Flash Fic Friday

**To finish up with Lucas and Aaron…a silly misunderstanding and a renewal of commitment.  Thanks for reading along with these guys.  I hope you’ve enjoyed them as much as I have!**

“Since when do you like hunting?”

The outrage in Aaron’s voice made me startle, and I nearly dropped the book I was holding.  We had a rare three days off together, and we’d been enjoying the quiet time at home.  Aaron had been puttering in the kitchen, experimenting with a pie recipe, and I’d been lounging on the couch.  The shouting was completely unnecessary, but it told me how angry he was.  I sat up a little straighter.

“What?” I asked. I was confused and I was certain that I couldn’t have heard him right.  But Aaron was already beyond pissed.

“How could you enjoy that?  Killing innocent animals for sport?  It’s cruel.  How did I not know this about you?  I can’t abide this, Lucas.  I can’t.  And there’s no way in hell I’d ever go do that with you—”

“Baby,” I interrupted as soon as he stopped to draw breath.  “What are you talking about?”

He glared, his eyes narrowing.  “Don’t play dumb with me.  A few minutes ago, you suggested we go hunting sometime.”

I chuckled, I couldn’t help it.  “Camping.  Aaron, I said we should go camping sometime.”

“Oh.”  Aaron cocked his head to the side and let that sink in before he deflated completely.  He gave me a sheepish grin.  “Um.  Those two words don’t sound alike.”

“Not so much, no.”  I let out another laugh, and shook my head.

Aaron’s smile grew. “So I totally heard you wrong there.  Sorry.”

“It’s okay,” I said, absolving him from any blame.  I held out my arms, and he came jogging over before throwing himself in my lap and burrowing in. I kissed the side of his head and pulled him in tight.

“Camping, huh?”

I laughed even as I nodded.  “Sure.  You, me, fucking under the stars.  I see no bad there.”

Aaron chuckled, and rolled his eyes.  “Such a romantic.  I can feel the love just pouring off you.”

I wasn’t romantic, and we both knew it.  The living room picnic aside, I couldn’t think of one thing I’d done that could even be misconstrued as romantic. But that didn’t mean I didn’t love him with everything I had.

“I love you, Aaron.” The words were out of my mouth before I could give them a second thought.

Aaron tilted his head back until he could see me.  His gaze roamed my face, taking in my expression and trying to figure me out.  I knew I had surprised him with my sudden seriousness.  I let him look, hoping he could see the truth.  Suddenly, his eyes went soft and he leaned into me, snuggling.

“I love you back,” he said quietly.  He squeezed me tightly.  “Don’t worry, Lucas.  I get you.  I understand your reasons and your needs.  It’s all good.  I’m as in this as I was six months ago, and that’s not going to change.  Not as long as you keep loving me like you do.”

“Never going to stop,” I vowed.

Our relationship wasn’t perfect by any means.  And I still couldn’t show him off in public or go to events with him on my arm.  He might be a secret, but he wasn’t a dirty one, and we both knew it.  We were rock solid, and that wasn’t going to change.  No matter what.

 

Neglectful

Okay, so I’ve never been the greatest at managing my time.  I’ll admit it.  I get distracted by the shiny, and put necessary things off until the last possible second and start kicking myself, hard and repeatedly, for doing it.  Every dang time.  Despite my propensity for procrastination, I’d been getting better about it.  Making time for things that needed doing and the ones that I just wanted to do.  Not great, mind you, but better.  Not as many things were getting left to the last second, and when I started to slide too much in that direction, I was able to pull myself back.

And then everything went freaking nuts at the day job.

Now, my day job is the evil variety and of course I wish I didn’t have to do it.  (I like my people, I’m not a fan of the work itself) If I could walk away from it I would. But I’m not in a position to do that, and so I must toil away.  And lately, that’s been meaning 10-12 hour days while we try to clean up a huge mess from the transition we made.  Right now, things don’t seem to be getting much better but I have faith that they will.  Until then, I’m the one taking care of a bunch of things that no one else can do yet and it’s making for long, stressful days.

As a result, I’ve been neglectful of the writing.  I was going to start Something Like Peace this week, but now I’m not sure that will happen.  I still haven’t finished edits on Something Like Trust.  I haven’t even started Friday’s flash fic.  I’m feeling like a slacker and I’m feeling the missing part of me.  And as much as I want to just dive in and write, it just doesn’t seem possible at this moment in time.

I need to get through this week, get the necessary things accomplished, and then, hopefully, this weekend I can stop being neglectful and start being productive.

