Captain Syverson (Jack/John) x Plus Size OFC (Izzy)
Warnings: foul language (that’s just standard for me), absolutely distasteful pie eating jokes, fluff, self doubt, gambling, fighting and violence, angsty cliffhanger ending - @angryschnauzer I won’t blame you if you skip this chapter but I PROMISE I WILL MAKE IT BETTER IF YOU CAN JUST POWER THROUGH IT!
Izzy can’t stand Jack Syverson. She can’t stand him one bit. But if she can’t stand him, why can’t she get him out of her head?
Author’s note: Thank you to the incomparable @amandalove for being my beta and bouncer of all ideas. And to the every lovely @luna-aestas for the amazing header and because now you have to listen to me too! You guys are amazing and I truly appreciate you humoring me and my constant blathering.
Y’all. I don’t own shit. Sy, Sand Castle, my car, my pride, nothing. I’m just playing around.
As always, please let me know if you want on or off my tag list - I only have one and I leave you on it until you request to be taken off :)
18+ only please - minors do not interact with my shit.
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Part One ~ Part Two ~ Part Three ~ Part Four
..... this is Sy.... telling me not to fuck this up.... I promise, Sy. I know what I’m doing..... Maybe.
(gif by @henrycavell but tumblr gif search is a dirty bitch and would only let me find the top one from the gif set so I had to save the other from the gif set and add it manually.... i am not amused.)
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Having tossed and turned for several hours, trying to get any sleep proved to be a fool's dream. I rolled out of bed well after midnight, trudging to the living room to try to read for a bit. I was just getting into my book when I heard a vehicle driving slowly down the lane. Thinking it was weird, because there was rarely traffic during the day, let alone at night, I got up to peek out the front window. My stomach dropped when I saw Sy’s van rolling slowly past.
He must have seen me, because he turned into the drive and sat there for a moment. Unlocking the door, I stepped onto the porch. It was bitterly cold, with little spits of snow visible in his headlight beams. Not dressed for the weather in my pj shorts and tee, I crossed my arms and waited.
What the fuck is he doing? Is he talking to himself? Fuck, it’s cold. I wonder if I can go in and grab a sweater?
Before I could go back in, I heard his door open. Boots crunching on the gravel, he came to a stop at the bottom of the stairs, licking his lips and rocking on his feet, one of his hands behind his back. He cleared his throat and opened his mouth, then shut it again.
Is he…. Nervous? Oh that’s adorable. God, what is he doing here? Is he going to tell me earlier was a mistake? Does he want to finish what we started? Oh god….
I tried to tamp down the flame that shot through my core. I had to admit that his obvious nervousness made me feel a little better, because I’d felt like I was going to vomit since he stepped out of the van.
“Hey, Captain. It’s a little late. Are you ok?” I asked, shivering.
He nodded and cleared his throat again, holding out a bouquet of flowers.
“I just wanted to make sure you got home ok… And I didn’t want to wake you up by calling… I meant to give you these earlier.” He stepped on the first step, handing me the flowers.
“Aw, Sy. They’re beautiful. Thank you,” I said quietly, trying to hold back tears at the sight of the vibrant blooms.
“You’re welcome, Sugar. Git inside now. It’s too cold out here. I’ll see you tomorrow at the festival, ok?”
I nodded, not trusting my voice.
“Night, Captain,” I whispered as I shut the door, watching him until the door was closed, hoping he didn’t hear the catch in my voice.
That was so fucking sweet. But why didn’t he come inside? Because you didn’t ask him. But maybe he would have thought it was too forward? Too forward? The man had his mouth on your… well. Why didn’t he at least kiss me? I wanted him to. He didn’t even come near me.
Watching him start the van from the sidelight, I felt tears start to roll down my cheeks. I wasn't sure if they were happy or sad.
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He was sitting in the van berating himself for sounding like a dunce. He’d practiced what he was going to say to her the whole way there from the mill. For some reason, he’d known she wouldn’t be able to sleep after what had happened between them that evening and that she’d be up, most likely reading to try to calm her thoughts.
“Smooth, Jack. Real fucking smooth, man.” He leaned his head against the seat, staring at the ceiling in defeat.
He’d wanted to reassure her that he’d wanted to stay more than anything. That he’d had to go because that machine was the main one at the mill that employed over fifty percent of the surrounding towns that didn’t work the farms. That what had happened wasn’t how he’d wanted their first time to be, but that it had been amazing seeing her uninhibited like that, and that he wanted to spend the rest of his life seeing her unravel under his touch. He knew he was in deep. Deeper than he’d initially realized. He’d never in his life been dumbstruck speaking to a woman.
“Fuck,” he muttered to himself as she turned off the porch light.
Shaking his head, he reversed down the drive. As he was turning onto the road, he was struck by the nerve to do what he’d wanted in the first place. Why he’d driven all the way to her cottage after a long night of crawling around under the disgusting machines. He was a soldier, for god’s sake. He’d certainly faced scarier situations than Ms. Isobel Payne.
