• authorcmowens

A Sterling Shore April Fools Day Special!

BRIN

My eyes fling open as a cold spreads to my bones. No. No. No! He turned off my alarm clock! And the bastard is gone. Which means…


Oh no. Oh no. Oh no.


Warily, I sit up, careful not to move too suddenly. I’ve been dreading this day, and now it’s here. To most, it’s a harmless, funny day. To me? It’s the freaking apocalypse—the day where it’s not just win or lose; it’s live or die.


Okay, so maybe it’s not that dramatic, but it’s still hardcore.


Carefully, I put the first foot on the floor. He’s already gone, so there’s no telling what he’s left behind. Even though it’s my day off, I had set my alarm for 6, but it’s clearly 9 now. Which means that sneaky jerk knew I planned to wake up before him, and he screwed up my awesome preemptive strike plan.


I make my way through the house, looking like a soldier on the battlefield, carefully gauging my surroundings and preparing for anything. I reach the coffee maker and bypass the sugar. No way am I falling for the salt in the sugar prank… again.


I pull the creamer out of the fridge as the cup of coffee finishes brewing, and I keep my eyes peeled for any sign of danger. So far, so good.


After I finish pouring the creamer, I sigh in relief. Maybe he didn’t do anything too bad. I mean, I would have heard him if he had, right?


I take a sip of my coffee, and… Oh my damn! That’s so freaking disgusting!! What the hell was that?


After spitting out the gross shit in my mouth, I scowl at my cup of coffee, and then I grab the creamer, sniffing it. Is that… Is that buttermilk? After taking a small taste, I realize it is. And then I go rinse the foul taste out of my mouth. He poured buttermilk into my creamer?


This means war.


Deciding not to risk eating or drinking anything else from the demon fridge, I head to the living room to be very, very still. The best thing to do is sit down and do… nothing. He’ll come home and possibly get hit by any and all traps he has set up.


I move to the living room, opting to sit on the floor—just in case the damn furniture has been rigged—and flip on the TV. But… no!


He didn’t. Shit. He did.

Parental controls? You have to be kidding me. Now I can’t even watch TV to wait this day out?


Maggie—I’ll just go hang out with Maggie. I’m a genius. I can just ride out the storm in the safety of her house.


I move to the door, warily weaving and zigging—never can be too cautious. But as soon as I open the door, a bloodcurdling scream leaves my lips.


A bucket of something—is that honey?—falls on me, covering me, and I stagger through the front door, tripping over some stupid string, and bust my ass on the porch. Just when I think it’s over, something else rains down on me while I’m trying to wipe the hideous goop away from my eyes.


That son of a bitch! Feathers?! Feathers are landing all over me from some bag above my head that was triggered when the damn string was tripped over. I’m going to kill him! I’ve been tarred and freaking feathered—well, honeyed and feathered.


A litany of curses falls from my lips as I storm across the yard, and Maggie’s door swings open just as her riotous laughter breaks free. She doubles over, laughing so hard she has to wipe her eyes because of tears, and I scowl at her.


“I need to borrow your shower,” I growl, which only elicits more obnoxious laughter from the backstabbing friend who isn’t being sympathetic at all toward poor little me.


I blow a feather away from my lips as she tries to speak—heavy emphasis on tries. Her laughter is so brutal that it makes understanding her a chore.


“You can’t pluck your feathers in my house. Go take a shower in your own home.”


“I can’t! The bastard has done something to the shower; I’m sure of it.”


She laughs harder, but shakes her head. “Fine. Fine. But use your old shower. Not mine, Princess Cluck Cluck.”


I roll my eyes at her stupid joke, and barge by her, leaving a feathery trail in my wake. My honey covered pajamas get tossed into the trashcan, and I pout. Those were my favorites. Storming into the shower, I flip it on, ready to be blasted by—


Another shrill scream leaves my lips, and I fall out of the shower when red, sticky water shoots free instead of a cleansing stream. He rigged this bathroom! No!


“You traitor!” I yell when Maggie’s laughter drifts through the door, and I curse while waiting impatiently for the water to run clear.


I really wish I could see his face when he finds all the gifts I’ve left for him. Then I’d feel a lot better about the hell I have to endure the rest of this horrible day.


****


RYE


“Mr. Clanton, it’s another one,” my assistant says, and I grab the phone, already confused.


“Hello?” I ask.


