Runaway Train
Chapter 43

Copyright© 2016 by Jay Cantrell

Romantic Sex Story: Chapter 43 - Travis Blakely had a comfortable existence. He had a decent job and good friends. He was comfortable with what the future held for him. Then he ran into a girl he remembered from high school. His life got a lot more interesting - and infinitely more complicated

Caution: This Romantic Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa   Consensual   Romantic   Heterosexual   Fiction   Celebrity   Slow  

Neither Stephanie nor Ryan seemed to mind a detour to San Diego. Jill and Brian weren’t unhappy about staying an extra day either. San Diego’s international airport wasn’t as media savvy as LAX but there were a few photographers outside when we exited. Liz gave a couple of waves and I offered the same.

Word must have gotten out that Liz was on the way because the music critic from the newspaper was there with a photographer. The woman despised country music but had written a rave review of Liz’s San Diego show – telling all and sundry that she would be willing to travel anywhere within reason to see Liz perform again (and then proving it by driving up to Los Angeles for an encore).

“A couple of questions?” the woman asked hopefully after Liz gave her a wave. Liz kept her arm around me but veered in her direction.

“Just a couple,” Liz said. “I have a prior commitment this morning. I’ll call you later in the week and set up something more in-depth if you want.”

“That would be great,” the woman said. “I just wanted to ask why you’ve returned to San Diego so soon.”

“It’s a personal commitment we made,” Liz said, looking over at me. “That’s all I want to say about it.”

“OK,” the woman said. The fact that Liz did a lot of good deeds without publicity was well known – but no one knew what they were and when they were happening.

“It’s known that Travis lives here,” the woman asked. “Will you be spending time in our city?”

“Yes,” Liz said firmly. “Travis and I are working out the logistics. He loves it here and so do I. It’s a wonderful city with wonderful people.”

“Will you make it your primary home?” the woman followed up.

“That’s not feasible,” I cut in. “Liz’s career requires her to live in Nashville. For now, she’ll visit with me here as often as we can arrange it.”

“But you’ll still live here?” the woman asked.

“This is my home,” I said. “Yes, I have no plans to move from San Diego.”

“What about your job at the hospital?” the woman asked. “We’ve heard that you’ve resigned. Are you planning to work for Liz?”

“Travis left the hospital because he was unhappy about how the administrators treated him and how little they valued his work for them,” Liz said. “He had already made plans to resign before we met again.”

Stephanie performed her duties and tapped Liz on the arm gently.

“Just one more,” the reporter said quickly. “Will you perform in San Diego on your next tour?”

“I haven’t really sat down to consider what’s next for me,” Liz said. “I can’t make a firm commitment. I will say that performing in San Diego again is a very high priority for me. I can see it being a constant on my tour schedule. The fans here are amazing.”

“Thanks, Liz,” the reporter said.

“Off the record,” I said, “Liz was also very pleased at the level of coverage your newspaper offered. Thank you.”

The fact that Liz had stopped to talk to someone started a feeding frenzy. A new voice rang out as soon as we moved away.

“Are you and Travis talking marriage, Liz?” a woman’s voice asked.

We ignored her and kept walking.

“A source close to you says this is just another of your short-term flings to drum up publicity,” a male voice said loudly. “Care to comment?”

Liz reacted this time.

“You don’t know anyone close to me,” she said, spinning around and jabbing a finger toward the guy. “Anyone close to me would never talk about my personal life, particularly with someone like you! So, tell me the name and I’ll tell you exactly how full of crap they are.”

“I can’t reveal a source,” the man said.

“It’s bullshit, Liz,” I said. “He’s making up facts so he had to make up someone to attribute it to. Screw him. He’ll find out the hard way ... just like Jayson Blair did.”

“Who?” the man asked.

I rolled my eyes toward the critic from the San Diego paper.

“He’s been the subject of every ethics class in journalism and communications for the last 15 years,” the critic said. “So if you don’t know him, you either have no ethics or you’re not a real journalist.”

“But he is a real jerkoff,” I said.