Well. Maybe almost as scary, he thought to himself.
Slamming on the brakes, he turned back into her drive, stopping just in front of the stairs.
He was up the stairs before he knew it, banging on the door like a mad man. The click of the lock sent shivers through his heart as she appeared in the doorway, tears streaking her cheeks. Searching her eyes, he brushed his knuckles down her cheek, wiping away the tears. She gave a little sniffle.
Not able to hold himself back anymore, he pulled her through the doorway onto the porch, his arms wrapping around her, holding her close. A hitch in her breath as he lifted her chin, her teeth teasing the corner of her lip, made him have to reign in his primal instinct to take her right then and there on the porch. Tilting his head and giving her a little smile, he kissed her forehead, her cheeks, her nose. Her eyelids fluttered closed and she let out a content sigh in his arms. He knew that she felt exactly the same way he did when his lips parted hers, soft and pliant against his.
Her tongue darted out to trace his bottom lip, disappearing too soon for his liking. So he followed it with his own, exploring the soft sweetness of her mouth. He groaned as her arms snaked inside his jacket, around his back, her hands gripping his t-shirt tightly as she pulled him closer.
Deepening the kiss, he gripped her ass, pulling her even closer. She whimpered into his mouth, making his inner caveman beat it’s chest in victory. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he noted how thin her shorts were and that her skin was freezing though the flimsy fabric.
Breaking the kiss, he leaned his forehead against hers as they caught their breaths. He held her close, his arms wrapped tightly around her. She lay her head against his chest and shivered in the cold.
“I just wanted to say goodnight,” he murmured. “Again. Properly. I should go. It’s cold.”
She gave a little laugh.
He didn’t release her.
“Not that I mind at all, but I can’t go in if you’re still holding me.”
Unwillingly, he let her go. She stepped back into the warmth of the house, giving him a shy smile. He couldn’t help but grin. He decided he wasn't hiding his glee from her. He felt like a damn teenager and he was going to embrace it. He wanted her to know how he felt about her.
Grabbing her hand, he brushed his lips across her knuckles, his beard tickling the soft skin on the back of her hand.
“Sleep well, Sugar.”
“I think I will now.” She bit her lip, a lopsided smile on her lips that made his heart soar.
He had to control his stride as he walked back to the van, wanting to run, jump, dance, something to let his excitement out. He settled for allowing himself a wide smile the whole drive back to his house.
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“Where do you want the pies?” Tony asked, leaning out the window as he pulled to a stop behind our booths.
I gestured to the long table set up behind the smaller ones that the contestants would sit at. Pam rolled her eyes at her husband and graciously took over and directed him where to put the boxes full of pies.
“Half apple, half peach. The peach ones have a hole in the middle, apple has the crimped sides,” Tony called to me from behind the tables as he took them out of the boxes.
“Thank you!” I called back as I went back to laying out the auction items.
The late afternoon had cleared from the morning snow showers. I’d already shed my jacket, thankful I’d thought to put on a sweater dress with leggings and boots as it was warm enough on its own. Just as I was putting the number tag on the PlayStation I heard the chattering of little boys behind me.
“Mom! Mom! Mom! Look! Oh my god look! Can we get it? Can we? Please? Please? Please? Dad? Please?”
Joe and Maryanne were standing just beyond the edge of the tent with their little girls in a stroller and the twins hanging on Joe’s arms like he was a tree.
That’s how Sy would look with kids. Would we have twins? I wonder who’s side they run on? Oh my god stop, Izzy. He just went down on you, he didn’t propose for Christ’s sake.
“You’ll have to ask Ms. Payne how it works,” Maryanne told them, giving an indulgent smile. Quietly she whispered to me on the side, “We can’t rig this, can we?”
Joe tsked at his wife and pulled out his wallet to buy tickets.
“Just write your names on this side, and you keep this one. If your ticket gets pulled at the end of the night, we’ll call your name and you win the game.”
The boys excitedly wrote their names on the tickets their father had purchased. Joe also bought into the pie eating contest.
“I plan on winning!” he chuckled. “Not everyday I get to eat all the pastry I want. Got to keep up appearances and all that.”
“Oh please, Tony told me you get three donuts every morning.” Maryanne rolled her eyes.
“Tony, what the heck!” Joe called as he went over to talk to him. “Ratting me out to the little woman?”
“She was saying she shouldn’t get one. I thought it would make her feel better!” Tony laughed.
I really love this place. These people. I feel like part of their group. Like they’ve accepted me as one of their own.
“Izzy, please tell him there is no such thing as baker/customer confidentiality!” Tony called.
“Oh I think there might be, Tony.” I shook my head. “I certainly don’t want you telling anyone how many danishes I buy.”
