Flash Fic Friday

**Hope you aren’t sick of my boys yet! 😀  Joshua and Will are here one more time, to tell you what happened when they reached a turning point in their relationship, and there was a surprise…in the grocery store.  Thanks for reading along.  Enjoy!**

Sadie Mae was seven pounds, ten ounces of perfect angel.  As I watched Joshua hold his brand new niece, my heart just melted at the sight.  He was so big and she was so tiny, trustingly nestled up against his chest.  I knew how safe I felt why I laid against him like that.  I could imagine how protected Sadie felt in those big, strong arms.

Joshua’s gaze finally strayed away from the infant he held and found mine.  And there it was all over his face.  He wanted one of those for his own.  I tried to smile, and I was pretty sure I succeeded.  But inside, I was panicking.  I never thought of having children of my own, and though we’d never discussed it, it was clear that Joshua did.  Could I deal with a kid?  Was it a deal breaker if I couldn’t?  Would I lose Joshua if I said I didn’t want children?  Did I actually feel that way?  I wasn’t sure.  About any of it.

My thoughts were racing, my brain churning a mile a minute, and I actually jumped when Joshua touched my arm and told me it was time to go.  I barely paid attention as we said our goodbyes and left the house.  I was even more lost in a daze when Joshua pulled the car away from the curb.  Christ. How was it that in more than two years of dating, the topic of children had never come up?

I startled and jerked when Joshua stopped the car, and I looked around in surprise when I realized we were in the parking lot of the grocery store.  Joshua was already out of the car and moving before I realized what was going on, and I scrambled to catch up.

“What are we doing here?”

Joshua gave me a sidelong glance.  “I told you I wanted to make a couple of casseroles so Sarah and Lucas didn’t have to worry about food.”

I shook my head.  “Right, right.”  If he’d said it, I hadn’t been paying attention.  But there was no need for him to know that.  When he selected a cart and turned it toward the first aisle, he gave me another speculative look.

“Will?”  Joshua bumped me with his shoulder.  “You all right?”

“Yeah, sure,” I responded quickly.  We both winced as my voice came out high and squeaky.  I cleared my throat.  “Just, you know, thinking.  About Sadie.”

Joshua’s smile went soft and sweet.  “She’s perfect, isn’t she?”  His tone was filled with awe.

“Yeah, she is,” I agreed.  And then I was relieved when he sent me over a couple of aisles to pick up some soup.  I wandered in that direction, nearly running into an end-cap display, and having to apologize to an octogenarian in a motorized scooter type shopping cart.  She glared at me and gave me the finger.  I couldn’t even be amused because I was so lost in thought.  This was a pivotal moment in our relationship.  How was the world not standing still?

When I caught up with Joshua again, he gave me a critical look.  Then he slid the cart to the side and took my shoulders in his hands.

“Will, what’s going?

“What do you mean?” I tried for innocent and failed miserably.

His eyes narrowed as he studied me.  “I asked you to get two cans of cream of mushroom soup.”

“Uh huh,” I agreed, nodding like a bobble head.

Joshua was silent for a minute as he pursed his lips.  “This is chicken noodle.”

“Shit,” I whispered, my cheeks heating.

“Yeah.”  Joshua pulled me a little closer so I had no choice but to look into his eyes.  “Will, baby, talk to me.”

“Do you want kids?” I blurted.

For a long moment, Joshua just blinked at me and said nothing.  My heart was rioting in my chest, and I could barely breathe while I waited.  Finally, he shrugged.  “Yeah, I guess so.  I mean, it’d be nice.  To have a little you or a little me running around.  If that something we decide to do, down the road.  After we’ve talked about it a lot.”  The last was said pointedly, and I did not miss his intent.

But somehow, that made everything clear in my head.  He wanted me forever, kids or not, and I no longer knew what we were waiting for.  We’d lived together for almost a year.  Our lives were fully entwined.  I couldn’t imagine my life without him in it.  When I tried, I just couldn’t get the picture to form.  I took a deep breath, and dropped to my knee.

His eyes widened in surprise.  “Will!” he hissed.

“Marry me,” I said sincerely, not detered by his tone or our location.  I knew, to the depths of my soul, that this was the perfect moment.  We’d reached a turning point in our relationship, and as far as I could see, there was only one way to go.  “I love you.  More than anything.  Marry me.”

Joshua’s blush was sweet.  “Yes, of course, you idiot.  I can’t believe you just proposed to me in a grocery store.”

