Flash Fic Friday

Flash Fic Friday

**Micah and Kevin from last week are back again.  This time, it’s Kevin who makes the mistake.  Enjoy!**

I stood on the porch, my hand on the doorknob.  I took a deep breath, and told myself to open the door.  My body didn’t obey.  I fought back a few tears, took another breath, and finally made myself open the front door and walk into the house.

“Kev!  Hey, there you—” Micah cut himself off when he caught sight of my face.  Instantly, he was up and at my side.  “Sweetheart, what’s wrong?”

I shook my head as he led me to the couch.  “When you kill me, will you make it look like an accident?”  My laugh was weak, my attempt at humor not even remotely funny.  Micah’s eyes were filled with worry and his thumb made soothing circles on the back of my hand.

“What happened?”

I had to suck in a breath, then release it slowly.  There was no use in avoiding the truth.  I needed to be the one to tell him.  I couldn’t let him find out on his own.  That would just lead to a huge fight.  I couldn’t keep this a secret.

“I’m sorry!” I burst out.  Another deep breath.  “I was online today, making my quarterly donation to Make-A-Wish.”

Micah nodded.  “Okay,” he said slowly.  “You do that all the time.”

He didn’t understand, but he would in a minute.  And then he would probably strangle me to death.  I’d deserve it.

“I was rushing, and I wasn’t paying as close attention as I should have been.  I’ve done it so many times, you know?  It’s like my fingers know exactly what to click.”  I peeked at Micah out of the corner of my eye.  He was waiting, not exactly patiently, for me to spit it out.  So I did.  “I meant to donate fifty like I usually do.  But I didn’t put the decimal in.”

“Kevin,” Micah said, his voice low.  “What happened?”

“I donated five thousand dollars,” I all but whispered.  “Our vacation fund is gone.”

Silence.  It took me almost a full minute before I could lift my gaze and look at him.  Micah was staring at the far wall, his face entirely blank.  I wanted to reach out and touch him, wanted to ask him what he was thinking, but I knew better than to say anything.  I needed to wait while he processed that information.  I couldn’t rush him.  I tried very hard not to fidget.

“You didn’t tell them it was a mistake?” Micah’s voice was dangerously low.  I swallowed hard.

“How could I?” My voice was soft.  “I clicked too fast, it was done and complete before I realized it and…” I trailed off, and sighed.  “How could I take that away from kids who really need it?  I just—”

Micah stood up fast and I stopped speaking.  He walked across the room, leaning his hands on the mantle, and hanging his head between his arms.  I wanted so badly to hug him, for him to hold me back and tell me it was okay.  I hadn’t meant to do it, and I regretted that basically every penny we’d been saving for months for a cruise was gone.  But I didn’t regret that the money was going to a worthy cause.  So I remained still and silent, waiting for Micah to start yelling.

“Okay,” he said finally.  He blew out a breath and lifted his head, but he didn’t turn around to look at me.  “It’s okay.”

I opened my mouth, but no words came out.  I cleared my throat.  “It’s okay?”

Micah sighed, and finally turned around.  “Well, what are we going to do about it now?  Nothing.  There’s nothing to do.  Hopefully, that will help make some poor kid’s wish come true.”

I almost couldn’t believe the words he was saying.  “You’re not mad?”

He shook his head, and I nearly sagged in relief. But then he spoke and my muscles went taut.  “Oh, I’m plenty mad.  I’ve been looking forward to this vacation for months, and I’m pissed as hell that now it’ll be even longer before we go.”  His eyes were swirling with emotion, and I tried to say something, but Micah cut me off by lifting his hand.  “But I also know you didn’t do it on purpose, and that you’ll be much, much more careful in the future.”

I nodded fast, and Micah finally graced me with a hint of a smile.  He shook his head, then pinched the bridge of his nose.  “Yeah, I’m upset.  But I’ll get over it.  And because I know you weren’t trying to be a jerk and mess up our vacation, I’ll forgive you for this gross oversight.”

A laugh of relief bubbled up, but I managed to check it before it escaped.  That wouldn’t do us any good right now.  Instead, I stood and slowly crossed to where he was standing.  I cautiously reached out a hand, and Micah took it after only a second’s hesitation, then pulled me into his arms.  I sighed as I snuggled into his embrace.