The others in the small group were still looking at the woman from the local newspaper so we slipped away.

“You have to watch that,” Stephanie said as we settled in the SUV. I didn’t know if she was talking to me or to Liz.

“No, we don’t,” Liz countered. “The changes that we talked about a few weeks back are going to start now. I’m not going to get into spitting contests with every idiot we run across but I’m going to start firing back at people trying to hide behind anonymity. It’s no longer up for debate.”

Stephanie nodded.

“Where are you on that thing, Ryan?” I asked.

“What thing?” Liz asked, turning to me.

“We think we’ve identified the source of a possible leak,” I said.

“And I’m just hearing about it?” Liz asked.

“We thought it best to make certain before we brought it up to you,” Ryan said. “Right now, it’s just speculation. Once I know for sure, I’ll tell you everything. I’ll need until the end of the week.”

“Who?” Liz asked.

“We don’t want to poison your relationship without solid evidence,” I said, sorry that I brought it up at all.

“So it’s someone close to me,” Liz muttered.

“It’s someone you know but not particularly closely,” I said. “I promise, Ryan is on top of things. OK? Remember what a promise means to me?”

Liz sighed and nodded.

“Travis and I are going to make a solo journey today if we can,” she announced.

“I’d...” Ryan began.

“I know you’d rather we don’t,” Liz cut in. “In this case, you’re just going to have to get over it. Where we’re going is personal and I don’t want a lot of other people around ... particularly no large, scary people. Travis and I will be fine. Now, one more thing: Drop us off at Travis’s house so we can get his car. We’ll be in San Diego. Susan lives only 20 minutes away and where we’re going is only a few minutes from her house. I don’t want to tie up a transport vehicle for a personal errand.”

Dom had also flown back with us from Tennessee and he was driving. He glanced at me in the rearview mirror as Ryan leaned across Liz.

“It’s not his idea so lay off,” Liz said. “This is what I want to do and he’s hearing about it at the same time you are.”

“They’re just trying to look out for you,” I said. “Where are we going?”

Liz let out a long breath again.

“That guy at the airport pissed me off and I don’t like having things hidden from me,” Liz said.

“But you admit we have a valid reason for doing it this way,” I said.

“That doesn’t mean I like it,” Liz shot back.

I shrugged.

“This is one of those ‘tough shit’ moments,” I said.

Liz’s eyes narrowed for a moment and then she laughed.

“You heard about that?” she asked.

“I was coming around the corner and heard you say it,” I said. “I laughed my ass off.”

“Yeah, fine,” she said. She rolled her eyes and looked to Stephanie in the front seat.

“When I worked at the amusement park, a couple of townies found me while I was leaving one night,” she said. “They wanted me to sing them a song. I told them it was one of those ‘tough shit’ moments and they had to buy a ticket like the rest of the world if they wanted to hear me. I ... I always wondered why they just turned and left. Now I guess they must have seen Travis coming. You just remember that tonight when you’re trying to rub up against me.”

“I will,” I said, pretty sure it was an idle threat. “Now, really, where are we going?”

“I want to go visit Amber’s foster mother,” Liz said. “I ... I just want to give her peace of mind if I can. I don’t want a cavalcade of vehicles rolling up on them. I don’t want Amber to get scared. You’re frightening enough for anyone.”

I stuck my tongue out and Liz bared her teeth as if to bite it.

Ryan only shook his head.

“I can take my car and follow you,” I noted as we pulled up in front of my house. I saw a large red pickup truck in my driveway. “Liz can just ride with you.”

“We’ll put one in front and one behind us,” Liz cut in. “And, Ryan, I want you to see if Travis can take the driving course the next time we’re in Nashville for a week. I’m going to want to go places with him by myself. OK?”

“I’ll look into it,” Ryan promised.

Jill looked pretty happy when she emerged from my front door. She gave Liz a quick hug and then I got one, too.

Brian was a little sheepish when he came out but he gave me a light punch on the arm when he passed by.

Ryan filled him on the travel arrangements and he looked as unhappy as the rest of them. But he backed out of the driveway and led the procession to Susan and Chris’s house.

