Flash Fic Friday

**Happy Halloween!  Play safe and enjoy the hell out of it.  And in the meantime, enjoy this fic about former lovers meeting again in a haunted house.**

Every year it was the same thing; cheesy theatrics, unimaginative soundtrack, and lame monsters.  But I couldn’t resist the draw of the haunted house.  It had been a staple of my October since I was a small child, when those kind of things scared the fuck out of me.  I loved being scared, and despite the fact that this place no longer did it for me, it still popped up in the same place every October and I still went with the same giddy anticipation I once had.

This year I was by myself.  It was the first time I hadn’t had a parent, friend, or boyfriend with me. Last year it had been Liam, and it had been my favorite year ever.  We’d gone in squealing and screaming, pretending we were terrified just so we could hang onto each other.  The sex when we finally got back to his place had been off the charts hot. But then only a week later, there’d been the big fight over the accidental tattoo and we’d parted ways.

There was a part of me that still hurt over that.

But a year had gone by and I was determined to put it behind me.  I bought my ticket and stood in line behind a gaggle of teenage girls.  It only took a few minutes for the line to move forward and I was left just outside, listening to the screams, howls, and squeals.  I couldn’t help the smile.  Though Halloween technically wasn’t until the next day, this was what the holiday was all about.

At least for me.

The bored looking teenager managing the door finally motioned me in and I crept over the threshold.  A familiar sense of anticipation warred with just a tiny bit of fear in my gut.  Things were going to be jumping out at me and I knew I would startle.  I just hoped I didn’t laugh.  That had gotten me kicked out two years ago.  Or was it three?

I shook my head.  It didn’t matter. The fun of it was in the getting scared, and I slowly walked down the dimly lit hallway, the fake fog rolling at my feet as creaks, bangs, and howling wind played.  A wisp of cobweb stroke along my arm and made me shiver.  I couldn’t help jerking back from the sensation.  A nervous chuckle as the cobweb clung, and a cold draft skittered up my spine.  I took a deep breath, but I only made it three steps before a low, sinister sounding voice spoke near my ear.

“I knew you’d come.”

My scream was cut off by a hand clapping against my mouth as another grabbed my bicep and yanked. I hand no choice but to stumble sideways through a hidden door, my heart pounding so hard I was sure it would break free from my chest.  I fought off my captor, anger welling up, and whirled to face him.

He pushed back the hood on his grim reaper cloak the moment I turned. Liam.  Looking as edible as ever despite the white and black makeup on his face.  It might have hidden who he was, but I knew those features intimately, had mapped them with fingers, lips, and tongue.  I knew that proud stubborn chin, and that silky black hair that fell to his collar. For a moment, I was swept away in nostalgia, of remembering how it had been between us.

A teenage scream broke me out of my reverie and I scowled even as I leaned against the wall.

“You have an explanation for accosting me in the haunted house?” I asked.  I kept my voice low in deference to what was happening on the other side of the door, but with each passing second my anger grew.

Liam shrugged, and by the tilt of his head, I knew he was blushing even though I couldn’t see it through the makeup.  “You wouldn’t take my calls.  And then you changed your number.  I didn’t want to show up and be all creepy at your apartment. But we never ran into each other and so, when I saw they were hiring for the haunted house, I figured it was my last chance.”

“Because that’s not creepy at all.”  My voice was full of sarcasm.

Liam gave a chuckle, and his expression said I was right. He took a step closer anyway, but I was glad he thought better of reaching out to touch.

“Yeah, well.  I knew you’d eventually show up here.  I thought maybe we could at least talk.”

Despite the makeup, he was still my Liam.  And despite the setting, despite the bangs, clangs, howls, just looking at him, being in the same space as him, relaxed something in me.  The six months before the “incident” had been so good.  I knew then we’d both walked away too quickly.  But was ambushing me in a haunted house the way to start again?

“Cy?” Liam’s voice was tentative, questioning.  Suddenly he sounded young, like the night we’d first kissed, and I couldn’t help the grin.

“I’ll meet you on the other side,” I said softly, and a horrific scream cut the air.  I grinned uncontrollably. “I’ll wait for you to be done for the night.”