“I’m just full of surprises,” I said cheekily.  I stood up fast, and hugged him tight, loving the way I fit in his arms.  “I have the rings at home already.”

“Christ,” he said with a chuckle.  “I don’t know what I’m going to do with you.”

“You’re going to marry me,” I said with confidence.

“Yes.  Yes I am.”

And I knew, without a doubt, that we would live happily ever after.

Blargh

I’m at that point where my plot is full of holes.  I have the beginning.  I know, of course, where they will end up.  And I have about four scenes in the middle.  I know what begins to bring them together.  But how they get from where they are to where they need to go?  THAT part right there is giving me some trouble.

Yesterday was kind of a mess.  Work was UTTERLY insane, just one thing after another after another.  There’s still more snow.  One of the cars was stuck in the driveway.  Just…Murphy’s Law seemed to be in full effect yesterday and I didn’t even spare my boys a thought.  And I feel sort of bereft about it.

But today is a new day.  Today there is no new snow falling and the forecast says there shouldn’t be any sneak attack snow.  I’m hoping.  I need to refocus and regroup.  I have much to write.  There are the flash fics for March demanding my attention.  And the new boys calling my name.  I’m working on an easy pattern for a scarf that should allow for my mind to wander and really plot without messing anything up. And my sister and I are talking about taking a weekend away, not going far, but just getting away and doing nothing and relaxing.  It’s something we both need, and a change of scenery might do me some good.  As long as the hotel has wifi, I’m good. 🙂

At any rate, I definitely have the winter blahs.  It’s not something that usually happens to me.  Because, let’s face it, where I live winter is a given.  And there’s nothing that can be done to stop the weather.  It is what it is. Usually, I take it in stride and deal with it, and don’t complain too much.  But it’s been way colder than normal for longer than normal, and the snow keeps happening, and it’s depressing.  I’m ready for spring.  I’m ready to be warm again.

But March is just around the corner, and it is my very favorite month.  The snow won’t completely end, but it’ll warm up some and it’s the beginning of spring.  With March, we’ll get a change, and that is what I need most of all.

But for now it’s off to the evil day job, and doing that to the best of my abilities before I come home and focus on the joys in my life; writing and reading and yarn.  And to hopefully produce something good, something worth your time and my effort.

Flash Fic Friday

**More Joshua and Will for you.  They continue their journey here with a missed date, a make up gift, and rain.  Enjoy!**

The temperature had unexpectedly warmed and while the forty-five degree weather was a nice surprise, the pissing down rain left much to be desired.  It was melting the snow, and that was good.  But it was still cold enough to chill me to the bone, and I was fucking drenched.  I’d run out of gas—which had never happened to me before—and I’d had to walk five blocks.  I was soaked, and coupled with the fact that I’d been held up at the office for two extra hours rewriting an opinion, I was also miserable.  I just wanted a hot shower, warm clothes, and snuggle time on the couch with my man.

I was shivering hard when I finally made it through the front door, and I started peeling off clothes right in the entryway.  No sense in tracking all that water through the whole house.  I was half out of my pants when Joshua appeared.  I opened my mouth to tell him about my miserable day so he could make it better, but I snapped it closed when I saw what he was wearing.  The three piece suit in charcoal gray with the light blue shirt and gray and blue tie was something he only pulled out on special occasions.  Like tonight was supposed to be.

I closed my eyes and groaned.  How could I have forgotten?  We were supposed to go out for a fancy dinner, just the two of us.  I was two and half hours late, and our reservation had been more than an hour ago.  I’d missed it.

“I’m sorry,” I blurted out, feeling the shame heat my skin.  At least I was no longer shivering.  I let the pants drop to the ground.  “I’m so sorry.”

Joshua just stared at me, his face impassive.  But I could see the sadness and disappointment in his eyes.  “What happened?”

“I had to work late, and…” I trailed off, shaking my head.  “I spaced.  The judge needed an opinion rewritten and I completely forgot about our dinner.  I didn’t even think to call.  There’s no excuse.  But I am sorry.”

He nodded.   “And you look like a drowned rat because?”

I pulled a face.  “Ran out of gas down on Miller Ave.  At least I was able to pull to the side of the road.”  I looked up at him, searching his gaze.  “I really am sorry, Joshua.”

He nodded again.  “Let’s get you warmed up before you catch pneumonia.”

Joshua all but shoved me into the shower and left me to it while he went to change his clothes.  I felt like shit.  We never did things like this, and the one time we’d gone out of our way to plan something, I’d completely forgotten.  I was awful of me.  I needed to make it up to him somehow.

