Flash Fic Friday

I opened the door gingerly, cautiously peering around at my surroundings as I stepped into the shop. It was bright and colorful, and a little bulldog ran to greet me. I squatted down to give her pets. She reveled in the attention, making adorable bulldog snorts and pushing closer

“Can I help you?”

I jerked my gaze to the woman behind the counter. She was plump and pleasant, with a radiant smile and kind eyes.

“Er, yes.” I rose slowly from my crouch and cleared my throat. “I um…”

I trailed off not knowing what to say. But her smile was encouraging, so I took a deep breath. “I want to learn to knit.” I said it really fast, not knowing how she would take a man standing in her yarn shop and asking to learn.

“Wonderful! I’ll be happy to teach you. Do you have a project in mind? Or do you just want to learn the basics?”

In for a penny… “My boyfriend shaves his head. He needs a hat. And his birthday is in a couple of months so…” I let the sentence hang.

She came around the counter, her smile growing impossibly wider. “Excellent first project! Let’s get everything you need and we’ll get started!”

I liked her attitude. I returned her smile and trailed after her.

***

After eight weeks under Beth’a tutelage, I was a fairly proficient knitter. Well, I could knit and purl with the best of them anyway. Beth praised my tension and my progress. I’d had to run back to her and beg for help when it was time to decrease, but in the end I managed to make a hat.

Cole was getting suspicious. I could tell. He’d ask loaded question about what I was doing that I refused to answer. It had been difficult to hide my work in progress from him. I’d had to be very sneaky. But tonight it would pay off and I could put his mind to rest.

I was nervous. The hat was a deep, rich blue in a cashmere wool blend that felt awesome to the touch. It wasn’t perfect; a little uneven in places. But I hadn’t dropped any stitches and it was functional.

I shoved the gift bag in his hands the instant we sat down to dinner. I’d made his favorite meal, and I had a whole plan, but I couldn’t wait.

He eyed me warily as he opened the bag. Then he inspected the hat very carefully. I held my breath.

Finally he asked, his voice low, “Did you make this?”

I nodded fast. “Yes,” I croaked.

His grin was gorgeous as he pulled it on. It fit perfectly, even if I could see a mistake the instant the stitches stretched around his head.

“I love it,” he said reverently. Then he cocked his head to the side. “This is what you were hiding?”

I nodded.

He frowned. “Did you think I would judge you for learning to knit?”

“No!” I practically shouted, then blushed at my overly loud voice. Because I had worried about that a little. I shrugged and went with the rest if the truth. “just wanted to keep it a surprise.”

He took my hand. “It’s great. Thank you.”

“Happy birthday,” I said softly.

“Thank you,” he repeated. Then he grinned. “I want a matching scarf for Christmas.”

I grinned. If I started now, I’d be done by then. Learning to knit had been an awesome idea.

Sorta Done

Look over there.  No, to your left.  Down, down…see it?  That word meter that’s busting out the top?  First draft is in the bag!

Not that it’s actually anywhere near done.  And not like it’s actually the first draft.  Because I edit as I go, it’s more like the second or third draft.  But it’s the first time all the words are living on the page together.  It’s a good and accomplished feeling.

There’s a great deal of polishing and editing to be done.  It needs work.  But that’s okay, because I know it, and I’m prepared for it.

Of course, that’s not stopping my brain from moving on to the next thing.  And there’s actually a couple of “next things” in the pipeline.  And my brain can’t seem to decide what should be next up.  And when.  Have to admit, that I’d really rather there be too many ideas than not enough.

It’s always sort of a bittersweet moment for me when I complete that first draft.  Because it means all the plotting and planning and actual creating is done.  Now comes the hard work, the changes and the  fixes, the editing and the polishing, the working towards making it the best story I can make it.  Sigh, if only I were perfect and could write the perfect story on the first go.  I’m still waiting for the brain-to-computer interface that can take the story right out of my head and put it on the page.  Now wouldn’t that make life easier?

Until then, it’s all about the work. And hey, maybe someday soon, I’ll actually have a manuscript worth putting out there for public consumption.  Wouldn’t that be great? 🙂

Home Stretch

The end is near. I can feel it. Pretty soon, the first draft of Beholden will be complete. Then it’s off to the betas and more work to fix and edit. But the story getting finished? All the words on the page? That’ll happen soon. Maybe even in a matter of days.

