Flash Fic Friday

**I do love the flash fics, and this week’s prompt is a fun one. A love confession. Enjoy!**

This was it. The final moment. Everything the last few weeks had been leading up to. Hell, the last few years. When I agreed to take this job, got this crazy harebrained idea, I knew it was make or break. I’d drawn it out as long as I possibly could, and since Seth was my best friend, and he knew I was working this job in between all the others, he hadn’t minded that it had taken so long. The fact that I was only charging him cost for the supplies helped too.

When Seth bought this house, the backyard had been a hot mess of weeds, gravel, and just a bit of grass. I’d transformed it into an outdoor oasis. Sod now took up the better part of the area and a brick patio with a fire pit led into the space from the back door. But the shining focal point was the koi pond, slightly off center, with it’s bubbling fountain and the creeping phlox, sedge grass, day lilies, and verbena surrounding it. I’d spent the most time on the pond, digging it by hand and getting it just right.

The pond had been my idea. The design had been mine. And it was the reason I was so nervous.

“Holy shit, Clay! This looks fantastic!”

Seth’s voice, the delighted praise in it, warmed my insides but my heart was pounding too. Because he was home earlier than I anticipated, and I wasn’t ready. I’d just finish putting down the last of the mulch, and though I’d cleaned up the yard, I was still covered in dirt and bits of bark.

I almost chickened out. I’d had the whole things planned, exactly how I was going to reveal it, but Seth had blown that out of the water. I could just pretend there wasn’t anything important. Take his praise and his check, and then have a beer on the patio with him. I was sure that’s what he expected to happen.

But he looked so good in his suit, and his eyes sparkled as he took everything in. And I…I needed to man up and do the thing. It was now or never.

“You should see it from above.” My voice shook a little, but that couldn’t be help. “Go upstairs and look down at it from your bedroom window.”

Seth eyed me, but he was excited at the prospect, I could tell. He laughed, and then jogged into the house. I could practically picture him as he climbed the stairs, and with every imaginary step, my heart crawled further up my throat until I could barely breathe. I almost ran, but before I could get my feet to move, his face appeared at the window.

He was grinning as he surveyed his land. And then his eyes went wide. The smile fell off his face. And then he was gone.

Fuck. Fucking fuck. I’d messed everything up.

I had to go, now. Before he got back. But just as I moved, he ran out onto the patio, his eyes still wide, all the color drained from his face.

“It’s a heart.”

“Uh, yes.” Christ, was that my voice? I cleared my throat.

“Clay, the pond is a heart. And all the flowers make it look…it’s a heart.” Seth shifted his gaze to the pond as if he could discern it’s shape on the ground, and then slid back to me. “Something you want to tell me?”

No way I could play it off as just a fun shape, because he knew. I could tell he knew. I took a deep breath. Cleared my throat again. Breathed again.

This was it.

“I love you.”

Seth went utterly and complete stock still. I wanted to laugh it off, pretend it wasn’t real. But I’d been in love with my best friend for years, and it was time I admitted the truth. If that ended things between us, then it did. But I couldn’t go on this way.

“I love you,” I said again, surer this time, voice strong. “And I wanted you to know.”

“Jesus Christ. Clay.”

Double fuck.

And then Seth threw himself at me, and I had no choice but to catch him, dirt stained hands and all.

“I’m gonna get you dirty,” I muttered because he wasn’t saying anything. Just clutching my shoulders, his breathing ragged, jagged little puffs against my skin.

“I thought it was just me.” His voice was breathy, and a little shaky. Was he crying? I tried to pull back to see, but he just clung harder.

“No, baby,” I soothed, no longer caring about the suit. I’d buy him a new one if I had too. How long had I imagined him being in my arms? How long had he been my baby, but I couldn’t say it out loud? Seemed like forever.

“I love you too,” he whispered, then pressed his lips to my neck. Finally, he pulled back, and I saw the happy all over his face. “And that is the single most romantic thing anyone has ever done for me.”

“Just wait till your birthday. Baby, I got plans!”

He laughed, and kissed me, and I fell into it, tasting his mouth and loving the flavor. He was everything I wanted, and now I had him.

Guess my harebrained scheme wasn’t so crazy after all.

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Flash Fic Friday

**Prompt this week is a good one so we both wrote to it! Waking up and deciding to go back to bed. Enjoy!**

I woke and stretched, feeling twinges and aches in all the best placed. a smile came unbidden to my lips. I hadn’t intended to fall into bed with Pedro last night. It never even crossed my mind. Until he looked at me, those dark eyes filled with lust, and when he leaned in and kissed me, I was powerless to resist. I didn’t even want to. Maybe I hadn’t realized that our friendship was growing toward more, but the moment he held me in his arms, I knew there was no place else I’d rather be.