People were starting to arrive, crowding the closed down Main Street. Games, food, raffles, and vendors lined both sides of the road, and a bandstand was set up in front of city hall with a local band playing top forty country music. I watched with amusement as more people than I expected signed up for the pie eating contest. The amount of auction tickets sold was making me have a permanent smile on my face.
We might have enough after all.
About twenty minutes before the pie eating contest, Mikey came running up the street, out of breath when he reached us. Steve and David were trailing behind him with Annie and Rebecca.
“I’m not too late am I? For the pie eating?”
I couldn’t help but laugh.
“You realize the prize is just another pie, right Mikey?”
“Yeah! Two pies for the price of one!” he nodded. “Plus, get to show the ladies my skills,” he smirked.
Annie tried to smack him in the back of the head, but he dodged her.
“If you think this is anything remotely like that, you don’t know what skills are, Mikey,” Rebecca laughed.
“Hey Steve, you got some cash I can borrow?” he asked his brother.
“For crying out loud, Mikey! What happened to the money I gave you yesterday?” Annie asked.
“I had a date!” He waggled his eyebrows as Steve handed him some cash.
“I’ll take one ticket please, My Lady.” He leaned down on the table I sat behind, winking at me.
“Your last meal, Mikey?” Sy asked from behind him, making him jump.
“Oh, hey Sy, how’s it going, man?” Mikey backed away, much to Annie’s joy.
She grinned and looked between Sy and I, elbowing David in the ribs. He nodded as he grimaced, rubbing the spot. Normally I would have been bothered by it, but I didn’t really care anymore. They knew that we liked each other.
Knew it before I did. They just want their friend to be happy. I hope I can make him happy. They obviously think I can.
“You gonna eat some pie, Sy?” Steve asked as he handed me money for him and David to enter the contest as well.
“I’ll buy a ticket, but I think I’m gonna sit this one out, boys. Gets stuck in the beard, you know.” He stood in front of me, stroking his beard as he handed me the money. “Nothing can compare to the pie I had last night, anyways,” he whispered, giving me a wink.
I almost choked on my tongue as I was handing him his change and ticket.
Dear god, let me be the only one that heard that.
Clearing my throat, I closed my cash box with a snap.
“Last ticket! Though we’ll have an extra pie if Sy doesn’t participate.”
“I’ll take it!” Mikey called from over by the tables, waving his bib in the air. “I’ll take the extra pie!”
“Good god, you’d think he didn’t eat half my fridge this morning when he got home.” Annie rolled her eyes.
“He still living with you guys?” Sy asked Annie.
“When he’s home from school. Which seems like he’s home more than he’s there. I wonder if he’s even still going. His grades don’t look like he is. But it’s Mikey.” She shrugged and smiled indulgently at her brother-in-law. “He’s the closest thing to a kid we’ll ever get. And he’s going to live in my basement forever.”
Sy was standing next to her, nodding.
“Yeah, I suppose. Yeah, let him have the pie,” he said to me, watching the rest of them head over to the tables, leaning in and whispering, “It’s the only one I’m willing to give up to him.”
“Sy,” I admonished quietly. “You can help referee.”
He chuckled and walked with me over to the tables.
There was an announcement at the bandstand that the contest would be starting shortly. The crowd began making its way up the street, gathering in front of the tables. Tony stood in front of them with a small trophy in his hand, raising it above his head to get everyone’s attention.
“Alright! We’ve got forty, well 39 contestants to the first Annual Fall Festival Pie Eating Contest! We might think of a shorter name for next year. Anyways! We’ll do groups of ten, one group of nine, obviously, and best times will go on to the final four. Winner gets a pie of their choosing from The Percolator, this spiffy trophy, and glory for God and Kingdom! Plus bragging rights until next year, where they automatically win a seat at the final table. And of course, all proceeds go to the library.” The crowd cheered loudly.
The first group sat, including Joey. Sy, myself and Pam stood watching to make sure the pie was all gone, Tony had a stopwatch. Calling for the contestants to be at the ready, hands off the table, Tony shouted “Go!”
The ten men dove face first into the pies, trying to eat as quickly as they could. It was messy, noisy, and a little bit revolting, but the crowd was loving it. Joey didn’t make it to the final table. Joining us on the sidelines, Maryanne handed him a towel.
“Mine was an apple pie. I hate cooked apples,” he griped goodnaturedly. “I want a redo!”
“Next year, buddy!” Tony called.
The next two groups each went, the winners joining the man that had won the first. The last group came up and in it were David, Steven and Mikey. As they sat down, Mikey was looking around excitedly. Tony gave them the go and they dove in. Mikey was face first into that pie before you could blink. Suddenly he pulled his head back, his mouth full of pie.
“Aw, what the hell? I didn’t get peach? This is a rip off!” Then he dove back in.
Even with his momentary break to bitch about the flavor of pie he got, Mikey still finished first.
