'change' in Todd. It was as if he'd reverted back to his player status.
Mary gave her a sympathetic smile and shook her head in confusion and support. Ben glowered and Liz watched as he punched Todd and after a few exchanges,went slack jawed as if surprised by his friend's answer.
Liz glanced at Tammy who was also taking it all in. The tall girl caressed her back and toyed with her hair, leaning close to talk. "Hollie is playing, too," Tammy said, reassuringly. "I have a hard time believing she would be doing this to upset you. I think they have something going on. So, smile and get into it or ignore them."
Liz nodded slightly and gave Mary a weak thumbs up.
The tractor drawn hay wagon rattled its way into the wooden area, where the true thrills and chills of the ride would occur. Legions of the bloody and mangled awaited the three couples and their fellow passengers, the costumed freaks determined to be paid in screams of terror. The woods glowed with eerie lights playing off wisps of fog. A howl sounded in the dark night, and suddenly a snarling werewolf leaped to the middle of the wagon. Hollie screamed and buried her head in Todd's chest, and Todd jumped a little himself. The wagon rolled to a stop and from out of nowhere a vicious looking beast grabbed a petite high school girl seated near the front by the tractor. The wolfman tossed the screaming, struggling girl over his shoulder and jumped from the wagon. Todd watched as the creature ran off with the girl into the forest, her cries growing quieter as they moved farther away. A worried sounding voice came over the loudspeaker mounted on the wagon. "Folks, there's no telling what manner of things are lurking in this forest. Our best bet is to keep going and get through it as soon as we can. But, it's likely to get worse before it gets better. Just keep your loved ones safe and close to you, and pray for that poor girl. I've radioed the authorities, so hopefully they'll find her before it's too... OH MY GOD!! Hang on, everyone!"
Zombies erupted from the nearby underbrush and grabbed for the sides of the wagon, as the tractor lurched forward and resumed its way down the beaten dirt path. Mary screamed, and Hollie clutched tightly at Todd's arms. It had been a while since Todd had been on this ride, and they had made some interesting additions, it seemed. He just hoped that the one section of the ride he was counting on was still on the agenda.
This was not really Liz's thing and while she managed to squelch her need to scream, she buried herself close to Tammy who gave her just as tight of a squeeze. The crazy action had them all clinging and jerking as surprise after surprise were hurled their way. "Holy shit...you're not picking activities like this ever again!" Liz told Tammy and they both shared a shaky laugh.
"Okay...so not the brightest of ideas Red. But still nice to have you clinging to me," the brunette managed to purr out, and Liz laughed again.
For a moment the ride eased up a bit and everyone took cautious breaths, waiting for the next round. Scene after horrifying scene played out. In each case, just in the nick of time, either the wagon would jerk and move out of the range of the next monster, or the monster would choose another target and quickly vanish. For several minutes the scares came fast and furiously. The tractor rounded a turn, and Todd recognized where they were in the hayride route. Soon, the wagon would be in position for the climax. Ignoring the latest round of ghouls that had drawn everyone's attention, he turned to Ben, poking his friend to get his attention. Ben turned and the two of them began a silent conversation of mouthed words and finger gestures. Years of video games and camaraderie went into action, and both knew what to do when the fateful moment arrived.
The forest canopy grew denser, blocking out even the moonlight from overhead. But, the exit to the woods suddenly appeared in the distance, with the reassuring glow of the midway lights ahead and beckoning in the dark. Suddenly the tractor sputtered and coughed, while the motor died. The headlight from the machine died too, and almost all the light around vanished. The driver called out to the passengers. "I'm working as fast as I can to get it started. Whatever you do, stay on the wagon. Who knows what's out there, and we might never find you if you get lost!" A hush fell over the group, as the driver sought to crank the engine over and over. Then, screams and moans rang out from all over. In the blackness, a woman screamed, as icy fingers drifted over her foot.
"It's got me!" someone else shouted. Children were crying. The sounds of clumping footsteps sounded from all around the wagon. Then, behind them on the path, there appeared the silhouette of a lone horseman without a head. Slowly, steadily, as anarchy reigned among the passengers, the rider urged his horse to walk toward the tractor.
Closer and closer the demon came, until he was alongside. A gloved hand reached out toward Hollie, who screamed. "Oh my God! Todd, where did you go?"
While rationally she knew that this was all an act, that there were no real creatures that went bump in the night, when Hollie screamed, Liz felt a cold rush of fear run down her spine. She stiffened and turned towards her friend's voice, her eyes straining to see what was going on. Reaching out blindly, she groped and startled Mary who gasped loudly and struggled. "Hey!"