“My precious,” the voice on the other line says, doing a terrible Gollum impersonation. Fifth one this morning. “You can’t take my precious.”


Damn April Fool’s Day.


I decide to hang up instead of berating this idiot like I did the last one.


I grin when I glance down at my cell phone, seeing Maggie has just sent a text.


MAGGIE: The hen is in the fox house.


Laughing, I send a text back.


ME: How is Chicken Little this morning?


Almost instantly, there’s a response, and my grin only grows.


MAGGIE: Pissed. Pretty sure she just offered your balls as a sacrifice to the prank gods.


I laugh harder while putting my phone up. I replaced the locks just last week to the shop. Brin had no way of getting in here. That’s right—I’ve spent a ton of time preparing for today, countering any attack she might attempt before she could attempt it. And I watched her like a damn hawk anytime that she’s been in here.


All of my food here has been hidden. All of my shit has been locked in a safe. And all of my passwords have been changed. Nothing has been left accessible—she doesn’t have a damn chance.


I move through the office to the fridge, but then I hear a shrill scream coming from my assistant’s office. What the hell is her problem?


Glancing in, I see her bottle of soda has exploded in her face, and I bite back a laugh. It must have been shaken up or something.


I grab a Coke for myself, still hiding my chuckle, when my phone rings. I answer without looking, but I tilt my head when I hear some weird, somewhat animalistic mating call coming through. The fuck?


“Who the hell is this?” I bark.


“Did I win?” the weirdo on the other line asks.


“Fuck off and lose this number.”


Hanging up, I twist the cap off my drink, only to end up watching curiously as something drops when I start to remove the lid. There’s nothing I can do. And I gasp for air too late, inhaling Coke like acid through my nose and mouth. The damn soda sprays up and hits me in the face, and I’m wiping my eyes while cursing.


No. She couldn’t have. I hid all of it. I only moved shit into the fridge last night, and she was home all night. Wasn’t she? I changed the damn locks for fuck’s sake!


Scrambling back to the fridge, I pick up another drink, and I try to look at it. Sure enough, there’s something inside the cap. The seal is broken, meaning that she has done something. Is that a Mentos? How the hell did she get it up there? And how did she make it stay?


I slowly twist the cap, anticipating it this time, and just like the last time, the damn circle thing drops, and I let the soda burst free away from me.


A loud scream forces me to look up, and I realize the coke just exploded all over my assistant who was already covered in her own exploding drink. Oops.


“That’s it!” she barks. “I’m going home!”


She storms out, and I curse. How did Brin do this?


My phone rings again, and I answer, careful not to let any of the soda on my face reach the screen. “What?” I snap.


“One ring to control them all,” a voice booms. What the fucking hell is going on?


Hanging up on the loser, I go back to my office, unlock my bottom drawer, and pull out my Oreos while flipping the screen on my computer. Maybe I can find logs that tell me when someone came and left. I can at least find out how long she was here. I should have checked first thing this—


“Son of a bitch!” I shout between gagging and spitting. Fucking toothpaste! She put toothpaste in my Oreos! You don’t touch a man’s Oreos, dammit!


Yep. Every damn one of them has that shit where the cream is supposed to be. This means war, dammit! Hasn’t she learned?


I look into my poor dessert drawer at all the things she could have ruined, and I whimper like a little bitch. I’m too fucking scared to eat anything else out of there. How dare she!


Growling and cursing, I go to the work area where Wrench is covering a smile. Wrench. That traitorous bastard!


“You let her in here, didn’t you?” I bark, which only prompts peals of laughter to unleash from him. Dick.


“I’ll remember this at bonus time,” I grumble, knowing damn well he’ll still get a good bonus.


He only laughs harder while working on a Mercedes… Wait. What?


“You’re supposed to be working on the Audi R8 today,” I tell him.


“Can’t. At least not until you get the UPS packages down. All the parts are in there.”


Tilting my head, I look at him like he’s crazy. “I put them all down here yesterday.”


He laughs again, though I don’t know why. But finally he points to the very high ceiling, and I look up. My mouth falls open, and I slowly shake my head in disbelief.


“How the fuck did she do that?” I bark.


He just continues laughing like a betraying jerk, while I continue gawking at all the tools and packages that are duct-taped to the ceiling. How the hell am I going to get all that shit down?

I’m going to kill her.


My cell phone rings again, and I answer, cursing as I massage my temples. “My precious,” the hissy voice says.


Groaning, I hang up. I hate this day.