“Fuck the job,” he whispered fervently.  He leaned forward to kiss me, and only remembered at the last second that his face was covered in grease paint.  “I only took it so I’d have a chance of seeing you.  I don’t need it.”

He grabbed my hand and started tugging.  But he was going in the opposite direction, away from the haunted out and out through a side door.  I planted my feet.  Liam looked back at me with a question in those deep brown eyes.

I took a step back toward the screaming and howling, and Liam immediately understood what I wanted. He pulled the hood back up, once again obscuring his face, then took my hand and led me back into the hall.

I screamed.  I jumped.  I clung to Liam with my entire body, pressing closer every change I got, whenever something grabbed at me.  I’d been right.  This was what Halloween was all about.

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The Weirdness

Funny thing is, I can get really weird about starting a new story.

First thing that happens is I’m not ready to let my old characters go, and I’m a little bit in mourning so I need to have time to work through that before I move on.  Now, this was lessened a bit while working on the series because I knew these guys already, at least to an extent and I knew the characters that I had just left were at least going to make an appearance so I wasn’t leaving them completely.  But the reverse is true.  Having left the series (for the moment, it’s not done!) the mourning is doubly hard.  Because with the exception of one week where I detoured to write a short story, these guys have been living in my head for a good six or seven months and that’s all I’ve been focused on.  So there’s that going on.

Then there’s also this stage I go through while plotting where I’m convinced it’s a bad story and I shouldn’t write it.  (This also happens at some point while writing the story, usually the 3/4 mark but not always, so it’s something that just happens).  I’m certain no one is going to want to read it, or that if people do read it that they will hate it.  Because it’s a bad plot or I can’t do it justice or any of that other 100 thousand thoughts that slam through my head.  Eventually I get passed all those worries and fears, and write the story.  Because, let’s face, I’m not going to please everybody no matter what I do, so there’s always going to be people that dislike the story.

So after I go through those two stages, I have one more where I’m trying to figure out if these are the guys who want their story told next, and if I can really delve in, get inside their heads, and tell it.  This is usually the shortest stage, and I figure out yes or no really quickly.  If it’s yes, obviously I write the story.  And if it’s no, then I go back to plotting and have a repeat of stage 2.

This whole process can take a couple of days, or a couple of weeks.  Usually not months, but sometimes yes.  This time around, there’s was a little burn out to accompany everything, plus the day job sucking a lot of my energies, so yeah, it’s a mess.

But I’ve finally gotten through stage 3, I have the plot and the boys and I’ve barely broken ground on the new story by I have, in fact, begun.

So that just goes to show the weirdness works for me.

Flash Fic Friday

He was big.  All broad shouldered and long legged and barrel chested.  He was built like a defensive lineman, and the way he powered toward me, his face dark with anger, should have scared me.  I should have screamed or turned and ran in the other direction, weaving through the bodies and counting on my much smaller size to help me get away.  He was murderously, thunderously, angry and I should have been terrified of what he would do to me once he got his hands on me.

I wasn’t.  There was never a time I was afraid of that man, and when he got close enough, I opened my arms to receive him.  Because I knew the truth behind his expression.  He was angry, yes, but not at me.  He was ready to kill the  guy who had hit me.  I was safe.  I was always safe in his arms.

His big hands swept the length of my body, checking for injuries that his gaze could not discern.  I’d have a bruise from the seat belt, as well as other aches and pains I was sure, and though the car was pretty well dented, the air bag hadn’t even deployed.  I was barely hurt.  It wasn’t even worth talking about.

“You’re okay?” he finally asked.

I nodded and snuggled in when he pulled me close, loving the way he immediately put his face down against my neck and inhaled.  Standing on the side of the road where the accident had occurred, I was relieved that he gotten there so quickly.  I’d just gotten the all clear from the EMTs when he showed up.

Suddenly he lifted his head and squinted past my head. “That him?” He motioned with his chin.

I craned my neck to see the police putting the cuffed man in the back of the squad car.  One of the officers had told me earlier that the other driver had been texting, and that alcohol appeared to be involved as well.   At the time, the words hadn’t met much.  I think I was still in shock.  But seeing the man getting arrested, that made things all the more real.  It could have been so much worse.  Fatally worse.