The four men that had won their respective rounds all sat down, three of them looking a little sick to their stomachs at having already eaten a full pie in one minute, but Mikey just looked excited that this time, he did in fact, get peach.
They dove in at Tony’s word and gave it their all. Mikey came out victorious, pie all over his face and in his hair.
“That’s how you eat a pie!” He winked at some of the PTO moms hanging over by the bake sale table.
Steve laughed when Annie smacked Mikey on the back of the head again.
“No, Michael. No PTO moms for Christ’s sake,” she hissed.
“Ohhhh, Michael.” Mikey rolled his eyes but still shrunk away from his sister-in-law, eyeing her warily.
“Hey, why don’t you go check out the festival, Izzy?” Maryanne asked, coming over and grabbing the cash box from the table. “We’ll man the auction tent and the bake sale with Pam and Tony for a bit. You’ve never been, you should get to enjoy your first time.”
Joey nodded as he tried to get some of the apple pie filling out of his ear.
“Oh, are you sure?”
“Yeah, they’re sure, Sugar.” Sy placed his hand at the small of my back, steering me away from the tent.
I looked over my shoulder to find them all watching us, then pretending to not be watching us. I bit my lip to hide a smile.
We walked a little ways down the street, stopping to look at some tables of crafts and jewelry. I bought a cute bookmark that had a little silver cow on the tassle.
Sy tried to pay for it but I smacked his hand out of the way.
“Sugar.” He sounded annoyed.
“You still owe me dinner tonight, Captain. Save it.”
He stared at me, his blue gaze making me feel exposed and hot amid the crowded street, a little grin lifting the corner of his mouth.
Oh fuck. It’s not going to just be dinner. The way he’s looking at me makes me feel like I’m going to be dinner. Maybe we should take it slower? Is this too fast? Do I care? I want him. I want him so bad. I don’t think I can go slow. I don’t think he can either.
Trying to breathe, I broke his gaze, moving onto the next booth where there were all kinds of knitted items. I picked up a very pink snow hat and matching scarf.
“You sure do love pink, don't ya?” Sy chuckled as I put the hat on, modeling it for him. “Very nice, Sugar.”
I bought the hat and scarf and a navy blue one for Sy. He protested, insisting on paying.
“Stuff it, Captain.” I paid the woman, who was staring at him in awe as he grumbled and moaned about me being a stubborn woman.
I get it, sister. I totally get it.
We walked over to the next booth and I was surprised to see John standing there. I looked up at the banner they had hanging over the table.
“Applewine Valley Cheeses. Is that Bea on the logo?” I asked him, smiling.
“That damn heifer,” he chuckled. “More trouble than she’s worth.”
“Oh no, did she get out again?”
“No, I think she realized all the apples are gone. Her new thing is trying to come into the house. Follows him around like a dog, for crying out loud.” He nodded at his son, who stood behind me trying not to laugh.
“I do like dogs.” Sy shrugged.
“It’s because you treat her like one.” John pressed his lips together, looking annoyed, but I could tell he was just trying not to laugh.
“How’s business today? We sold out the pie eating contest, and the auction is going well. Thank you so much for the cheese baskets, John.”
He waved me off, smiling at a couple that had stopped to look at the cheese.
“It’s nothing, Izzy. Glad we could help. It’s going fairly well. It’s starting to get dark, why don’t you two move along and let me sell some cheese. Taking up space, blocking the product.”
Giving John a smile and a little wave, we moved on down the street.
“Oh honey, this is the stuff that Maya had at their party last weekend. I didn’t realize they were local!” The lady sounded ecstatic as she started grabbing one of each flavor.
“You hungry, Sugar?” Sy asked, stopping at a food truck selling different fried foods. “Knowing you, you haven’t eaten yet.”
“I’m not starving by any means,” I joked, patting my tummy, and in return getting an annoyed stare from him.
“No, I haven’t eaten yet,” I said quietly.
He ordered a funnel cake, a large soft pretzel, and two coffees. I followed him over to a standing table that had been set up on the sidewalk.
“Don’t you want sugar for your coffee?” I asked him, noticing he was drinking it black.
He gave me a little lopsided smile and blushed.
He’s fucking blushing, I can’t survive.
“I don’t put sugar in my coffee. That whole thing with the sugar at Tony’s? I just did that so I could talk to you.” He looked down at the funnel cake, tearing a little piece off and holding it up to my mouth. “That was the most disgusting coffee I’ve ever drank in my life.”
Opening my mouth to his offering, he popped the little piece of fried dough on my tongue, the powdered sugar dusting my lip. His thumb brushed across my bottom lip, picking up the sugar. I watched him in awe as he licked the sugar off his thumb, his eyes locked with mine.
Is there an alley around here I can drag him into? Maybe we can go back to the library for a few minutes… an hour… the rest of the night?
Nearly choking on the funnel cake, I took a large swig of the burning hot coffee, sputtering a little.
