This is a short story with the gang from Curiosity Killed Shaney, that I wrote for Crystal's Many Reviewers 3rd birthday celebration. It's Hudson's birthday and Shaney has a big surprise for him. Nothing could go wrong, right?
Shaney’s Super Fantastic Surprise Birthday Spectacular
Jake C. Wallace
“Shaney, what’s this super-secret meeting you dragged us into your mother’s basement for all about.” Todd, Shaney’s best friend, frowned as he wiped a cobweb from his shoulder. His eyes widened. “Shit, was that a spider?” He spun around, trying to look at his back.
Dan, Shaney’s former probation officer and supposed half-brother, stood behind Todd, silent as always. They still hadn’t pulled their heads out of their asses and admitted they had it bad for one another. First, though, Todd had to get over Dan deceiving him—all of them.
Caleb sneezed. “Couldn’t we have met somewhere…cleaner?” Shaney knew the nerdy sorcerer’s neat-freak personality had been thrown into overdrive in the musty, cobweb-ridden basement. Even dust bunnies freaked Caleb out. Shaney grinned, imaging a Cadillac-sized dust bunny chasing Caleb as he screamed for the Dust Buster. One good bounce and that ball of dust would…
“Shaney!” Caleb snapped his fingers before Shaney’s face. He so hated that. He was ready to tell Caleb he’d break his fingers if he did that again, but caught sight of Maximus, Caleb’s truck-sized, ex-mercenary boyfriend, and resisted.
“Could you focus so we can get out of here before a big ass spider falls on one of us?” Maximus growled deep in his chest.
“What? Where?” Todd looked to the ceiling, eyes wide, covering his head with his hands. When Dan patted his shoulder, he seemed to relax slightly.
Shaney’s pocket vibrated. Pulling out his phone, he noticed he had a message from Hudson. “Stop. Feeding. The. Bears.”
Shit, four periods.
Hudson meant business. He sighed. He loved luring the bears to their property. They were so cute. Shaney typed back “okay” and added a heart. Pocketing his phone, he then raised his hands. Excitement strummed over his nerves. He was practically vibrating. This was going to be big.
“Tomorrow is Hudson’s birthday, and I have planned a super, fantastic, surprise birthday party spectacular. The SFSBPS for short.” He grinned, waiting for the excitement to spread through his friends. Everyone stared at him, their reactions not quite what he’d hoped for.
“That is why you dragged us into this pit of dust and mold. A birthday party?” Caleb glowered as he pushed his glasses up his nose.
“Not just a birthday party. A super, fantastic, surprise, birthday spectacular. The party to end all parties.”
“Yeah, Shaney,” Todd said as he actually stepped back. “You and parties aren’t the best…I mean. You suck at giving parties.”
Shaney put his hands on his hips. “Do not.”
“Do too.” Todd’s hands went to his hips as well.
“One word,” his ex-probe officer said. “Clowns.”
Shaney opened his mouth then remembered those clowns and the smell of burning synthetic hair. Clowns screaming as flames shot from their wigs. He closed his mouth. “That was one party, and I’d just wanted their act to have more…sparkle.”
Maximus snorted. “Your powers are bad news.”
“You made it sparkle all right.” Todd shook his head in disapproval.
Shaney sighed. “Listen. I just want to show Hudson how special he is. That I, we, appreciate everything he’s done for us. I mean, Todd, he insisted you and Dan move into his house after Dan almost killed him.”
Dan was motionless, no argument on his part.
“And you two are always there,” he said to Caleb and Maximus. “How many times have you nearly blown up his house or set something on fire with a spell and he still lets you come back?”
Caleb huffed. “No more than you.”
“Well, he loves me so I get a pass. And Max, you eat enough daily to feed a small village.”
The corners of Max’s lips curled down, his eyes narrowed.
“We owe Hudson a lot and we need to celebrate his birthday, show him we care…Or at least that we like him.”
Todd dropped his hands to his side. “Shaney, it’s not that we don’t want to give Hudson a party, it’s just that… We don’t want you to plan it.”
From the stern looks of his friends, Shaney knew he wasn’t going to win. But that didn’t mean he still couldn’t plan a little surprise of his own.
Hudson hugged Shaney, his grip nearly cutting off his air. When Hudson released him, Shaney peered up into those beautiful brown eyes. The summer sun highlighted the gold flecks. “Are you surprised?”
Hudson grinned, looking at the guests gathered on his deck. “Definitely surprised. Thanks, baby.”
Shaney pursed his lips. “I didn’t have anything to do with planning the party. But it was my idea.”
Hudson snorted. “Overruled by the safety committee, huh?”
“Yeah. Can you believe it?”
Hudson merely smiled. When Shaney was about to complain, he dove down for a kiss, a deep, mouth-exploring, ball-tingling, breath-stealing kiss. When Hudson pulled away, Shaney panted, and his legs wobbled.