“Take me home,” I breathed, clutching at his shoulders.  I would have climbed him if I could have.  “Please, honey.  I need to be home.”

He nodded, and kissed my temple.  Then he left me shivering on the sidewalk while he went to go talk to the police officer.  I could tell by the way his eyes narrowed and how he pulled himself up to his full height that he didn’t like whatever the man had said, but eventually, he turned and walked back to me.  He wrapped his arms around me with a defiant tilt of his head.  I didn’t care if he was making a statement of some sort. He was warm and he kept me safe.  That was all that mattered.

Eventually, my car was towed and we got to go home.  He helped me shower, made sure I ate some soup, and then he tucked me into bed.  It only took him a few minutes to join me, and I was quick to push into his arm.

“Not ever going to lose you.”  His voice was gruff.  He said it like a vow.

I smiled.  “No,” I agreed.  I yawned.  “I love you.”

“Me too, baby,” he said, rolling to squash me under him because he knew that’s what I needed.  I fell asleep a few minutes later, safe, warm, and loved.

Sometimes

Okay, so.  Sometimes you have to take a day off from work for no other reason than you’re on the verge of going stark raving mad, literally right on the precipice, and if you don’t take that day, then you’ll end up being forcefully shoved off the cliff and go tumbling down into the dark, twisting madness.

Which actually sounds just a little bit appealing to me right now, but I took the day off anyway.

I’m going to use it for a lounging and edits.  And coffee.  And comfy pants.

And maybe, because I’ve finally come to a decision and I’ve got a clean slate (chalkboard!) I just might get to work on a new story.

Because sometimes part of what’s threatening to throw you off the edge is all the writing things that need doing and you not being able to just sit down and do them.

So I’m going to go ahead and accomplish all the things I can before I have to, once again, get back to the grind of the day job.  And grind it truly is. I wish I could explain to you the hellacious experience that work is at that moment.  But there are no words.  And remember, words are kinda my thing.

At any rate, it’s going to be a laid back easy day.  And I’m going to get things with the words accomplished.  And the time will positively fly, and before I know it, it’ll be over.  But I’m not going to focus on that.

Because sometimes you just gotta take each moment as it is, and not look to the future by even a minute.

So The Thing Is…

Sometimes I do my best thinking in the shower, which only sucks because I can’t write it down.  This past weekend, I had one of those showers and got one of those ideas.  It’s yet another incarnation of an idea that’s been in my brain, and maybe this time, it’ll work.

See, I’ve discarded this idea a couple of times now over the last couple of months.  I have various reasons for ignoring this story, for not wanting to write it, for just shuffling it off onto the shelf and giving it a pass.  All of them are valid.  But the thing is, it just won’t leave me alone and I keep coming back to it even when I’ve decided to give it up.

With all the reasons not to write it, I really feel like I should just let it go and move on to the next thing.  I’ve checked off a bunch on the writing list so far, and I’m looking forward to a couple of the upcoming projects that I have on my agenda.  This wasn’t actually on the original list (another reason to let it go) and I want to write the things that are pretty badly.

But it just keeps riding me, sneaking in when I’m not expecting it, and I keep giving it brain time.  So I’m at that indecisive stage where I just need to either dive in and write it, or really shelve it.  I want to write it and I don’t at the same time.  Until I can really figure out it, things are on hold, because if I’m going to write it, it needs to be next.  And everything else will have to shuffle down one spot.

I need to make a decision about what story I want to tell next and I need to do it soon.

Flash Fic Friday

**A quick word from Aaron and Lucas…**

“There’s something going on with your friend.”

I looked up from my phone, where a game I’d never admit to liking had my complete attention, and into Aaron’s beautiful gray eyes.  I didn’t often admit it out loud, but I loved looking at him.  He was just gorgeous, and everything about him just worked for me.  He didn’t even have to try to capture my attention and hold it.

“Lucas,” he chastised, a scowl creasing his features. “Are you listening to me?”