When I emerged from the bathroom, he’d laid out a warm pair of sweatpants and one of his sweatshirts for me to wear.  My cell phone was pointedly laying on top of the clothes pile, and when I touched the home button it lit up to reveal several missed calls and texts.  Now I felt even worse.  How had I missed him calling?  I nearly smacked myself when I remembered I’d turned the phone to silent so I wouldn’t be interrupted while I fixed the opinion.

As I got dressed, I wracked my brain trying to figure out how to make it up to him.  Slowly an idea emerged.  By the time I was clothed, I knew what I was going to do.  It would take a hell of a lot of planning, but I thought I could make it work.  Tomorrow, I’d start making phone calls.

 

***

When the alarm went off at four A.M. on Saturday morning, I rolled over and plastered my body to Joshua’s.  He chuckled and kissed me, then tried to gently extract himself.  When I wouldn’t let go, he started laughing in earnest.

“Will, honey, I have to go to work.”

“Nope.”

That earned me another laugh.  “Yes, I do.”

I cracked one eye open and looked at him.  “Actually, you don’t.  Lucas, Maggie, and the rest have it covered for the weekend.  You’re not to set foot back in Pounds and Grounds until Monday morning.”

He squinted at me. “What did you do?”

“I had to do it,” I responded fervently.  I gave him my best early morning grin.  “After Wednesday night, I needed to make it up to you.”

His gaze softened and he leaned over.  “Baby, you don’t have to do that.  You didn’t do it on purpose, and you apologized.”

“Yeah but I have this!”  With a flourish, I reached for the plastic bag I’d stashed beside the bed.  I had a feeling that he’d protest.  He was too forgiving.  Most of the time I loved that about him.  But right now, I needed to do whatever I could to make up for my mistake.

He peered cautiously into the bag, and then his eyes just lit up.  With the glee of a five year old on Christmas morning, he upended the bag and spread out the contents.  All seven seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation.  On Blu Ray.  My man had a huge crush on Captain Jean-Luc Picard.

“You do love me!” His tone was full of teasing, but my response was not.

“More than anything.”

Joshua pulled me across the bed until he could kiss me breathless.  When we were both panting, he leaned back far enough to grin at me.  “And we have the whole weekend to do nothing but watch.”

I nodded fast, grinning back.  That was the plan.  But I pushed the sheet off my body, showing off, and hoping we’d get to that later.  Joshua’s gaze turned heated, and he carefully set his presents on the bedside table.  Later was definitely in the cards.

What Kind of Week Has It Been

Yesterday afternoon it sort of all crash down me.  The stress and the worry and the overwhelming…it all sort of screeched my brain to a halt.  It’s time to decompress a bit, relax, and just enjoy things that are other.  So I sat down with my yarn last night and finished up what I was working on.  It’s only one of four things (six really) that I’m working on at the moment, but that’s done.  And while I was knitting and watching TV, my brain was plotting.

It turns out I can’t really shut it off.

Really, I’m not surprised by that.  And I’ve often found the ability to let my mind wander in between the stitches.  Mind you, it wasn’t what I should have been plotting, my WIP, and was something else entirely, but it felt good just to think and knit.

I intend to do more of that this week.  Just knit and think.  Fortunately, my obligations are at a minimum right now so I can do that.  And tonight, when I sit down with the yarn, it will be with a mind focused on the current WIP–which doesn’t have a title, and only a vague plot at this point, and barely 1200 words.  But the Admiral is pulling for this story, and so am I, so I will give it my focus and see if I can’t get all my ducks in a row.  It’s on the verge of coming together.  It just needs more thought.

In the meantime, Will and Joshua will be back on Friday to give you another little snippet of their life.  The challenge from the Admiral has them in a bit of a sticky spot.  I hope you enjoy it!

So That Happened

So. In case you missed it, I released a little novella last week (buy links in the book page at the top).  And it was scary and exciting and overwhelming and awesome.

Some people have said some amazing things to me, and I appreciate that with my whole dang heart.  There’s been some positive feedback with is utterly astounding.  There’s been actual sales which blows my mind a little bit.  To be honest, I can’t put into words how appreciative and grateful I am.  So I’ll just say a great big fat thank you to any and all who helped to make the release amazing and who have supported me throughout it.  It’s not enough, that thank you, but it’s all I have.  Y’all are freaking amazing.