“You alright there, Sugar?” He smiled as he took a bite of the pretzel.
“Yeah,” I rasped. “Just a little thirsty.”
So fucking thirsty.
As we ate, we talked about the job he’d had to do the night before, how he’d managed to get the water supply to the machine working enough to run and how he’d spend the next several days there making sure the problem wouldn't happen again.
“That mill employs a large part of the surrounding towns. If it’s out of commission, so are they.” He finished his coffee. “I’ll try to get back to the library as soon as I can to finish. We need to get the water back on so the heat can be turned on.”
“Plus it's a little chilly in that portapotty. But I understand the mill is far more important.”
He chuckled as he threw the trash away. Coming back to the table, he took my hand and we walked towards the bandstand set up in front of City Hall. Couples were dancing to a slow love song. We crossed the dance floor towards the games.
Oh don’t they all look so sweet. I wonder if Sy dances? Probably not.
A booth was set up with a target game. Sy stepped up to the counter, handing the man some money.
“Three shots, but I should probably just give you pick of the prizes.” He chuckled, handing Sy the BB gun.
“Yeah, probably.” Sy grinned, glancing up at the stuffed animals hanging from the top of the booth.
“How many bullseyes for that one?” he asked, gesturing at a giant, fluffy, pink leopard.
Sy nodded, handing over the money for the shots and stood on the line, waiting for the man to hang the paper for him.
I turned to find Cindy, smiling at me. She gave me a little smile and gestured towards Sy with her chin.
“Special forces sniper,” she whispered. “He’s always been a crack shot with a bb. Took the head clean off the little cat on Mrs. Tanners Jag when she made Pam fail summer school by one point. Also pierced Billy Scott’s right earlobe when he was beating on Mikey one day. Literally clear through it. He wore an earring for years after that. But we don’t talk about that.” She raised an eyebrow at me.
“No, we don’t, Cin,” he muttered.
Oh wow. I know he said he’d seen a lot of crazy stuff, but special forces? Yikes. I want to hug him.
Sy rolled his muscular shoulders, lined up his sights and pulled the trigger. Twelve little pffs followed in rapid succession. The man shook his head as he returned with the paper, only showing one hole. All twelve went through the same hole.
Why is that hot? That’s fucking hot.
“I’ll be damned, son.” He handed Sy the ridiculously large leopard. “I’m giving this one to Earl to hang behind the bar.”
Sy grinned at me, handing me the plush.
“Figured you’d like the pink one, Sugar.”
I nodded, not trusting myself to speak.
Do not cry over a stuffed animal Izzy. You are a grown fucking woman. I know, but no one has ever won me a carnival prize.... Oh my god, can you marry me?
“You guys heading back up?” Cindy asked, gesturing up towards our booths.
“Yeah, we should. It’s almost time to draw the names.”
“We’ll meet you up there,” Sy said, grabbing my hand and leading me to the edge of the bandstand. “Wanna dance, Sugar?”
“Sy, are you even real?” I asked him as he pulled me and the leopard into his arms on the makeshift dance floor.
“Sometimes I wonder the same about you, Sugar.”
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Swaying to the soft music the band was playing, he couldn’t help but notice people watching them. She must have noticed too because she buried her face against his chest. Smiling, he tightened his arms around her.
She sighed in contentment.
“This just feels right,” he murmured. “Does it feel right to you, Izzy?”
She nodded against his chest.
“Yeah, Jack. It does.” Her voice cracked a little.
“You alright, Sugar? Never called me that before.”
“Never better, Captain. It just seemed to fit the moment better. It is your name.”
He smiled again, breathing in her scent and feeling her warmth in his arms. It was like he was home for the first time after being away for years. She felt like home.
They were silent for the rest of the dance, parting only after the music completely stopped.
Walking hand in hand back up to the library booths, he could have shouted in joy. His heart was full. He knew he was in love with her, he just didn’t want to scare her by saying so.
He’d wait. He had all the time in the world.
Pam and Tony were just closing up the bake sale table, Maryanne and Annie were counting the money, while the guys were gathering the containers with the raffle tickets in them. Putting all the money and prizes in Tony’s truck, they all walked down to the bandstand while he drove it down the backside of Main Street.
Izzy joined Mrs. Tanner and the other booth leaders that had raffles to announce on the stage. Sy joined his friends in the crowd, his eyes never leaving her as she stood on the stage. She looked like she wanted to melt into the floor, but was trying her hardest to appear confident.
He couldn’t wait to be alone with her later. Even if nothing happened. He just wanted to spend uninterrupted time with her.
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“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome, welcome, welcome to the 95th annual Fall Festival! What a great day it was! Much warmer than last year when Mayor Hill lost a toe.” She gestured to the older man sitting on the end of the stage, who waved to the swell of applause.