Behind me, Pedro shifted and I froze. The morning after, things could look differently. Pedro wasn’t one for repeats. At least that’s what he’d always told me. But here I was, still warm from his body, still feeling all the things we did last night. And I wanted more. In the cold light of morning, I knew last night wouldn’t be enough. Not for me. And that meant I needed to get up and get out before he woke up. Later we’d go back to just friends, I was sure. But I needed to make my escape while I could if we had any hope of getting back to that.

Slowly, carefully, I slid off the mattress, doing my best not to jostle the sleeping Pedro. He snuffled and turned over, burying his face in the pillow. For a moment, I was transfixed by the slope of his back. The way the sheet had slid down revealing the top of his ass. His brown skin so inviting against the white sheets. I wanted to get back in bed, curl up around him, feel him against me. but I knew better. So instead I turned away, and practically tiptoed around the room to collect my clothing.

I was just reaching for my shirt–how had it ended up on top of the curtain rod?–when he gave a soft snort and his breathing changed. I froze, holding my breath, hoping he’d go back to sleep.

“Dante?”

I nearly moaned at the sound of my name in his sleep roughened voice. I had to take a second to steel my resolve. Then I whispered, “Go back to sleep.”

“Can’t.” He yawned, then smacked his lips. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him sit up. “Where’re you going?”

“Um. I–”

He shook his head, his hair flopping across his eye, and he batted it away. “Don’t.” He sighed, and averted his eyes. “I mean, you don’t have to go. Unless you want to. I’d, uh, I’d rather you didn’t.”

The uncharacteristic hesitancy in his voice gave me pause. I left the shirt where it was, and turned to face him. His dark lashes fanned across his darkened cheeks. Sleep tousled hair and the pillow crease on his cheek somehow added to his appeal. He looked edible. I wanted to devour him.

As I looked closer, he lifted his gaze to mine. And in those fathomable depths, I saw things I never thought I’d see from him. Affection. Concern. Desire. Pedro had the most expressive eyes I’d ever seen. It had been the first thing I noticed about him, and over our friendship, I’d learned that his eyes said all the things his mouth didn’t.

Right then and there, I made the decision not to go. I dropped the clothes, slid between the sheets, and pulled him in. He didn’t hesitate to fold around me. With a contented sigh, I kissed the top of his head.

We’d have to talk but that could happen later. Right now, I needed to hold him close. Feel him breathing in sync with me. I wanted nothing more than to go back to bed. With him.

Updates!

Okay, so what have I been working on?

Well, I got a fantastic idea for a Christmas short story that wouldn’t leave me alone, so I banged out all those words and am in the process of tweaking and editing and fixing now. Deadline for submission is coming up, so I need to get it finished by then and send it in.

Holiday stories are one of my addictions, and I couldn’t let this one pass me by. We’ll see what happens with it when it goes.

I also got the go ahead for the sequel to my paranormal story for the Beyond line. After sending in the first three chapters for critique, I’ve made a bunch of revisions to tighten up the narrative thus far and am now moving forward. I have this one plotted by chapter, a rough guideline to follow so I don’t lose track of where I am, and so I don’t stray too far from what I want. Of course, I’m open to divergences where the muse directs, I always am, but I like knowing where this one is going. I have a deadline that is approaching faster than I would like. Deadlines always seem to do that.

Because of the revisions, I started 800 words down from where I was, which is fine, but that’s why the word meter hasn’t moved that much, even though I’ve made a bunch of progress.

And edits start soon on One in Vermilion, Hearts and Hazelnuts, and the title TBD paranormal.

It’s gonna be a busy summer!

Flash Fic Friday

**This week’s prompt is simple: a teacup that brings back memories. Enjoy!**

Fifty years in a house accumulated a lot of memories. I couldn’t do much of the packing myself, but I still supervised. Walking from room to room, trying to keep out of the movers’ way, making sure everything was packed into the right boxes. Some were going to the children, others to Goodwill. Just the essentials were coming with me. After so long, it was nice to downsize.

“Dad?”

I looked up at my son, who looked so much like his father it was ridiculous. He had Gene’s blue eyes and dark hair, a contrast to my brown eyes and blond hair. Simon had been the first one Gene and I told when we’d finally gotten together, and he’d been the most supportive. His mother had too, come to that, God rest her. My own children had taken longer to come around. But Simon had accepted it from the first, and took great delight in shocking his friends by introducing both his fathers.

“Come look at the china cabinet. Tell me what you want.”

I took his hand and let him lead me into the dining room. The behemoth piece of furniture was going with the rest of the set to an antique shop. Simon didn’t want it, said it wouldn’t fit into his house.