The block was already filled with cars by the time we got there. I spotted Rick’s car and Sarah’s small SUV parked along the street. Chris had pulled his government-issued sedan out of the driveway, too. Brian pulled in behind Rick’s car and Dom drove past Chris’s car and pulled to the side. I took the open driveway.

We waited in the car until the others had exited and joined us.

“Damn,” Sarah said as she came out. “The longer they come, the uglier they get!”

“Are you going to put up with that, Liz?” I asked as I slipped in front of her.

“Hey!” Sarah said, laughing and holding up her hand. “I just saw her go off on some asshole at the airport. I ain’t messing with her.”

“It’s up already?” Stephanie asked.

“It wasn’t too bad,” Sarah said. “It only got airtime because it was so unusual. Travis is the only one that cursed and everyone already knows he’s an asshole.”

Liz had her arm around my waist and decided to tickle my ribs.

“What needs to be done?” I asked to push the attention off on someone else.

“We stopped on the way home and picked out everything,” Susan said. “We just need it picked up and brought here. It’s not too bad. It’s just painting that’s going to take time. We got it primed last night but the top coat still needs done and the moldings need replacing. The rest of it is just carrying things and dropping things off at Goodwill.”

“I thought I might paint a rainbow on the wall,” Liz said.

I pointed to Brian.

“Did you get that package I called you about?” I asked.

“It’s in the truck,” he said.

“I have something I want to show you all,” I said. Mom had sent a package to me that contained any memento that she could find from my past that included Liz Larimer. I planned to keep a few things back until Liz had the chance to see them first but I thought the picture she’d drawn for me almost two decades earlier might be of interest.

Thankfully, it was on top – and the photos had been put into a manila envelope.

“Is that... ?” Stephanie asked when she saw what I was carrying back into the house.

“She drew this when she was 12!” I said, passing the laminated picture as Liz blushed brightly.

“Holy shit!” Sarah said.

“Yeah, pretty cool, huh?” I asked.

“I was just thinking that you’ve had a boner for that car since you were a boy,” Sarah remarked. She stuck her tongue out when I flicked her on the forehead.

“I just wanted to show Susan and Chris that Liz has some serious drawing skills, too,” I said.

“You could go with pastel colors so it’s easy to cover if she outgrows rainbows,” Matt opined.

“We were planning to paint the wall light blue,” Chris said. “I was going to see if we could paint clouds on the ceiling. We found some glow-in-the-dark stars that we wanted to put up there. A rainbow would be cool. We’ll need to get the paint for it.”

“We can pick it up at the hardware store when we’re getting the bed and stuff,” Susan said. “Thanks, Liz.”

“I ... I just want to do whatever I can to make the transition easier on her,” Liz said. “If she likes rainbows, I’ll try to give her a rainbow.”

“My kids really like hundred dollar bills,” Sarah said. “You know, for when you want to help their transition.”

“If you want me to paint one on their walls, I’d be more than happy to,” Liz countered with a laugh as Sarah snapped her fingers in mock disappointment.

Liz and I faded into the background as Susan and Chris handed out assignments. For obvious reasons, they decided to leave Liz and me at the house. I got the job of hunting down a pencil so Liz could start her drawing.

Susan was on the phone when I returned with my hard-won prize.

“Uh, hi Joe,” I heard her say. “How is Mary this morning?”

She gave a slight smile.

“I’m really glad to hear it,” Susan said. “Was Amber OK last night?”

Her smile broadened at whatever was said to her.

“No, we did our best to keep her routine structured,” she said. “She seemed to be excited to sleep on a pullout couch. My friends are going to pick up her bed today. That’s why I called. Uh, do you know who Travis Blakely is?”

Susan’s eyes shifted to me. I was no longer holding the pencil up in triumph.

“Yes, he is Liz’s Larimer’s boyfriend,” she said. “But ... he’s also like my little brother.”

She gave a snort.

“That is who she was talking about,” Susan said. “He’s Uncle Travis and she’s Aunt Liz.”

She pulled the phone away from her ear.

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