“Let’s get these raffles going so we can move on to the main event! Our esteemed librarian, Ms. Payne, if you would please!”
Oh right. I completely forgot about that. I forgot to find out what I agreed to. What the fuck did I agree to?
Maryanne and Pam brought up the ticket containers with their corresponding prizes. I held the containers so Mrs. Tanner could reach in and pull out the tickets. After each one, the crowd clapped and cheered as the winners came up to the front to gather their winnings.
“The big ticket item!” Mrs. Tanner announced as the PlayStation came up on the table. “I’m sure all you kiddies were hoping for this one!”
She pulled out the ticket and read the name.
“Oh for crying out loud. Mikey?” she called. “Aren’t you a little old for these games?”
“Free pie and a PlayStation!” Mikey whooped as he jumped on the stage to grab his prize.
He stood between Mrs. Tanner and I, holding his game in one hand, he wrapped his arm around my shoulder with the other, smiling for the newspaper photographer.
“I won the pie eating contest, too!” Mikey told him happily as they both exited the stage.
I followed them down, joining Sy and the others as we watched the rest of the raffle winners be announced. Maryanne and Joe’s boys attacked Mikey asking if they could come over and play with his videogame.
“They can have it,” Annie said, pulling it out of his hands and giving it to the awestruck boys. “I saw your grades Michael. You won’t have time for games, you’ll be studying.”
Mikey groaned, looking to his brother for support, but only got Steve holding up his hands like he wasn’t getting involved.
The rest of the raffles finished off, and Mrs. Tanner once again took center stage.
“Alright folks! The moment we’ve all been waiting for! For the first time in over twenty years, the Date Auction is back! All proceeds go to the library repair fund.”
What the fuck did this bitch just say?
“The what?” I gasped, looking at Maryanne, who sank behind her husband’s massive form. “Maryanne, what the fuck did she just say?”
Oh. You’re dead. You’re all dead.
“That’s right! And it’s cash only! No checks, no credit! Ok, before we begin, Mr. Hill would like me to state a few obvious things due to legality reasons. By winning a date, you are getting two hours of the participants time. This is no way a promise of anything untoward, and the contestant may terminate the date at any time. It’s all in good fun, people, let’s not make it weird. Without further ado, let's get this party started!”
I’m going to be sick. Oh my god. No one is going to bid. Maybe a pity bid. A dollar twenty five. Oh my god.
She called up one of the local firemen, much to the single ladies glee, and the bidding started hot and heavy really quick.
“One hundred and eighty five dollars! Going once, going twice! One hundred and eighty five dollars for firefighter Paulson!”
A young woman bounced up and down, handing Maryanne the money. She was joined by the fireman who grabbed her and dipped her back, kissing her deeply.
“Her fiancé,” laughed Annie, looking at my horrified face.
Next she called the man that owned the hardware store, and he brought in over two hundred dollars. The man that owned the butcher shop came up next and the bidding started.
To my surprise, Cindy jumped on the first bid. The mayor’s secretary countered her every bid.
“Two hundred and seventy five dollars!” the woman called, smirking as Cindy dug around in her wallet looking for hidden cash.
I pulled out a hundred I kept tucked in my wallet for emergencies and handed it to her quickly.
“Two hundred and seventy five, going once… going twice…” Mrs. Tanner called, looking quite pleased at the stir her auction was causing.
“Three hundred and seventy dollars!” Cindy yelled.
It was now the secretary’s turn to dig in her wallet.
“Three hundred and seventy dollars! Oh my! Going once! Going twice! Three hundred and seventy dollars for Daniel Moss!” she cried.
“Oh my god, I’ll pay you back… what the fuck did I just do…” Cindy had a stupid grin on her face as Daniel made his way down the stage to her.
“Cindy… you could have just asked me out and saved the money,” he laughed.
“I… ah… it’s for the library....” She let out a nervous giggle as Daniel offered her his arm and walked away with her towards Earls.
“She’s been in love with him since middle school,” Rebecca murmured, smiling. “They were neighbors growing up.”
“Ok girls, get your wallets ready. Last up for the men folk, Captain Jack Syverson!” Mrs. Tanner called.
I looked next to me to realize he was gone, now standing on the stage. My heart sank. He was looking at me, and gave me a little wink.
Oh god. I have to bid for him. In front of all these people. What if….
All thoughts flew from my head as the bidding started.
“Fifty dollars!” yelled Louise, Mrs. Tanner’s friend from yoga class. I looked at her in shock.
“What? I’ve got a sink in the basement that needs to be looked at!” she laughed.
There was a counter offer of seventy five almost immediately. I looked around to see who had called the number.
“One hundred dollars!” I yelled, realizing who it was.
Amber looked daggers at me from in front of the band stand.
“One twenty five!” she called.
“One seventy five!” she barked.
“Two fifty!” I yelled, hoping by bringing it up so high she would back off.
“Two seventy five!”