With my face smooshed against his neck, I said again, “I’m really sorry.”

I felt him nod, and he squeezed me tightly.  “I love you.”

“I love you too,” I said fervently.

“But you’re not allowed to play with money for a while, huh?”

I laughed because I couldn’t help it.  “Yeah, okay.”

It was the least I could agree to.

Flash Fic Friday

Special Flash Fic

**A birthday deserves a special story, right?  So for Carla (who helped a bit with this as well) Happy Birthday!!  May your day be filled with awesome!**

I’d always wanted to visit Paris, and Etienne had made that possible.  I swore up and down to anyone who asked I hadn’t started dating the Frenchman so that he’d take me home with him, and it was mostly true.  Etienne was gorgeous and kind, and he’d caught my attention before I’d ever heard him speak or known that, for all he’d been living in the States for fifteen years, his heart and home were still in France.  Now, after a year and a half of dating, we’d finally gone on vacation to visit his relatives.

Standing outside the Palais du Louvre near the Pont des Arts, I waited for him to finish a phone call that couldn’t wait.  He’d been really good about ignoring the phone when he could while we’d been here, so I didn’t fault him for the occasional time that he couldn’t.  Besides, it was good people-watching.  The courtyard wasn’t overly fully, but there were enough people milling about the pyramid to make it interesting.  Family groups, couples, and a whole mess of tourists had my imagination wandering, wondering what their stories were.

With my attention diverted, I was nearly bowled over by two young children, a boy and a girl, as they ran past.  Shouting and chasing each other, I smiled as I watched their antics.  A woman chased after them, harried looking but smiling as she called out, “Nell!  Viggo! Reviens ici, imbéciles. Ne t’enfuis pas de moi.

They seemed happy, even if their mother looked ready to cheerfully strangle them, and I stepped out of their path and meandered a few feet away.  A glance at Etienne showed he was still rather engaged in his phone call, but he had one eye on me and made an apologetic face.  I blew him a kiss, and moseyed further inward, taking in the sights, and soaking up the atmosphere.

“Tu es un homme merveilleux.” A deep voice said close to my ear.  “Tu devrais me laisser te ramener à la maison.”

I wasn’t very good with French—Etienne was teaching me but it was slow going.  I didn’t really have an ear for language—but I understood the gist of it.  Since that wasn’t Etienne, I opened my mouth to decline but the words dried up when I caught sight of the man speaking to me.  He was absolutely stunning in his beauty, but he held himself with a smarmy air that let me know he knew it.  I shook my head.  I wouldn’t have gone with him even if I wasn’t already in love.

“Il est à moi,” Etienne growled, stomping over to where we stood, his face a dark mask of anger.  The stranger held up his hands and backed away slowly, like he didn’t mean any harm, but Etienne didn’t stop his menacing stare until the man was well and truly gone.  I smiled up at my boyfriend.  His possessiveness should have been a turn off, but I just found it hot.

“I wouldn’t have gone with him,” I said softly, staring into his deep brown eyes.  He nodded quickly, and his smile turned both indulgent and apologetic at once.

Oui, I know,” he said.  Then he held up his phone.  “Je suis désolé.”

“It’s all right,” I said, meaning it.  I grinned.  “How about you show me what you wanted to show me now?”

He nodded and took my hand, leading me toward the Pont des Arts.  It was one of the things I’d loved about him from the start, that he wasn’t afraid to show his connection to me.  Etienne was an incredibly tactile person, and he touched me whenever he wanted, no matter where we were.  I was more than happy to let him.

Once on the bridge, Etienne pulled me to a stop about half way along, and then drew my attention to the railing.  It was only then that I noticed the padlocks.  Thousands upon thousands of locks were attached.  We moved closer and I could see that they had names written on them.  I cocked my eyebrow at Etienne in question.  He smiled.

“Cadenas d’Amour,” he said in his deep baritone, pulling me closer.  “Love locks.  It is a tradition that lovers attach a lock to the bridge, and then throw the key in the Siene.  It is said to represent a couple’s committed love.”

I smiled, my gaze barely able to take in the multitude of padlocks.  “That’s a lovely sentiment.  I can’t imagine it’s good for the bridge, but I don’t think I care.  I love the romanticism of it.”