Flash Fic Friday

**Okay!  Back to the boys this week…with an Emmy nomination.  I’ll admit, I took a little liberty with this one and didn’t research how nominations were announced, but this made sense to me.  Enjoy some more Aaron and Lucas!**

It was early, but I was glued to my television screen.  Any second now, they would make the announcement  Any moment and I’d see who was nominated for the prime time Emmys.  I had high hopes. I could feel it in my bones.  This was going to be the year, I just knew it.

Suddenly, between one blink and the next, they began.  I only half paid attention as they started announcing, not caring who was nominated in most of the beginning categories.   I only half paid attention as they announced Lead Actor.  I was uncharacteristically antsy, but I was waiting for Supporting Actor and…there it was.  Just like I knew it would be.  I couldn’t contain the grin.  I was so proud I felt like I’d burst.

I got up from the table and all but ran into the bedroom, scaring the cat badly enough that he hissed at me.  I ignored him and pounced on the bed, waking my boyfriend with a sloppy kiss.  He grumbled and tried to turn over, but I wouldn’t let him.  I released a happy laugh and shook him until he opened his eyes.

“Aaron, baby.  You did it!  You got the nomination!”

He blinked.  Smacked his lips.  Closed his eyes again.  “That’s nice.”

I stared at him in shock and gave him another shake.  “Nice?  Aaron!  You’ve been nominated for an Emmy.  Aren’t you excited?”

I could tell by the way he was breathing, how he held his body, that he was no longer even remotely sleepy.  He was just pretending as he turned his face into the pillow and muttered, “Sure am.”

Okay then. I slid to the side until I could lay down next to him, snuggling up and getting really close.  Aaron carefully didn’t not move until I was right in his face, and then he turned his head, laughing a little and muttering about morning breath.  But I didn’t care about that and he knew it.  I pressed up against him and waited for him to release that sigh that let me know he knew I wasn’t going anywhere.  When it came, I smiled and kissed his cheek.

“Talk to me,” I said softly.  “I thought you’d be thrilled.”

“I am,” he responded just as quietly.  He offered me a small smile.  “And nervous.  And scared.  And overwhelmed.  And a bit sad.”

All of those emotions made sense, except for the last one.  Waking him from a dead sleep, especially after the night we’d had, made it more difficult for him to process them too.  I knew that.  So I didn’t worry about everything he was feeling.  He’d have time to work them all out.  But the sadness?  That I needed to deal with right now.

“Why sad?”

Aaron averted his gaze, and his legs twitched.  I waited, staring at him, knowing that it would make him break faster.  After just a minute or two, he cleared his throat and turned his wide gray eyes to mine.  His voice was barely more than a whisper when he admitted, “Because you can’t go with me.”

My heart squeezed tight even as my stomach dropped.  There was a part of me that wanted to give him what he wanted.  To stand up and proclaim our relationship to the entire world.  But I couldn’t do that. Not if I wanted to keep my career on the path it was.  Not yet.  The world was changing, and it was about fucking time, but it wasn’t there yet.  Someday, I knew I’d be able to be out and proud.  But it wasn’t that day yet.  Even as these thoughts ran through my head, I felt a niggle of anger.  Because Aaron had sworn up and down that my staying in the closet wouldn’t be a problem for him.  Before that feeling had a chance to take root, Aaron rolled into my arms and pressed his face against my neck.

“I’m sorry,” he said quickly and full of feeling. “I’m sorry, Lucas.  I didn’t mean that like it sounded. I’d love for you to be there of course, but I don’t blame you for not being able to.”

I cut off his babbling by kissing him hard.  I knew he was sincere, and it was easy to forgive him.  Really, there was nothing to forgive.  Aaron’s body melted against mine and I held him tightly.  Eventually, I pulled back far enough so that I could look into his eyes.

“You deserve this, baby.  And I’m so proud of you.”

He grinned for me then.  “Thank you. You’ll be waiting for me to get home?”

I waggled my eyebrows.  “I’ll be naked and ready to celebrate.  We’ll start a tradition, for every award we win in the future.”

“Sounds like a good deal to me,” Aaron said with a laugh, his entire face just lighting up with glee.  He dropped his forehead until it rested against mine.  “I love you so much.”

“I love you too,” I responded, kissing him again.  I put everything I felt into it, making it a silent vow.  Someday I’d stand next to him on the red carpet, and it would make our wins all the sweeter.  Until that day, this would be enough.

The Change

Okay, so I had the Something Like series all planned out.  You know I did.  It started with a standalone and quickly morphed into a trilogy because of a request that got put into my head.  And then it changed some more as I met a few different characters, and got this whole other idea, so I thought there was going to be five books in total.  And there are, probably.

It’s just not the five that I originally envisioned.