“Three hundred,” I called, digging in my wallet.
“Three twenty five!” She sounded triumphant, seeing me scramble.
“Three hundred and twenty… eight,” I called, praying that she didn’t have anymore.
I knew by the nasty smile on her face that I had lost. The crowd was silent, watching the two of us battle it out.
“Three hundred and twenty nine,” she said.
Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. I’m not going to punch her. I want to. Fuck. Do not cry. God fucking damn it Izzy, don’t you dare cry.
“Three hundred and twenty nine… going once, going twice… Three hundred and twenty nine dollars for two hours of Captain Syverson’s attention,” Mrs. Tanner said, sounding as if she had tasted something unpleasant.
Maryanne collected the money from Amber, who gave me a look over her shoulder. I looked away from her to Sy, who was pressing his lips together in annoyance.
At least he doesn’t look happy about it.
He came down from the stage, heading towards me when Amber stepped in front of him. He said something short to her and stepped around her, coming to a stop in front of me.
“That shouldn’t have happened, Sugar. I knew I shouldn’t have agreed to it. I’ll tell her I won’t go,” he said quickly.
“No, it’s fine, Sy. It’s all in good fun, right?” I said, proud of myself that I sounded so calm when I really wanted to curl up and disappear.
“You alright, Sugar? I promise, I’ll take her to Earls, buy her a burger and listen to her yap for two hours and then me and you can meet up and do something else after.”
No. I want to cry. DO NOT CRY ISOBEL.
“It’s fine, Sy,” I said.
“I don’t want you to think-” He was cut off by Mrs. Tanner calling my name.
“Ladies and Gentlemen! New girl in town, librarian Izzy Payne!” She gestured for me to join her on the stage, but I froze.
What if no one bids? What if Sy doesn't bid?
“Izzy, you need to get up there.” Maryanne came over and grabbed my arm, leading me to the steps, smiling at all the people looking. “Go on, it will be fine, I promise! Nothing to worry about, just light-hearted fun!”
Shaky legs carried me up the stairs to stand next to Mrs. Tanner. She held the microphone down by her leg and whispered to me.
“It’s alright dear, don’t worry. You’re the most eligible bachelorette in town! They’re going to be fighting over you.”
I’m going to vomit.
I gave her what I hoped was a winning smile, but felt like it looked like I had a stomach ache.
“Shall we start the bidding, gentlemen?” Mrs. Tanner crooned.
“Thirty dollars!” Mikey called from the front row.
“That’s my change from earlier!” Steve yelled at him.
“Forty!” called someone else.
“One fifty,” Sy boomed.
“Two hundred,” called a man from the back.
I narrowed my eyes, trying to see him.
No. No. No. No. No. It can’t be. It’s just my mind playing tricks.
“Three hundred,” Sy called, not taking his eyes off me.
“Four hundred!” called the man in the back, stepping forward.
My soul left my body.
Pete. Oh, I’m going to vomit. I’m really going to vomit in front of the whole town.
“Five hundred!” Sy yelled.
Please Sy. Please. Don’t let him win.
He was watching me, noticing the change in my countenance. He turned to look at the other man, just as he counter bid.
“Six hundred dollars!”
“Seven!” Sy barked.
“Eight hundred.” Pete almost sounded bored.
Oh god. He always carries so much cash on him. He thinks it impresses people when they see his roll. I can’t. I can’t do this. Oh my god, can I run? I’ll have to leave town forever if I do, it will be so embarrassing...
I watched as Joey, David, Steven, and even Mikey, emptied their pockets and handed Sy their money.
“One thousand ... “ He flipped through the cash, “two hundred and sixty one dollars!” Sy called.
“One thousand three hundred dollars!” Pete yelled.
NO. no. no. no. no. no. Fuck. I think I’m going to pass out.
“Two thousand, seven hundred ninety five dollars and twenty five cents.” John Syverson stepped up to the stage holding his cash box from his booth.
John. I love you.
“Oh my. Oh, Mr. Syverson, how very generous… Going once, going twice… “ Mrs. Tanner looked at Pete who shook his head. “Two thousand, seven hundred ninety five dollars and twenty five cents, to Mr. John Syverson, senior.”
Everyone was silent, watching me.
I started to walk off the stage, stopping to lean down to talk to John. I touched his cheek.
“Thank you. I will pay you back that money, but. Thank you,” I whispered.
He winked at me.
Then I ran. I ran all the way to the library, not stopping until I reached my car in the parking lot. I leaned against the side of it, trying to catch my breath. My side ached, I was fighting tears, and finally lost my battle when I realized that my keys were in my coat pocket, and my coat was in Tony’s truck which was still down behind the bandstand.
“Fuuuuck!” I cried, sinking against my car.
I’ll just hide out here until it clears out.
Turning to face the man who ruined my life with more rage in my body than I’d realized I’d had, it took everything I had not to strike the man.