I’m excited about it. But also not. Because I don’t want to let these guys go. Because I fear it being over and all the stuff that comes next. But it’s also thrilling to get a complete story on the page.

I have some decisions to make about the way it’s all going to end. And there’s still a good number of words to write. But I can feel the end approaching.

I’m in the home stretch. And it actually feels good.

Flash Fic Friday

Everything hurt.  I had pain in places I didn’t even remember I had.  Sitting on the hospital bed, I could barely move without feeling a twinge of ache.  They’d given me some Vicodin, but it obviously hadn’t fully kicked in yet.  Or if it had, I needed some stronger shit.  Where was the good stuff?  Why wasn’t I on a morphine drip?  I had broken bones, lacerations, some surface burns, bruising, and a mild concussion.  Shouldn’t that warrant the use of heavy narcotics?

The curtain partition that separated my bed from the rest of the ER whipped back.  I looked up, and I couldn’t help the grin that stretched my face.  It even hurt to smile.  But my boyfriend was standing there, and just seeing him made me feel ten times better.  Sam and I had been together for three years, co-habitating for the last eighteen months, and he was it for me.  The love of my life.  The fact that he was here made all the aches and pains recede a little further.  Or maybe the Vicodin was finally doing it’s job.

“I’m okay,” I said soothingly, because he looked about ready to fall apart.  “It looks worse than it is.”

He nodded fast, and whispered, “Looks pretty bad.”

“I know, but it’s not.”  I held out the hand that wasn’t currently in a splint and waiting for a cast.  He practically ran to the side of the bed, taking my hand, and squeezing it tight.  His pretty blue eyes filled with tears, and his gaze roamed over my face and body, cataloging my injuries.

“You’re so lucky,” he whispered, and his voice hitched.  “If someone hadn’t seen the accident, if you’d been left out there–” His words left him and he made a little choking noise.

My right side was fairly uninjured.  The other car had t-boned mine, slamming into the driver’s side, but a little bit behind where my seat was.  My left wrist and hand were broken, and I had deep cut on my left thigh that had required fifteen stitches, but the right side was just banged up.  I grimaced as I slid over a few inches to make room for Sam to climb up on the right side of the bed.  He didn’t hesitate to do so, though he was careful of how he touched me.  I put my arm around his shoulders, and he laid his head ever so gently on my shoulder.

“But they did and I’m okay.  I’ll be healed in no time.  Before you know it, I’ll be able to bend you over the bed and fuck your tight ass.”  I was trying for levity, but I didn’t quite manage it.

Sam’s head jerked up, and he scowled at me.  “Not funny.  You could have died, Nathan!”

I knew I was in trouble by his use of my full name.  I made a soothing noise.  “I know, but I didn’t. I really am going to be okay,” I said softly, then leaned forward to place a kiss on his forehead.  His eyes slid closed for a minute, before snapping open again.

“We have to sign papers,” he said urgently.

I blinked. I didn’t quite follow his sudden topic shift.  I blamed it on the concussion.  “What papers?”

“Papers that say that I’m your emergency contact and that I can make health decision for you.  And vice versa,” he said.  I continued to stare at him, not exactly understanding, and his eyes filled with tears again.  “We aren’t married.  We can’t get married here and even if we got married somewhere else, this state doesn’t recognize it.  I almost couldn’t back here to see you.  They tried to stop me.  But one of the nurses told them you called me, that you wanted me.  If you’d been unconscious, I would’t have even known and I couldn’t have gotten back here and–”

“Okay,” I cut him off because he was getting worked up.  I didn’t know why I hadn’t thought of that before.  Our lives were as entwined as they could be; I should have thought of that earlier.  We should have already had that in place.  “We’ll take care of that as soon as I get out of here, all right?”

He nodded, his body relaxing a fraction.  “When are you getting out of here?”

“I’m not sure.  I’m waiting for a cast on the wrist.  A few more hours at least.  Or maybe sometime next week with how fast they’re moving around here.”

Sam managed a weak chuckle, then let out a heavy sigh.  “I was so scared.  I love you, Nate.”

“I love you too, babe.”