Things got tweaked and changed around early on in the process when books two and three swapped places.  That was, mostly, because of timeline issues.  And then I dropped book four off the roster (to be considered as standalone project in the future), and added a new book five.  And I thought that was it, I was good to go.  I had book three plotted, and then replotted, and books four and five were waiting patiently.

And then every dang thing changed.

An off hand remark by me, telling the Admiral something I’d dreamed, led to a discussion and suggestions, and before I knew it, everything was different.  And I felt a little guilty at first, a little like I was cheating on the plan by making the change.  But with this change comes a refueling of my fire that I didn’t even know was starting to burn out.  I have the passion.  And I’m excited for this book.

The idiom says the third time’s the charm, and I think it is right.  I’ve replotted the third book yet again, and I’m raring to go, ready to write this story.  Though I’m still taking a few more days off before I dive in, I’ll be ready to go when I do.

It’s going to be called Something Like Peace.  It’s Dan’s story.  And I’m betting it’s not what you think it is.

A Flash Fic Pause

It’s been a really long time since I’ve not posted a flash fic on Friday.  43 weeks in fact.   The last time I didn’t post a fic on Friday was September 12, 2014.  The challenges the Admiral issues have given me the motivation to always have something go up on Friday.  The releases I’ve had this year have fueled it further so that I could happily bring you the continuation of my boys’ stories.

And despite having a challenge this week to fulfill, and more of Aaron and Lucas’s story to tell, the reality is that life has severely gotten in the way this week.  Stress and long hours at the day job have taken their toll.  So I’m taking this week off from posting a flash fic.

Tune in next Friday to find out what happens next for Aaron and Lucas.

Something Like Trust

…will hit shelves around the end of August. Yay!

So if you’ve read Something Like Hope and you want to stay in that world, and see who falls in love next, then your chance will come in about six weeks.  And if you haven’t yet, then there’s time to give it a read before the sequel releases.  Now, these books can stand alone, so you don’t have to read one in order to read the other.  But you might want to think about doing it anyway.  The choice is up to you.

Each book takes place after the one that came before, but each book features a different set of MCs, so the story is complete within the confines of the pages.  I’ve just barely begun the third book, and I know there will be two more after that.  It’s all the same world, with the same cast of characters, but new couples every time.  Something Like Trust is Jared and Brandon’s book.

I’m working on the blurb and all that good stuff, so I’ll share when I have it.  In the mean time, rejoice that you don’t have to wait too long between books.  And I’ll endeavor to make it happen again!

Flash Fic Friday

**Aaron and Lucas are still in love, and their life is moving along happily.  But how will Lucas react when he gets an unexpected present?  Enjoy!**

“It’s going to be fine.”

It took work to keep the scowl off my face, but Aaron was focused on the road in front of him so he didn’t notice the effort. “I know.”

“It’s really not a big deal at all,” Aaron continued conversationally like I hadn’t spoken.  He rolled to a stop at the sign, then made sure the way was clear before continuing on.  “It’s just my parents.”

“I know,” I repeated, doing my best to keep the tension out of my voice.  Yes, it was just his parents.  But it was the first time I was meeting them.  I’d talked to his dad a few times on the phone, but never his mother.  I’d sat next to him and stared at him in disbelief as he’d had conversations with her.  Truth was, I was sort of terrified of meeting them.

“They’re going to love you.  Just like I do,” Aaron said softly, sparing me a glance and a smile before he pulled into the driveway of a modest home.  I didn’t get much more than a glimpse before he leaned in and kissed me hard.  When he pulled back, he gave me a grin.  “Ready?”

Not even a little bit.  “Yep.”

When Aaron circled the back of the SUV to retrieve our bags, I did the same and within moments we were climbing the steps to the porch.  Our feet barely hit wood when the door swung open and a petite but lanky woman stepped out, flinging her arms wide.

There was no doubt that this was Aaron’s mother.  It was clear where he got his good looks.  Even though Beth Zeller had to be in her late fifties or early sixties, she looked a good decade younger.  Her eyes were bright, the same color as Aaron’s, and her hair was so light blonde that it almost completely camouflaged the gray.  She was stunning.

A familiar chuckle drew my attention to the doorway.  Errol lounged against the frame, an affectionate smile on his face as he took in the sight of his wife and son.  I couldn’t stop staring at the big man, almost amazed at how much of Aaron I could see in him.  And I thought Aaron looked so much like his mother.  As I swung my gaze back and forth between them, I realized that Aaron was a perfect mix of both his parents, taking on the best parts of them.  Both Errol and Beth were aging well, still incredibly beautiful people, and the thought crossed my mind that Aaron had absolutely nothing to worry about when it came to his looks.