We started going through the things inside. China and special glasses. The beer steins from our trip to Germany. A glass owl from Austria. And there, at the back, a bone china tea cup with gold on the rim. I reached for it with shaking hands, my arthritic fingers not quite able to grip it. Simon helped, pulling it out, making sure I didn’t drop it. I touched the fine handle and tears filled my eyes.

“Your pop got that for me. There was a whole set, but we couldn’t afford it at the time. But he knew how much I loved it. Wanted me to have it. I only drank from it once, you know. He made me tea and I drank it. And then we put it away, so it would never get lost or broken.”

That had been in our early stages, when Gene and I were still sneaking around, terrified of getting caught. He’d already left his wife, mine had died, but still we were afraid. Back then, we could have been killed just because of who we loved. I’d told Gene to leave me, insisted that, unlike me, he found women attractive too. He should go and find another wife. I wanted him to be safe. I didn’t care about myself, but Gene…he could be safe.

“I’ll make sure it’s packed with extreme care, okay? Pop wouldn’t want anything to happen to that.”

The move was necessary, but I still couldn’t quite wrap my brain around it. I nodded, staring at the cup, wanting to hug it to my chest because I couldn’t hug my husband. The pain of that, after nearly thirty years together, was stifling.

“Dad, it’s okay. Pop is going to be fine. But it’s smarter to live in the city, closer to his doctors. He might be seventy-five, but a heart attack isn’t going to slow him down.” Simon grinned, and draped an arm around my shoulders. “He’s not leaving you. Never would.”

“I know.” I took a deep breath, then another, and blinked away the tears. I had to be strong for Gene and for Simon. Soon, I’d have Gene back in my arms.  “You oversee the rest of the packing. I’m going to go see your father.”

Flash Fic Friday

**A storm raged through my area, and so I was given the prompt of a thunderstorm.  I already have the perfect story, recycled from a couple of years ago. Enjoy!**

It was a dark and stormy night.

I didn’t much care for the dark to begin with, and I fucking hated storms.  So despite having seen my thirty-third birthday, I was huddled under the covers like a four-year-old girl.  Every flash of lightning that penetrated my blanket armor made me cringe, and the ensuing boom of thunder happening at practically the same time was enough to make me shudder.  The fear might be irrational, but it was real.

The worst of storm only lasted twenty-seven minutes (I’d been keeping track) and the flashes and horrible crashes started to taper off.  No longer a constant barrage, there were whole seconds between the lightning strike and the rumble of thunder.  The interval drew farther apart, and now there were stretches of thirty or sixty seconds where all I could hear was the pouring rain. I stayed where I was, unable to relax until the storm had well and truly moved on.

The sudden ringing of my phone scared me badly enough that I shrieked.  And then I scrambled out of the safety of my blankets to answer it.

“Hey,” he said as soon as I’d answered.  “You okay?”

I was going to say yes. I was going to lie and play it up like I was fine.  He didn’t need to know how badly I was affected.  I was going to do it, and then another loud crash echoed and I couldn’t suppress the tiny whimper in time. He heard it, like he always did, and I knew lying was futile.

“Nope,” I said, releasing a shaky breath.  “Nope, nope, nope.”

His chuckle was warm, and it did a fair bit to relax me enough though he was laughing at me.  I loved his laugh.  It was the first thing that drew me to him.

“Come let me in,” he said, his voice a deep rumble far better than any thunder.  I was up and moving almost before the words registered.  It took me seconds to run to the door.  I fumbled a little as I tried to get the deadbolt unlocked, and then managed to work it and pull the door open.

He was a bit bedraggled, but none too worse for the wear.  When he saw me, he smiled, his entire face lighting up.  I took an easy breath for the first time in more than an hour, and practically threw myself into his arms the moment he crossed the threshold.  I didn’t care that he was wet, only that his strength wrapped around me and shored me up.

“You shouldn’t have come out in this,” I murmured meaning it.  The thought of him driving in that storm made my stomach twist painfully.  “But I’m so glad you’re here.”

He leaned back, and then pushed my hair back from my face so he could cup my head and tilt it back so he could really look at me.

“You needed me.  Where else was I going to be?”

I sighed, grabbing onto his wrists and locking my gaze on his.  “I love you.”

“I love you too,” he said, and I heard how much he meant it. He bent and kissed me, and then tugged me toward the bedroom.  “I need to get out of these clothes.  And while I’m naked, perhaps we could do something about getting you relaxed and sleepy, and not thinking about the storm at all.”

I followed him quickly, helping to pull off his wet shirt.  I nearly swallowed my tongue as his defined chest emerged.  The sight of him never failed to get my motor running.  I swallowed hard.

“What storm?”

He just grinned and pulled me into the bedroom.