***

BRIN


“No!” I shriek, diving away from the baby powder hairdryer, cursing Maggie the whole time. How could she do this to me?


“He’s corrupted you,” I groan, dropping back on the floor. I give up. I’ll just have to go out looking like shit. At least the baby powder didn’t get on me this time.


She continues to revel in my misery while I walk across the street—wearing her clothes. There’s no telling what he’s done to mine. I dodge the feathers and honey disaster that is still on the porch, and I walk through the door I left open over two hours ago when I went to go wash off all the shit that was on me. Two hours!!


With my hair still wet and my makeup absent, I move to find my keys. It’s seriously like crossing a minefield. I grab my cell phone, swipe the screen… What the hell? Why is everything in a different language? Is that French? How do I change the settings back to English?


Groaning, I push my phone into my pocket, deciding to learn a foreign language another time, and then grab for my keys. The hell? My keys are missing from the bowl.


No. No. No. Not another scavenger hunt. The last time he took my keys, I found them in a plastic zip-bag… in the bottom of the toilet. Jackass. What if I had flushed them?


The first place I check is the bathroom, but no keys. The second place I check is the guest bathroom. No keys. Finally, I move back toward the living room, looking around, and my breath catches in my throat. When did we get an aquarium or terrarium or whatever in the hell they’re called? Why are there big ass spiders in it?! How did I miss that this morning?


“You jerk,” I mumble to myself, because I know exactly where my damn keys are going to be.


Yep. Right at the damn bottom of the spider hell.


I. Hate. This. Day.


There are at least five spiders in that damn thing. Is that even wise? Won’t they kill each other or something? I could just patiently wait for Darwin’s theory to get to work, or I could just go fishing. There’s wolf piss and ladybugs still waiting to be used. Fishing it is.


I grab a hanger, a string, and a paperclip, and then I construct a fishing pole. It takes a lot of screaming, maneuvering, and honestly, a little jumping and falling, but I finally get the damn things out. But I’m screaming and running when I see one of the tarantulas has escaped in the process.


I hate spiders!


I run out to my secret hiding spot in the garage, and I grab the extra-dirty bag of tricks. I was going to hold back, but it’s on now. He really messed up.


I slam the door to my Camry, and I stab the keys into the ignition much harder than necessary before glancing in the rearview mirror. Christ, I look like the Bride of Chuckie right now. Some of that baby powder did get on me after all, and I have raccoon eyes. Why do I have raccoon eyes?


Salsa dancing! Again? I’m going to kill him!


“Password denied” flashes on the screen of my radio again, and I punch the steering wheel. That leads to me doing a quick pain dance, and I glare at the radio like it’s its fault.


My phone is in French, my radio is in Spanish, and my head is aching all the way to Clanton Auto. I pull out my spare set of keys to all his cars—the ones he doesn’t know I have—and I get to work. He’s really going to regret that damn honey and feather stunt.



***


RYE


Did she seriously superglue all my pens to the bottom of my desk? Was that necessary?


My head thuds against the top of the desk over and over, and Wrench laughs as he walks in, witnessing my momentary setback.


“So, I take it your day has been great?” he asks, sounding so damn amused.


“You’re on the shit list. Say what you want to say and get the hell out,” I groan, cursing my headache that forms after too many slaps against the desk. I still don’t know how to get those packages down from the ceiling without calling in a firetruck ladder or something.


His snickering proves he’s not intimidated by me.


“We’re out of brake fluid—well, we have more, but it’s taped to the ceiling. Want me to grab some?” he asks.


Damn her. How did she get thirty-four bottles of brake fluid taped up there along with all the other things? That had to have taken all night. Or longer.


She had help.


“Did you help her tape that shit to the ceiling?” I growl.


“Hell no. You know I’m scared of heights,” he says, then shudders. True. He wouldn’t have helped.


It’s already after three, and I had to skip lunch—Brin’s fault. “I’ll go get some. I need out of here anyway. I’m starving and nothing in here is safe to eat or drink.”


His chuckles linger in his wake, and I grab my keys before jogging outside. I’m almost scared to see what else she has done. When I swing open the door to my Range Rover, I stagger backwards. No. No. No. Not my baby. She couldn’t have. When did she do this? I just drove it this morning!


It smells like hot piss and vomit in there. I’ll kill her!


Cursing, I slam the door and lock it back up, then stalk over to my Porsche. But when I open the door, I’m greeted by the same foul stench that I just escaped.