“How about we ditch this party early, and I give you a present upstairs.” Hudson nipped at his neck.
A shudder raced through Shaney.
“Behave. We have guests. Now mingle and enjoy that party I didn’t plan.”
Hudson took Shaney’s hand and led him to the cooler. When he offered Shaney a beer, he declined. Not only was he underage, but his mom was there with her new boyfriend…the Cop. The Cop had shifty eyes Shaney didn’t trust.
Shaney spied his sister, Mary ,who was home from college. She talked with Todd who smiled and laughed, but was still pale and weak, the effects of being tethered to Dan, his life support system. Dutifully, Dan sat behind Todd.
Shaney was mildly impressed with the run-of-the-mill birthday party. Music, snacks, cake, drinks but nothing super, fantastic, or spectacular. Shaney looked to Hudson who chatted with the Cop. Hudson’s eyes twinkled as he laughed. Hudson had a good heart. He deserved something better than a plain, old birthday party.
He deserved a super, fantastic, surprise birthday present. And he was going to get one.
Shaney focused on the natural energy in the earth. His hands tingled and then his arms, expanding to encompass his entire body. He grinned then shut off the music. Everyone looked to him. Caleb narrowed his eyes with suspicion. Todd lifted his brow in question. Hudson cocked his head.
“I want to thank you all for coming and celebrating Hudson’s birthday.” Hudson's eyes softened. “I also want to thank all of my friends for planning everything and making this party happen…even though they dissed me.” He’d mumbled the last words under his breath.
“What?” Todd asked.
“Nothing.” Shaney wiped his sweaty hands on his jeans. “While I wasn’t able to contribute to this lovely, subdued party, I do have a special surprise for my boyfriend to show him how awesome I think he is.”
“Shaney,” Caleb said, the warning in his tone not missed.
“So without further ado, I bring you—”
“Shaney.” Todd stood.
“Hudson’s super, fantastic, surprise birthday present…or the SFSBP, as I like to call it.”
Todd, Caleb and Max all came closer, probably ready to tackle him. Shaney had planned for that. Waving his hand around himself, he created a barrier of impenetrable energy.
“Take a gander at the Shaney force field, suckers.”
Their eyes widened as they realized they couldn’t get to him.
“Shaney!” Hudson’s set his beer down and stomped toward him. Shaney closed his eyes, picturing in his mind the form he wanted. Energy crackled. Bright blue streaks flashed before his eyes. Turning inward, he focused on the energy of creation, the “gift” from his evil father.
Palms up he pointed to a spot on the deck in front of him. He opened his eyes. Everyone looked terrified, and/or pissed. They wouldn’t be for long. As he released the energy, a bright blue ball hovered above the wood floor. Complex patterns flashed before Shaney’s eyes, giving him the information to complete his task. In less than a minute, his present appeared.
His mom and sister screeched.
The Cop looked close to passing out.
Todd’s eyes were wide, his gaze not wavering from Shaney’s present.
Max said, “Fuck me.”
Hudson was… His expression vacillated between awe, fear and anger. “Shaney, what did you do?”
Dropping the force field, Shaney knelt by his gift and ran his hands through the soft fur of the baby black bear. He was adorable.
“It’s a fucking bear.” Hudson’s tone was flat.
Shaney grinned as the bear sniffed his chin. He was about the size of his mother’s bulldog. He had the cutest round butt. The cub let out strangely human sounding noise. “Maaa, maaa.”
“Awe he said mama.”
“Shaney, you made a fucking bear.” Todd continued to stay back as did everyone, including Hudson.
“I did it for Hudson, for you baby. You’re always saying you want to pet the bears that. Come and pet him. He’s so sweet.”
Hudson moved forward as the bear continued to bleat. “What the hell are we supposed to do with a cub?” Hudson knelt warily then ran his hands over the black coat. A nervous smile crossed his lips. “So soft.”
Shaney hadn’t given any thought about what he’d do with the bear who continued to make the cutest noise. Maybe there was a nice mama bear who’d take him in.
The Cop stepped forward, eyes comically wide. “I know a bit about bears and that cub sounds like he’s calling for his—” A roar filled the air and everyone jumped. “Mother.”
The baby bear’s bleats increased.
“Shaney, you idiot!” Caleb scrambled behind Max. “You can’t create a life! All you did was transport the closest cub here!”
Chaos broke out as a large black bear rambled around the side of the house, heading right for the stairs to the deck. Shaney’s heart pounded against his chest. Another roar and his fear threw up a force field around them.
“Let the bear go,” the Cop said. “She’ll take him and leave.”
Hudson pushed on the bear, but it wouldn’t budge. “Go on. Get going.”
