Tags: capricious, julie cox, serialized fiction
Welcome to Fox Pass, Texas, a small community where the people are friendly and the mythical creatures aren’t so mythical after all. Capricious by Julie Cox follows the adventures of satyr Luke and his fellow myth-folk in a town that borders a whole lot more than Mexico. (Do you need to start at chapter 1?)
Charlie was sitting up in Sally’s bed when they came in, a battered paperback copy of The Hobbit propped on his knees. He looked over the top of his glasses at them, a childlike librarian. “Am I getting kicked out?”
Sally smiled as she sat down on the bed next to him and laid her cheek against his shoulder. “No honey, of course not. Luke and I thought we might could help you. You know, get centered, get past the worst of the trauma. Satyrs work with earth magic, they’re good at that kind of thing.”
Charlie put the book on the bedside table. “I appreciate the gesture, but I’m actually doing fine.”
Sally brushed his hair off his forehead. It fell right back. “You don’t have to put on a brave face, love, we know how traumatic this has all been. It really does help. He did it for August, and Orson, and Mae.”
Luke sat down on the other side of him. “Yes, her. It doesn’t have to be real sexual. Easier that way,” Luke said, then quickly added, “but it’s by no means a requirement.”
“I really do appreciate the offer,” Charlie said, pushing down the blankets and sitting up, “but I actually, truly am doing all right.” His blue eyes were bright, and Luke could see the thoughts bubbling up inside of him, wanting to burst out, like a shaken bottle of soda. “It’s like… I’ve been so passive for so long, staying out of the center of things, staying safe, so afraid the other myth-folk would turn against me if they really knew what I was, if they understood my magic. And they didn’t!”
“Course not,” Luke said. “All myth-folk can be dangerous, capable of evil and violence. Your myth ain’t any more terrible than anyone else’s, though I can see why you’d get some flak for it.”
“It’s not just that,” Charlie said. “It’s that the magic that allows me to pass for human isn’t mine. I forget if I told you already—or if Sally told you—”
“Tell me again,” Luke crooned. Sally curled up against Charlie’s other side.
“When I was little, my mother took me to see a human woman who could work magic. I guess you’d call her a witch, though she sure wasn’t any Wiccan. She wanted to change me into a human, or at least let me look human. The witch took another myth-folk’s magic and put it over mine, like a slipcover on an ugly sofa.” His brow furrowed. “Of course, I only figured out later that she would have had to kill the myth-folk to obtain that kind of magic. It’s kind of sick, you know, like wearing someone’s skin.”
Luke shook his head. “You were a child. You can’t hold yourself responsible for that.”
Charlie waved him off. “I’ve been through all that with Sally, she’s helped me come to grips with it. But other myth-folk frequently got creeped out by me. I come here, and yeah, it’s in the midst of a major crisis, but….” His eyes softened as he smiled. “And you guys trusted me. You let me help. You let me try. And you didn’t give me a bunch of shit.”
Sally threw her arms around Charlie’s neck. “Ohhh, didn’t I tell you so, sweetie? Those guys in Austin are jackasses. People out here are good people.”
“Yes, I can see that now.” Charlie smiled at Luke over Sally’s shoulder. “So thanks for the offer, but I’m more likely to be able to offer you warm fuzzies than vice versa.”
Sally pulled back suddenly. “Oh,” she said, “I wanted to talk to you about that.” She looked over at Luke and bit her lower lip. “Luke, you said something once about… maybe it would be OK for you to draw on other people sometimes. As long as I got to be there, I’d be totally cool with you and Charlie.”
Luke raised his eyebrows. “You sure about that?”
Charlie furrowed his brow. “What are we debating? Are we talking about sex?”
Sally started to answer, and Luke held up a hand. “Let me lead a minute,” Luke said. He trailed the backs of his fingernails up the young man’s arms, watching the goosebumps rise. “Part of being a satyr is that I can tell when someone’s attracted to me, unless they’re actively suppressing it, like Sally did for so long.” Sally stuck out her tongue at him. “And you, son….” He gave him a grin. “You think I’m purdy.”
Charlie rolled his eyes. “Great. Now I can’t even fantasize in peace.”
“Don’t have to be a fantasy,” Luke said. “I think you’re pretty spiffy too. You can do computers, which is badass, you’re smart, you’re willing to step up and help people even when you don’t know how they’ll take it. You just show up and work. That takes a big heart.” He leaned in a little closer, near Charlie’s ear. “And you suit my taste just fine.”
“What taste is that?” Charlie smirked. “Saucy, loyal, dry wit, and prone to fits of violence?”
Luke sighed. “Fine, you have me pegged.”
“Oh, I’d like to peg you in more ways than that,” Charlie said, showing a heretofore undemonstrated forwardness. “But I’d have to have Sally’s approval—no, her enthusiasm.”
“Gawd!” Sally said. “Will you please just kiss?”