“And we’ll sign papers?” he checked, glancing up at me.

“We’ll sign papers,” I confirmed.

He nodded.  He leaned a little more heavily against me knowing that, even bruised and battered, I could still take his weight. We settled back against the bed, prepared to wait however long it took until we could go home.  Together.

Friends Are Dangerous

And supportive friends are the worst kind of dangerous.

Because they shore you up when you’re feeling low, give you all sorts of positive feedback, and they encourage your wild tangent plot bunnies.  What’s worse?  They feed the plot bunnies.  They make them grow and flourish until you have no choice but to listen.  It’s horrible!

Okay, it’s not.  It’s actually freaking fantastic.  And I’m very lucky to have a couple of people in my life who are expert plot bunny feeders.  When the muse sets her minions loose, when those bunnies start hopping around like mad, these friends are the ones that feed ’em up till they are fat and happy, and encourage me to run with them.  And sometimes, I absolutely need help feeding those little guys.

Most recently, sharing an anecdote with one of the aforementioned friends resulted in a whole freaking plot.  In fact, he was the one that told me to get on it and write it, before the thought even crossed my mind.  But then, in no uncertain terms, told me to finish Beholden first.  Thankfully, this plot bunny seems to be fat and happy, content to wait it’s turn till the story can be told.

But it’s sort of lit a fire under me.  Get Beholden done so that I can tell the new boys’ story.  But in a good way, not in a “rush to move on kind of way.”  Of course, it means I need to manage my time a bit better but…well, thems the breaks.

Like I said, friends can be dangerous.  But a little danger is sometimes a good thing.

Write Him A Boyfriend

I get inspired over the smallest things. Plot bunnies start hopping around with the slightest provocation. This time it was a waiter.

Out to dinner with my sister, and he walks up to the table. He’s perfectly styled and completely adorable. An absolutely sweetheart, who camps it up just a little when he sees we approve. After he takes our order and heads back to the kitchen, my sister and I grin at each other.

“What a sweetie,” I say. “I just want to write him a boyfriend.”

Fortunately my sister gets how my brain works, and this made perfect sense to her. Now, we didn’t find out much about him–the restaurant was busy–but that didn’t stop us from imagining his type and what would happen when they meet. How the story would progress. His smile and his look inspired a character, but the rest is all speculation based on the total five minutes conversation we had with him.

But he’s in my head now. He’s an alive character. And eventually, I’m going to write him a boyfriend.

Flash Fic Friday

“I said I’m not going!” He yelled

I stayed calm. “And I said I don’t care. You’re going.”

Rage filled his features and his gaze cast about, looking for something to throw. But I’d herded him into the sunroom on purpose. There was nothing in here for him to get his hands on. He wasn’t strong enough to pick up the heavy wicker furniture and he’d never touch the plants. They were his passion.

“I’m a grown man and you can’t tell me what to do!”

Ah. So it was going to be one of those arguments. “Yeah, you are and I can’t,” I agreed. “But this is different. Date night is sacred. We go out, we reconnect and make time for us. We have a deal.”

He opened his mouth but I cut him off before anymore anger could spill out. “You’re drifting. I can feel it. And I won’t let you. Not after six years. I love you.”

The magic words. He crumpled, and sat heavily on the edge of a nearby chaise. Slowly, I closed the distance between us and sat next to him. I didn’t say a word, just let him feel my bigger body and my warmth. Suddenly, he turned and launched himself into my arms. I gathered him in, and held him tightly, like I knew he liked.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered, his voice muffled by the skin of my neck.

“I know,” I whispered back. He didn’t handle disappointment well, and he’d been dealt a big one. He was prone to hysterics. I didn’t mind. I’d manage him if he needed me to.

He took a deep breath, and then pulled back so he could see my eyes. “I’m not really up to going out tonight. Instead, can we order from that Italian place we like and talk and then maybe watch a movie and go to bed?”

Sounded like a good compromise to me. I stood, and offered him my hand. “Sure.”

He took it and I pulled him up. When he started to tug me toward the door, I resisted. “You know, you could have just said that.”

His laugh was weak, by he rolled his eyes so I knew he was feeling better. “Yeah but then I wouldn’t be me.”

I grinned and followed him willingly. He was right. And that was fine. Because I loved him.