But in the midst of all that awesome, we’ve gotten a crapton of snow.  Not as much as some other parts of the country, and for that I am grateful, but enough to be annoying and upsetting and to remind me that at this point?  I’m done with winter.  I am so ready for spring.  And not to mention, while I was enjoying a release day, a chunk of ice fell off the house and broke the side mirror on my car.  So, you know, now I have to get that fixed.  But the snow and the car, and all the other little things, though annoying and irritating, I just remind myself it’s all fodder for the grist mill.  That’s the kind of stuff that inspires plot bunnies and makes me want to write.

I’m in the post finishing a book slump right now, and the words are a bit like torture.  I’m still putting them on the page, knowing I can fix them later, but it’s hard work.  It seems like there’s a disconnect from my brain to my fingers, a block of some sort that is keeping the words from flowing.  I’m trying hard right now to work around it, so we’ll see what happens.  I’m working on it.

I’m going to end with another thank you, because really, I just can’t say it enough.  To everyone.  Thank you so very much.

Flash Fic Friday

**Have you read Pumpkin Rolls and Porn Sounds??  It just released on Wednesday, and in honor of those boys, as well as Valentine’s Day, here’s a little continuation of their story.  Follow along with Joshua and Will as they celebrate the holiday…and a misunderstanding sneaks in.  Enjoy!**

Pounds and Grounds was hopping, not unusual for an early Friday morning.  I stopped in before work more often than not.  Joshua left the house before I was even out of bed, with little more than a scratchy kiss to my cheek, and I liked seeing his smiling face to start my day.  Plus, they had the best tea in a twenty block radius and to-die-for pumpkin rolls.  Living with and loving the owner of the shop meant I got special privileges, and that included the tea and the rolls.

The place was decorated for Valentine’s Day—which had to be Maggie’s doing—with pink and red hearts and flowers.  She’d even drawn in extra hearts on the menu board.  She was wearing a heart-adorned headband and working the counter with her usual cheery attitude.  I gave her a little wave as I skirted the waiting customers, circled around behind the counter, and found my way to Joshua’s office.  I walked in without knocking, ready for the way his face would light up when he saw me.  That never ever got old.

But Joshua was on the phone, and not paying attention to the door.  It was impolite to eavesdrop, but I couldn’t help overhearing his side of the conversation.

“A lot of guys prefer the clean shaven look.  Maybe if…yeah, you’re right….yeah, that makes sense.  That’s absolutely doable…Oh yeah, I’m on board with that plan.  So after work we’ll—” He cut himself off as he caught sight of me.  A blush colored his cheeks above his beard and he gave me a half-hearted smile.  “Gotta go.  I’ll talk to you later.”  He hung up the phone quickly.  “Hey, baby.”

But my heart was pounding in my chest, worry climbing in my gut over what I’d just heard.  He couldn’t actually be thinking about shaving, could he?  No, not my guy.  His beard and mustache were apart of him.  He wouldn’t change that.  I desperately tried to calm my racing heart.

“Joshua, what—” I was cut off when an almighty crash sounded through the café, followed immediately by the sound of breaking glass and a lot of swearing.  Joshua didn’t even spare me a glance as he raced out the door.  I followed him out to see the front case with the baked goods broken with a table protruding out of it, Maggie’s headband askew, and Lucas, the baker, standing in the kitchen doorway and cursing up a storm.  Joshua seemed to have the situation in hand, as he calmly tried to figure out what had happened.  I left him to it, knowing he didn’t need me in the middle of it, and went to work.

But I couldn’t stop thinking about Joshua’s conversation

***

The more I thought about it, the more worried I got.  Joshua had told me that he wouldn’t change for anyone, and I sure as hell didn’t want him to.  But did he think he needed to shave in order to keep me?  I thought I had laid that idea to rest, and I’d done my best to show him and tell him how much I loved every part of him.  I started to panic, and I tried to call him.  But the calls went right to voicemail and the texts went unanswered.  I could barely focus on work, and Caroline, our secretary, voiced her concern over my scattered brain more than once.  Fortunately, the judge didn’t seem to notice.  Or if he did, he didn’t care.

It was a trial day, and Judge Caltabiano had a light schedule, so I was able to make my escape by five thirty.  I raced home, terrified by what I would find.  By the time I pulled into our driveway, I was sure I was going to walk into the house and see Joshua bare cheeked and body waxed.  The thought had me hyperventilating, and I barely remembered to turn off the ignition as I ran into the house.  I slipped on the sidewalk and nearly fell, but even that didn’t stop me.