Luke cupped Charlie’s cheek in one calloused hand and kissed him. It was so different from that first magic-drunk kiss. He felt the prickling, energetic thrust of Sally’s magic, seeping into him, saturating him, and Charlie’s magic, fluid and fresh. He smelled like the forest after a rain, and Luke breathed him in, making small sounds against his mouth. Charlie opened his mouth and gasped as Luke gave some of that magic back to him, right to the center of him. Luke’s hands strayed over the young man’s chest, pulled him close, enjoyed the warmth of his skin and the brush of his hair. He was so unlike Sally, with her soft curves; Charlie was angular and thin, with a faint peach-colored five o’clock shadow. His heart beat fast and fierce, and his kiss was needful, hungry.
“Son of a bitch,” Charlie hiccupped when Luke pulled back. “Ok, so there are benefits to many lifetimes worth of experience.”
“I’d love to demonstrate further,” Luke purred.
“You bastard. I haven’t gotten laid in like, two years.”
“Well,” Luke said, making himself a little more comfortable, “I’m not prepared to bed you right this moment, in the middle of Sally’s very girly bedroom. But perhaps we can work up to that.” He nodded to Sally. “With her alongside, of course. From that epic grin I’d say her enthusiasm is not lacking.”
Charlie nestled a little closer against Luke, almost as if he wanted to occupy the same space. “Given how often she’s described this particular fantasy, I can’t imagine it otherwise.”
Luke raised his eyebrows at Sally. “Seriously?”
She elbowed Charlie. “Dude, be cool.”
Luke ran his hand down Charlie’s side to his waist and found the edge of his shirt. He slid his hand under the soft cotton and felt up Charlie’s chest, letting the shirt ride up against his arm. Charlie shivered, wriggling with excitement that he had no idea how to express. Luke sat up and unceremoniously stripped off his own T-shirt. Nothing like bare skin, he thought, to up the ante. He lay down and guided Charlie to lie down next to him. The young man’s skin was hot against his, arousal evident in every aspect of his being.
“This is going to be a tight fit, with three of us on a twin bed,” Sally said.
“I’m staying here with the satyr,” Charlie purred.
“How about the floor?” Luke suggested. “It’s a thick carpet, Sally’s comforter is crazy bouncy, and I suspect after today we are all going to sleep like the dead.”
“Sounds good to me,” Sally said. With some doing and maneuvering, the three made themselves something of a nest, with Luke in the middle and all their boots kicked off by the door.
Their kisses were deep and searching, exploring each other with hands and mouths. Luke’s body throbbed with want, aching to hold down the handsome young man beside him and ride him, or to fuck the hell out of the girl on his other side. The satyr in him wanted penetration, possession, his cock deep inside another’s body, pleasure rocking them both senseless. He was quietly smug about his self-control, catering to the needs of his partners, letting them set the pace. Charlie had to be reassured several times that it was OK, that Luke didn’t care he hadn’t brushed his teeth or shaved, and that sex truly wasn’t necessary or even on the table at this early stage. At one point Sally sat up and reminded Charlie that “The Ex” was not in the room. After that he settled down and fretted no more.
At about ten o’clock, Luke heard his mother’s car start up on the front lawn. He’d forgotten she was in the kitchen, and felt a pang of embarrassment. It didn’t last long, as Allison rapped on the door once and opened it.
“Well you don’t you guys look snug,” she said, hands on her hips. Charlie was right, Luke realized; he did have a type.
Sally half sat up, sleepy and satisfied from a terrible, long day that culminated in sex and realized fantasies. “You can join us if you want,” she said.
“Really?” said all three others in the room.
“Sure,” Sally said. “Allison’s cool, as it turns out. I can see why you like her, Luke.” She lay back down and snuggled against Luke’s back—he had been deeply involved in leaving a mark on Charlie’s neck until a moment ago.
“The sentiment of a woman secure in her relationship,” Allison said. “I approve. And I will sure as heck join in the sleeping pile of puppies. After I shower and brush my teeth.” She patted the bag on her shoulder.
Sally pointed. “Hey, when did you get an overnight bag?”
“Are you kidding?” Allison said as she stepped out the door. “I’ve been hanging around Luke long enough to keep a go bag within reach at all times. Makes life a lot more comfortable.” She closed the door on the sleepy trio. When she returned a half hour later in bright turquoise pajamas, they were all beginning to drift off.
“Why do I feel,” she said as she lay down next to Sally and wrestled a corner of blanket from her, “that I have missed something important?”
“Don’t worry about it,” Sally said. “Luke’s got it all figured out.”
From the other side of the pallet, Luke guffawed like a fog horn. That was the last noise he made. The day, and the sheer quantity of magic he’d channeled, had finally caught up to him. He thought he could think of no greater contentment than being curled up with these three people, safe and secure and happy. Then Sootie came in and lay on his cold feet, and the world was perfect. He fell into a bone-deep, dreamless sleep.
Julie Cox lives in Texas with her husband, children, and ever-expanding menagerie of animals on their farm. She runs a small online yarn business and teaches yarn spinning. She has numerous stories published with Circlet Press and elsewhere. For her full list of published works, see her website at www.lazypifarm.com.