Etienne nudged my arm, and when I looked at him, he reached into his pocket and produced a gold padlock.  It was a hefty piece of hardware, the shackle thick and sturdy.  And then he turned it over to show me the other side. Michael and Etienne was engraved in elegant script.  My heart gave a thump, and my breath caught in my chest.

“Oh, Etienne,” I began, but I couldn’t get any more words out.  He cupped my jaw with one big hand, his smile full of love, and then we turned our attention to the railing.  Together we found a spot, though it was a challenge, to attach our padlock.  Etienne was careful to make sure it was secure before he removed the key.  He handed it to me, and I kissed him softly before I tossed it over the side and into the Siene.

We stood there for a long moment, just absorbing the moment, before he once again took my hand and we continued our journey.  Across the bridge and toward the rest of our life.

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Bad Habit

I have this bad habit, one I was reminded again about yesterday.  You see, I get all gung ho about a story idea, and I write, and then I sort of fizzle out, and then I just kind of…abandon the project.  And it sits there unfinished, boys in the middle of a scene, with no resolution in sight.

Now, sometimes, it’s because the story isn’t working.  It’s not the right story to tell, and it’s not going to get written.  Like Ben and Zack, from Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love (which will be out in June).  What I originally wrote, months and months and months ago…that wasn’t working.  But then there was a new idea, and I was able to bring those guys back and tell their story in a new and better way.

But most of the time?  Yeah, it’s all on me.  It’s because I hit a wall, or I find problems, and the work that needs to be done to tell the story just isn’t happening.  That’s my fault.  I have a WIP Roll the Dice, that’s just sitting because I couldn’t figure out the next part and these guys are just waiting for their story to be told.  That one I still think about from time to time, open up the doc, read along and love them, and then…I get to that point where it’s stopped and I still have no idea how to move the story forward.

And my current WIP?  It has no title and barely 5,000 words.  Except that one I actually have plotted out to the end, in rough terms, and I know where the story is going.  But I was still whining about writing it.  Still having issues.  And wanting to abandon it and work on something else.  Of course, I have someone lovingly breathing down my neck, telling me to just focus goddammit, and write the dang story.

So I am.  2k of those words I just put on the story yesterday, and I’m at the point where my MCs finally start moving toward each other.  It’s the early stages yet, and there’s some misconceptions working against them, but that will all be straightened out soon. We have a guy who’s in the closet by necessity, and another, our narrator, who will eventually sort everything out.

I use excuses to keep me from writing it.  I know I do.  “It’s bad.”  “I have edits coming up.” “There’s these other guys talking in my head.”  Whatever I can think of.  And it’s all true, but that doesn’t preclude me from writing these guys, from telling their story.

It’s a bad, bad habit.  But one I’m trying to break.

Flash Fic Friday

Flash Fic Friday

**This week’s challenge went through a couple of incarnations before I finally got it written.  But here’s what happened with driving under the influence and the morning after.  Enjoy!**

The squeal of tires and the sound of the garbage bins being knocked over jerked me from sleep.  I’d been lounging on the couch waiting for my boyfriend to come home from his friend’s birthday party, and I must have dozed off.  But the shock of awaking to those noises had adrenaline pulsing through my veins.  I hopped off the couch and scrubbed my hands over my face even as I walked as quickly as I could toward the front door.  With a quick twist of my wrist, I had the deadbolt unlocked, and I pulled the door open.  Micah was on the porch, swaying unsteadily, his hand raised toward the door with the wrong key extended.   He smelled like a distillery.

“Jesus,” I whispered, reaching out a hand and grabbing hold before he could fall over.

“Hey, baby,” he slurred.  He leaned heavily against me, and since I was several inches shorter and thirty pounds lighter than he was, I grunted under the strain.   His smile was wide, and his eyes were unfocused.

“Christ Micah, what the fuck?”  I ushered him into the house and made sure he was supported against the wall before I turned to shut the door.  When I caught sight of his car in the driveway, with no other occupants, and the garbage cans lying on their side, my blood started to boil.

“You drove?” I hissed.

Micah’s grin just grew wider.  “Yep!”  He seemed pleased with himself.  He gave a belch, then patted his stomach.

“What in the fuck were you thinking?” I bellowed.  I was beyond angry.  He could have killed himself!  He could have killed someone else!  What the fuck was he thinking?  Clearly he hadn’t been, and I was honestly surprised.  This was not something he’d ever done before, and I knew he knew better.