I knew Joshua was home because his car was in the driveway, but when I burst through the front door, I was met with darkness.  Except for the flickering candles.  Confused, I quickly checked outside to see the streetlights and all the other houses on our block ablaze.

“Joshua?” I called out, even as I removed my hat, scarf, and winter coat.  I was pulling off my boots when I heard his soft footsteps.  I looked up quickly, and my breath whooshed out in relief, my whole body sagging.

“Oh thank God,” I breathed.

His face crumpled in confusion.  “Will?  What’s wrong?”

“Oh my God, I was so scared you’d shaved!”  The hysterics were over the top, but the excess adrenaline pouring through my veins had to go somewhere.  It made my hand shake and my drama queen come out full force.

Joshua’s gasp was almost comical.  “Why would you think that?”

“This morning, I heard…and then you wouldn’t answer…and I—”

“You let your brain run away with you,” Joshua finished for me, his soft smile transforming his whole face.

I nodded fast.  “I sure did.  But I heard you.  You said clean shaven.  I thought you were going to shave your beard.”

Joshua shook his head like he couldn’t believe me, and gave a soft laugh.  “I was talking to my friend, Scott, making plans to hit the grocery store together so I could help him pick his meal.  He was the one that was worried his goatee was a turn off for his new boyfriend.”

I blushed, but I wasn’t totally surprised that I’d misunderstood.  Sometimes my head got carried away.  When he chuckled and held out his hand, I took it without hesitation and let him pull me into his arms.  My hand immediately went to the chest hair peeking out at the top of his shirt, reassuring myself he was still my hairy bear.

“I didn’t answer when you called,” he said softly into the shell of my ear.  His beard scratching along the sensitive skin made me shiver.  “Because I was worried I’d give away the surprise.  You ready for your Valentine’s day dinner, baby?”

I nodded as he led me into the kitchen.  He’d set the table with candles and flowers, matching plates, placemats, and napkins.  He pulled out my chair for me, and pushed it in when I sat.  He disappeared for a moment, but when he returned he had two shallow bowls of shrimp risotto.  My heart melted into a puddle of goo.  It was the first dinner he ever made for me, and even after all this time, it was still my favorite dish.  I got a little choked up at the sentimentality, and Joshua just gave me a wide grin as he sat next to me.  He poured us each a glass of wine, the same brand of Pinot Grigio I had brought to that first dinner, and then he held up his glass in a toast.

“Happy Valentine’s day, baby.  I love you.”

“I love you,” I responded fervently.  Every time I said it, I meant it more.  I knew I would spend the rest of my life falling in love with him.  Over and over again.

Release Day!!

Oh my goodness guys!  It’s here!  Pumpkin Rolls and Porn Sounds is out!  *squee*  I pretty much can’t even right now.

I think it’s a good thing I have the day off from work!

Okay, so a couple of things.  Today, I’m over at Thorny’s talking about confidence and my characters.  There’s an excerpt and a giveaway.  So pretty exciting and if you want, head over there and check it out.

Also, I’m spending the day with the DsP blog, having myself a little release party.  There’s all sorts of fun stuff going up there, another giveaway, and I’ll be posting throughout the day until 5 PM EST.

I’m overwhelmed and excited and so very grateful to all of you who have already bought it.  I really, really hope you enjoy it.  And I want to hear what you think of it…the good, the bad, the pretty, the ugly. Lay it on me, let me know.  I’d love to hear from you.  (Contact form is at the top)

Tune in Friday where the flash fic will feature Joshua and Will and you can see what happens next.  Don’t worry if you haven’t read the story yet, though, because it works just like the rest of my flashes, a snippet out of characters’ lives.

Thanks to everyone for giving me awesome support!  I appreciate it so much!

Buy Links: Dreamspinner/ ARe/ Amazon

praps-full-preview-2bWill Grant only attends the PFLAG meeting because his mother guilts him into it. But the instant he hears the night’s speaker, Will is glad he showed up. Joshua Rhinehardt is dynamic and engaging. Although Joshua isn’t physically Will’s type, Will can’t get the man out of his head.

Joshua may be comfortable in his own skin, but it isn’t often men like Will are attracted to him, and he’s not comfortable changing for someone else. He wants to make a life with Will, but his own insecurities keep getting in the way.

Will’s unwavering acceptance helps Joshua see that when two people connect, physical appearance just might not matter at all.