“How dare you come here, Pete.” My voice trembled.
“Aw, Fizzy Baby. Don’t be like that. You know I love you. I had no choice, baby, my hands were tied!”
My skin crawled at the pet name he had for me.
“You didn’t love me, Pete. You only love yourself,” I muttered.
“I came all the way out here to see you and what do I find? You, being auctioned off like some piece of meat! I can’t even tell you how shocked I was… yet I have to say, I was a little turned on by it. Two hours of your uninterrupted attention… think of the possibilities.”
He stepped towards me, crowding my personal space. I backed up as far as I could, bumping into my car.
I suddenly became very aware that we were alone in the library parking lot with everyone else in town three blocks away.
Oh. No. This is not good.
“Clearly you missed Mrs. Tanner’s announcement in the beginning, friend,” came a low drawl from the shadows near the building. “Nothing is guaranteed. Not even the lady’s time.”
“Is this what you’re doing these days, Isobel? Slumming with the locals?” Pete looked dismissively in Sy’s direction.
Stepping into the light, Sy looked like a demon stepping out of the gateway to hell. Pete was a smart man. He looked terrified.
“You alright over here, Sugar?” he asked me as he walked closer.
Oh thank god. Yes, I’m ok now.
“Yeah, I’m fine, Sy. Pete was just leaving.”
Sy stood next to me, a little closer to Pete than me, his arms crossed, staring at Pete.
“Pete, huh?” He looked over his shoulder at me.
Sy turned and considered the man for a second. Then he punched him in the stomach so hard Pete’s feet left the ground. Pete let out a cry like a wounded puppy. Gripping his shirt, Sy punched him once more in the face and was advancing on him to keep going, and by the look on his face he would have killed him if I hadn’t gotten in between them.
“Sy! No! What the fuck!” I pushed him away from Pete.
“You’re fucking lucky I didn’t come across your sorry ass alone,” Sy said, backing away.
Pete was groaning on the ground, holding his eye.
“Get out of here Sy. Now,” I said to him.
I didn’t want him to get in trouble. I wouldn’t put it past Pete to press charges.
“But Sugar, this is the guy that ruined your life! He threw you away like yesterday’s trash!” Sy looked at me, incredulous.
It’s because I am trash. Thanks for reminding me, Captain.
“I’m well aware of that!” I yelled at him. “Go. I need to deal with this and I can’t do that with you here.”
Looking wounded, he turned to go, but thought better of it and took a step towards Pete, who scuttled away from the imposing Captain.
“If you ever show your face in this town again, prepare to be pig food, you piece of shit.” He spat, then giving me a burning look, he turned on his heel and walked off into the night.
Oh, Sy. No. Please don’t hate me. No. Please.
“Jesus Christ, Isobel! Who are these people you’re getting involved with!” He held his hand out for me to help him up. “Isobel?”
“Izzy! Izzy are you ok honey?” Maryanne called, running towards me, followed by Joe and the rest of them.
They all stopped at the edge of the lot, seeing the man on the ground. I held my hand up to them, signaling that I was ok.
“Why are you here, Pete? Why are you really here?” I said quietly, shaking with anger.
“I was in the big city nearby at the college, and I thought I’d look you up to see how you’re doing in your new position. I’ve missed you terribly, Fizzy Baby. I was hoping we could talk things out. It’s over with me and Felicity. She left me.”
One very small, miniscule part of me that had hidden deep in the lowest recesses of my mind felt a little jolt at his words. That little part was promptly stomped on by the entire rest of my being.
“You dare to come here? To come to my home? To think that I would ever want anything to do with you? You ruined my fucking life, Pete! You destroyed everything that I worked for because you couldn’t just be honest with me. Hate is not a word I like, you know that. I don’t hate you. No. No, it’s much worse than that. Much deeper. I fucking despise you,” I growled at him.
He flinched at my words.
Do not fucking cry, Izzy. Get through this. Get home. Then you can cry.
“Couldn’t you just leave it alone? Leave me to my banishment? This is my home now. You had to come here and ruin whatever I had going for me here, too? Get up, you poor excuse for a man. GET UP!” I yelled at him.
He stood, looking warily over my shoulder. I glanced back to find that Joe, Steve, David, and Mikey were all standing behind me, looks of murder on their faces. I shook my head no, signaling for them to stay put. Turning back to Pete, I took a step forward.
“I don’t want to ever hear from you again, do you understand me Pete? I want you to pretend I am dead. Because that’s what I am to you. A ghost. I don’t exist. Now go. Leave and never, ever think of me again.” I started to turn away, but he spoke.
“But Isobel, baby! We can be together agai-” I didn’t let him finish.
My fist connected with his jaw sending him flying back onto the pavement, passed out cold.
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For some reason these ones aren't linking 🤷♀️please let me know if i’m a dumbass and have it spelled wrong. That’s the problem a lot of times.