“Shh,” he whispered, wincing at my tone.  “I’s fine, Kev.  No big deal.”

Yes it fucking was.  But there was no point in arguing about it now.  He’d get an earful in the morning.

***

The next time I woke up, it was to the sound of Micah retching in the bathroom.  I waited until he stopped, and I heard the flush of the toilet, before I burst into the room, letting the door bang against the wall.

“Good morning, Sunshine!” I shouted.  “How are you?”

“Jesus fuck,” he muttered before hauling himself upright and shuffled to the sink.  “Kevin, sweetheart, keep it down.”

“Nope!”  I was using my outside voice on purpose.  He’d pay for what he did last night with more than a hangover.  “I want to know what in the fuck you were thinking driving yourself home last night.”

“I was fine.”  He voice was quiet, and he scowled at me.  “I only had three beers.”

I snorted.  “You had more than that.  You came home reeking of alcohol and barely able to stand up.  Micah, what the hell?  You know better than to drive like that.  You could have been killed!  Worse, you could have killed someone else.  Tell me what was going through your dumbass head that you got behind the wheel!

“Please stop shouting,” he said, sounding miserable.  He brushed his teeth, and then sipped some water before he turned to me.  I had my arms crossed over my chest, and stared him down.  I couldn’t believe he would do something this stupid, this dangerous, and I wanted an explanation.

“I thought I was fine,” he amended his earlier statement.

Not good enough.  “Well you weren’t.  You scared the holy hell out of me when you got home.  Thinking of you driving all that way intoxicated—”

“But nothing bad happened,” he interrupted.

“Oh my God, really?  That’s your defense?  You know damn well that was probably the stupidest thing you could have done.  If there was no one sober, you could have called a cab or me, for fuck’s sake.”

He winced again, and I saw the shame all over his face.  Good.  He deserved it.  “What do you want me to say, Kevin?  It won’t happen again.  Ever.”

I squinted at him.  “How about you don’t drink again unless I’m there and sober to drive us?”

His eyes widened.  “I’m being punished?”

If not drinking was a punishment, then he needed to grow up.  I nodded, and stared hard, not backing down even a little.  Finally he sighed, and his agreement was a grunt and a nod.  Three years into our relationship, I knew that was as good as a promise out loud.  Finally satisfied that I wouldn’t have to go through this ever again, I relaxed.  Micah’s smile was pained but genuine, and he opened his arms.  I went straight into them.

“I’m sorry I scared you.  Thinking about it now, I scared myself a little.  It won’t happen again, Kev.”

I nodded against his chest.  “I love you.  I can’t lose you.  To death or prison.”

His kiss to my forehead was sweet.  “I love you too.  And you’re stuck with me for a long time.”

I sighed contentedly.  That was exactly what I wanted.

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The Sad and The Good

Joshua is mourning the loss of the great Leonard Nimoy.  You know that he’s a huge fan of Star Trek.  It started when he was just a child, a gift from his father, with the original series.  Spock was always one of his favorite characters.  He even dressed up as Spock for Halloween one year when he was about six, though none of his friends knew who he was.  It didn’t matter.  He admired Spock, and the man that played him, and he is very sad at his passing, though he knows the man lived a good life.  His heart is breaking.

Okay, yeah, that’s mostly me (though Halloween Spock was my brother) and it’s sad news. The world has lost someone great and I can only hope he rests in peace and is reunited with those who have gone before.

But before that happened, I got some very good news.  I’ll have another novella release in June!  As part of Dreamspinner Press’s June Daily Dose, Never Too Late.  It’s called Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love and is the story of Ben and Zack.  This one has a very special place in my heart, as it stemmed directly from a conversation, and afforded me the opportunity to bring back two MCs I had previously abandoned because their story wasn’t working.  Now it does, and though it’s still very low on the angst meter, I’m really excited about this story.  I love these guys, which I suppose is a good thing since I wrote them, and I’m thrilled to share their story with you.  I’m also excited because there’s only a three month wait.  It’ll be available for individual sale on June 1st, and as part of the whole package, if you chose to go that route.  I’m positively giddy to begin the production process, to polish this story till it shines, and to work with an amazing artist for the cover.  It’s going to be good, and I really can’t wait to share this story with you.