The cub scratched at the air desperate to get to his mother, who climbed the stairs and was only ten feet away. Shaney’s was sure he stopped breathing as the bear reared up and stood on its back legs. Fuck, she was over six feet tall and had claws that could eviscerate a man with one swipe.
“Shaney, pull down the force field!” Caleb had practically climbed Max.
“Are you kidding? That bear will eat all of us!” Todd had actually pushed up against Dan.
Shaney was going to get them all killed. He had to do something, but he couldn’t think past his terror seized brain.
“Shaney?” The voice was low, soothing, comforting. “Hey, look at me.” Shaney could only focus on the big, rage-filled, mama bear. “Look at me.”
Shaney expected to see that pissed off, disappointed expression Hudson got whenever Shaney had fucked up. Instead, Hudson’s eyes were gentle, his mouth slack, his brow raised slightly.
“I’m sorry. I just wanted to…It doesn’t matter.” Shaney didn’t have an excuse.
Hudson shook his head. “It does matter. You just wanted to give me something special and you have, although I could do without the deadly consequences. Thank you.”
“Really. Now, I need you to do something else for me okay?”
Shaney nodded. His muscles came back under his control.
“We’re all going to back into the house. I need you to keep the force field around us.”
“Will come with us, then we’ll let it out the front door. Can you do that?”
He almost nodded but stopped. He’d made this mess. He’d clean it up. “Hold on.”
He bent down and placed both arms under the cub’s belly, then lifted the bear. “Shit.” Weighed a ton for being so small. Shaney stumbled a bit but regained his balance.
“What’re you doing?” Hudson went to reach for him, but Shaney had already shifted the energy.
“Shaney…What are you…” Hudson pushed against the wall of energy. "Let me out of here! "
“I’ve got this.”
Everyone shouted at Shaney to stop. He blocked them out. Taking a deep breath, he turned to the bear who was back on all fours.
“It’s okay, mama. I got your baby. He’s okay.” Shaney walked slowly toward the bear. The muscles in his arms burned and his back threatened to give out. The mama bear moved her head back and forth in agitation then started to back up as Shaney came closer.
“Shaney! Please stop!” Hudson sounded terrified.
“It’s okay,” Shaney yelled over his shoulder. “I’ve got my force field.” He frowned but kept moving. He swallowed repeatedly as bile filled his throat. His body shook and his heart pounded in his ears.
The bear kept backing away, making her way down the stairs, her eyes intently on Shaney and her cub.
“That’s it. Just get to the ground, and he’s all yours.”
Shaney followed at a safe, or not so safe, distance. After what seemed an eternity, the mama bear scooted back onto the grass. Reaching the bottom of the stairs, Shaney lowered the cub to the ground, never taking his eyes off the irritated bear.
“Okay, little guy, go back to your mama. Sorry I pulled you away from her. No harm, right? Don’t come back some day and eat me because I traumatized you.”
Shaney watched as the bleating cub ran to his mother and rubbed against her.
Please leave. Please leave.
When the bear roared, Shaney’s entire body jerked. He was going to die. But the bear turned and lumbered back toward the woods, the cub running beside her. Not until they disappeared in the trees, did Shaney collapse back onto the stairs. He tried to catch his breath.
Footsteps pounded across the deck and down the stairs. He was hoisted into the air and squeezed tight.
“Jesus Christ, Shaney. I thought I was going to have a heart attack...again. Don’t ever scare me like that.”
Shaney’s mother stood behind Hudson and shook her head, then grasped Shaney’s hand for a moment. He could feel her shaking, but otherwise, for her, it was just another day of being Shaney’s mom.
Loosening his grip, Hudson looked down on Shaney. “I really do appreciate the gift. I got to pet a bear.”
“And almost got eaten by one,” Todd said not being helpful.
Shaney scowled at him.
Hudson ran a hand down Shaney’s cheek. “If you didn’t have that force field, I would have keeled over.”
Hudson furrowed his brow. “What?”
Hudson narrowed his eyes.
Shaney wriggled from his grasp and smiled coyly. “Do you know how much I love you?”
Hudson reached for him, but Shaney jumped back.
“I may not have had enough power for my force field and the one around everyone else.”
Shaney booked it to the lake, realizing how stupid that was since he was trapped. Hudson chased him, but Shaney saw the smile curling his lips. Shaney slowed and allowed Hudson to tackle him.
He laughed as they rolled on the ground and Hudson tickled him.
Hudson relented, and hovered over Shaney, who knew he’d been forgiven.
“Happy Birthday, baby. Your other present is between my legs.” He guided Hudson’s hand down to feel the new butt plug that would drive Hudson wild.
Hudson groaned. “Have I told you how much I loved you lately?”
Shaney sighed as Hudson kissed him. He was already planning for Hudson’s Even Better Super Duper Fantastic Surprise Birthday Party Spectacular next year.
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