My head drops back in defeat, and I make a mental note to drop my vehicles off to be cleaned. Then I jog over to my bike, grabbing my helmet. But as soon as I put it on, I’m gagging and tossing it down. The fucking thing is wet and it smells just like that horrible pissy vomit! What is that?


I jog back inside, ignoring Wrench’s laughter as he questions my anger, and I grab a can of air freshener from the bathroom before stalking back outside. She’s really pissed me off now.


Like a maniac on a mission, I spray down the Range Rover, using half the bottle, but when I sniff it, I end up barely stopping myself from retching. The hell?


I jump back, now unable to keep from gagging and heaving. What just happened? Why does it smell like dirty fish, piss, and vomit now?


I look at the can in my hand, reading the floral promise it lies about, but I notice the corner of the paper is peeling back, revealing something underneath it. On a hunch, I tear the paper down, and it comes easily enough, revealing the true shit that is in this spray. Shrimp Scent.


Fucking eh.


I spin around, stomping across the parking lot, when I see a flyer. Looking around, I see a flyer similar to it on almost every single pole around. My eyes widen when I see the number for the shop and my cell phone number on the flyer.


“Best Lord Of the Rings line and impersonator wins one hundred dollars. Call…”


Damn it. Why didn’t I think of that?!


I decide to go with the Porsche, and I roll the windows all the way down, holding my breath until I crank the car and blast the air, but I’m squealing like a bitch and falling out of the car when a horde of fucking bugs come flying out of the vents! She’s lost her mind!


Ladybugs? She put an army of ladybugs in my car vents? Where the hell does she find this stuff?

Deciding to shrug off the embarrassing squeal people just witnessed, I brave the few ladybugs that are still in the car, and I drive away, cursing the whole time. I really need to get her back for that shit.


“Ow!” Damn, stupid, spotted bastards! I don’t care what anyone says, and I don’t care how damn girly I sound, it fucking hurts when ladybugs bite!


***


BRIN


Drained and exhausted, I sit outside on the porch. The house has been a deathtrap all day. My car has been a deathtrap all day. And Maggie is the enemy. I decided to call it quits when women clutched their kids and pulled them way off to the side to let me pass by at a safe distance. Yeah… I look that bad.


My hair is stuck up everywhere, some weird goop is still stuck in my ear from another prank that bested me, and baby oil has been sprayed into places on my body that baby oil should never go…


I swear he found a way to get to me all day. I did the same to him. Now it’s after seven in the evening, and I’m too exhausted to care about who wins or loses. And I think I might have accidentally swallowed a ladybug or two.


I shudder just thinking about the spiders. There’s one loose. Another Killer.


Rye rolls up to the curb, and climbs out, looking every bit exhausted as I feel. He mumbles a quick hello, and I stagger to him, letting him catch me before I fall. We both snicker softly as he kisses the top of my head.


“You look like hell,” he says, chuckling in that deep voice that always ruffles my stomach.


“You smell worse than I look,” I point out, which only prompts him to laugh, then groan.


“Where the hell do you buy shit like that?” he asks, sniffing his shirt.


“You’d be surprised at what you can buy online,” I mumble against his stinky shirt.


“Have you had enough foreplay?” he asks in that sexy drawl that still drives me out of my mind.


“More than enough. But you’re showering first.”


His rumble of laughter vibrates through me as he lifts me up, and I grin against his lips when he kisses me. My legs wrap around his waist as he carries me inside.


“One of the killer spiders escaped,” I warn him, and he curses.


“Your ladybugs bit me,” he says, pouting, and I laugh.


“How the hell did you get the packages on the ceiling in the garage?” he asks more seriously, and my laughter breaks free uncontrollably at how sincerely puzzled he looks.


I drop to my feet to turn on the shower, laughing the whole time, and watching the water to make sure it doesn’t turn colors. He strips down, and I lick my lips. He may smell like shit right now, but I’ll never get tired of looking at all the hard lines of muscle and ink on his body.


He tugs me to him, kissing me again, and I melt against him as though he hasn’t made my life hell today.


“Truce for tomorrow?” he asks, smiling against my lips.


“Hell no,” I scoff, grinning bigger as he laughs.


Then his phone rings, and he groans while putting it on speaker.


“Yeah,” he says, moving his lips down my neck.


My laughter bursts free once more, and he groans as we hear the other person on the line hissing, “My precious.”

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