“Mom, Dad, this is Lucas.”  Aaron’s smile was huge as he reached out to take my hand. “Sweetheart, meet my parents.”

“It’s my pleasure,” I said sincerely, pretending the nerves hadn’t made my voice shake.  Instead I reached out to take Beth’s hand in mine.  She let out a giggle, and lifted her free hand to her chest.

“Oh my, Lucas Logan. In my house!  I can hardly believe I have a famous actor in my house.  Oh my goodness, wait till I tell Mar—” She cut herself off with a panicked look, and shook her head fast. “No, of course not.  There’s no telling. I know that.”

“You can say he’s here, Mom,” Aaron said quietly, shooting me a quick glance.  We’d talked about this.  “You just have to say it’s because he’s my friend.  Not the real reason.”

Beth cocked her head to the side.  “Well now, isn’t he your friend?  Your father is my friend.  That’s how these things work, you know.”

Aaron laughed, shaking his head.  “Yes, Mom.  He’s my friend.”  He paused and took a deep breath and looked me in the eye.  “But he’s so much more than that.”

I tried very hard not to blush at the emotion I heard in his words.

Errol chose that moment to interrupt, herd us all into the house, and make his own introductions.  I liked Aaron’s dad a lot, and had even before I spoke with him on the phone. He was a kind, jovial sort of guy, with a quick wit and quicker smile.  And he took command of the situation with an easy air that let me know he’d been managing his wife and son for a long time.

Aaron dropped his bag by the stairs, and I did the same, following the group into the living room.  When Aaron sat on the couch, he pulled me down with him, and I let him tuck himself against my body.  This was his family, and if he left the need to be in my personal space, I wasn’t going to question it.  Truth was, I wasn’t sure if it was all for my benefit.

Aaron was good at keeping the conversational ball rolling, keeping his mother from fixating on anything having to do with me, my career or family, and our love life.  Mostly I let the conversation wash over me, only half paying attention so I could answer when a questions was asked of me.

Eventually, Beth got up to start dinner and Aaron kissed my cheek and went to help her.  My nerves returned full force, being alone with Aaron’s dad. Especially with the way he was looking at me and smiling.

“What?” I asked warily.

“Nothing,” Errol said with a chuckle and a dismissive wave.  “I’m just looking at you. Thinking about how much you love my son.”

“I do love him” I said quietly but with all the passion I felt.  “More than I ever thought possible.”

Errol nodded, and then stood.  “I know that.  It’s there in the way you touch him.  The easy way you’re in each other’s space.  That can’t be faked.  No matter how good an actor you are,” Errol said with a grin, looking over his shoulder at me.  When I smiled back, he turned toward the mantel and picked up a small box.  Then he crossed the room and sat next to me on the couch.

“When I fell in love with Beth,” Errol began, his gaze on the box. “Her father sat me down.  Now the thing you have to know was that Beth’s father was a very stern German man, though surprisingly sentimental underneath.  He told me he came here with nothing but a few Deutsche marks in his pocket and a dream in his heart.  And he fell in love and married a beautiful woman.  And raised five beautiful children.  And he never, not once, took for granted their love.”

Errol paused then, and flipped open the lid of the box.  He tilted it toward me so the silver coin could catch the light.  It was a mark from 1930, polished so it gleamed.  Errol’s gaze was fixed on the coin.

“This was one of those coins he had in his pocket, and he gave it to me that day.  He said he could tell how much I loved his daughter just by watching us and that he wanted me to have this mark as a reminder that some sacrifices are worth it, when you do it for the ones you love.”

Errol’s voice was deep and soothing, and I found myself transfixed by his words.  I was so engrossed in his story that it took me a moment to realize that he was holding the box out for me to take.  My eyes went wide, and I looked at him in surprised even as I took the box.

“It’s yours now, Lucas.  As a reminder.  Because I know you’re going to love my son forever.”  Errol patted my shoulder with a big, warm hand, and then he stood and walked away.  I watched him go.  I couldn’t believe it.  I was humbled and touched by the gift, but even more so by the man’s words.

I don’t know how much time had passed before Aaron sat beside me and wrapped an arm around me.

“You all right?” he asked softly.

I swallowed and nodded, then closed the box and leaned into Aaron so I could put it in my pocket.  Then I turned to him.  I kissed him, softly and sweetly, and when I pulled away we were both smiling.

“Yeah, baby.  I’m just fine.”  Then I stood and pulled him to his feet, tucking him into my arms and holding him close.  I kissed his ear and then said softly, “I love you.  And I’m glad we came.”

Aaron’s smile made everything worth it.