“Of course I am.” I said, even though I hadn’t been.  I tossed the phone onto the end table and spread out.  I was trying for enticing, hoping he’d forgive me for my distraction while at the same time taking me up on the offer I was presenting.  When he just continued to stare, I sighed and settled back against the arm of the couch.  “Which friend?”

“Dan,” Aaron said like it was just so obvious.  He sat with a huff on the end of the couch farthest from me.  But when I dropped one leg over the edge, Aaron immediately crawled between my thighs and leaned against my chest.  I wrapped him up tightly and kissed his temple. He was agitated, and I didn’t know why.

“There’s nothing wrong with Dan,” I assured him soothingly.  “He’s exactly the same as he’s always been.”

Aaron did the slow pan to look at me like I was crazy.

I grunted.  “What?”

“Some best friend you are,” he muttered, the scowl once again marring his features.

“You’re my best friend.”

He rolled his eyes, but at least I finally got a grin out of him. “Don’t be cute. You know what I mean.  I’m worried about Dan.”

Truth was I had noticed that Dan was acting differently the past few months.  It wasn’t anything big, and nothing that the casual observer would notice.  But I knew he’d been putting in some heavy thinking, because he always had a little V between his brows when he wasn’t in front of the camera.  He’d been keeping to himself more than was customary.  He usually invited us over to his little house for dinner at least once a week.  I actually had to put some thought into remembering when the last time we’d gone had been.

But Dan hadn’t shared whatever he was going through.  And if he hadn’t talked to me about things, then I knew he wasn’t ready to talk to anyone.  He needed time to work things out in his own mind, to get it right in his head, before he had any sort of conversations or made any declarations.

Given the direction of some of his lingering stares, I thought I might know what was going on in his thick skull.  But I wasn’t going to be presumptuous enough to guess.

“He’ll talk to us when he’s ready,” I told Aaron, pulling the man in tighter.  My man had a huge heart, and he was sensitive to others when they were in need.  I knew he and Dan had a great rapport, even if they were still working on becoming close.  Dan welcomed him in a way that I never had.  It was why Dan got the first kiss instead of me, albeit in front of the camera.

Aaron released a sigh and settled down, relaxing against me.  He was always so warm, and I relished it.

“I know,” he said softly.  “I just worry.”

“There’s nothing we can do about it until he’s ready to talk,” I said practically.  “But in the meantime, you can totally suck my cock.”

Aaron burst out laughing at the non sequitur, just like I’d wanted.  I couldn’t help but grinning in response.  He was just so dang pretty, and I loved seeing him so happy. My breath caught when he wiggled out of my embrace and landed on his knees on the floor, his hands immediately going to the button and zipper on my jeans.

“I love you,” he murmured, reaching in to stroke me.

I held back the moan long enough to say, “Love you back,” and then I was spreading my legs so he had more room to work. All thoughts of Dan, and everything else, fled in favor of my boyfriend’s warm, wet mouth.

**Are you curious to find out what’s going on with Dan? You’re in luck!  Coming December 13th from Amber Allure, Something Like Peace!**

Then and Now

About a year ago, I sat down to write Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love. Even just that short time ago, I was a complete and total pantser.  I had a vague idea in my head, the injury and Ben flying across the country, and I just started writing it willy nilly and hoping it all came out in the end.  Fortunately it did, I finished by the deadline and was able to submit it and it was accepted.

But what a difference a year makes.

Now I’m a combination writer, have been all year long, and it’s made such a huge difference for me.  If it was a year ago, I would have started writing this new story, gotten a good four or five thousand words in, and had to scrap it because it just didn’t work.  Now though, even though I have begun plotting, I could see that it wasn’t going to work. It nice stuff, good stuff even, but the structure is not going to work, and it would turn into something….not good.  So!  Now I know I’m not going to do it that way, and I’ve tucked those notes out of the way, and made a few keyword entries on the chalkboard to work them in if I can.  Right now, they’re backstory, which is not a bad thing at all, so these scenes may never see the light of day.  That’s okay too.

At least I know my characters.

At any rate, it’s back to the starting over point.  My boys are vivid and real, and together we’ll sort out their story as it’s meant to be told. Eventually.  And at least I know what doesn’t work.  That’s how I’ll find what does.