Writing Prompt

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This month's song is "What Are You Waiting For" by Nickelback. Have a listen if you like:

This fic didn't really go where I expected but I went with it. 🙂 It doesn't really go with the theme of the song, I suppose, but that's okay. It was what came from me, and that's what these flash fics are all about.


What are you waiting for?

Maddie Ainswirth stared at her resume on the computer screen as the conversation from the previous evening ran through her head—or at least her mother’s side of it, which admittedly was the majority of the words spoken.

You’re wasting your time and your talent. As a PA for a non-profit? Honestly, Madeline. With your degrees and your skills, you could be making a more than decent living, with a PA of your own, getting the recognition you deserve.

And by you, her mother meant we—we as in the Ainswirths. All of Maddie’s accomplishments, or lack thereof, reflected on the family as a whole. And unlike her siblings—Maddie was falling short. But that was her jam, apparently. She’d been an average student. Hadn’t dated the right boys. Sure, she’d earned two degrees, but what was having degrees in English and marketing when compared to two lawyer brothers and a CFO sister? And one would think she’d have a leg up on the sister who was a stay at home mom, but that was just fine because she’d married up.

Don’t you want to make something of yourself? Make your way to the top, feel the pride in that? I don’t understand how you can be happy, how you can be satisfied filing papers and bringing Leo Carver his coffee. I expected more of you.

That had, of course, been designed to shame and push Maddie to…to…to be more. But it didn’t. Because she was happy where she was. She loved her job, which wasn’t as a PA anymore, not for over a year, even if her mother refused to remember that bit. Maddie worked alongside Leo, running their small office and staff. It definitely wasn’t just filing papers and fetching coffee. Oh, she still did plenty of that, but she did so much more. She was making a difference. And she’d tried to explain that to her mother, but making a difference didn’t mean shit if it didn’t come with an impressive job title, money or public recognition. Preferably all three.

Maddie rubbed at her temple and continued staring at the screen—at her list of qualifications and skills—before clicking over to the email from her mother and staring some more. At the links to more suitable jobs.

“Hey, Mads,” Leo greeted cheerfully. Juggling a bag and drink holder, he used his foot to pull the chair from his desk over to hers. Settling in beside her, he announced, “Food time.”

She glanced at the clock, shaking her head when she saw it was already after five pm. “Hmmm, guessing that means it’s gonna be a long night?”

“Got you a double,” he said apologetically as he placed a tall coffee next to her keyboard.

She inhaled the spicy scents as he opened the takeout bag. ““And Indian food? Wow, you must really feel bad.”

“So so bad.” He held a fork out to her, his green eyes twinkling and his mouth twitching up into a smile. “Big meeting’s tomorrow, and there’s no way I can do this without you, Mads.”

With a smile of her own, she deleted her mom’s email without a second thought, then closed her resume before moving the mouse and keyboard to the side. After taking the offered fork, she also accepted the plastic container she knew would contain her favorite curry. Glancing at him from the corner of her eye, her thougths went back to her mother and the conversation they had, it seemed, every time she saw her.

Would she always be happy here? She didn’t know. Some days, it was hard and grueling. The late nights were killer. But the work they did was worth that. And hell, even the hard days, the late nights were made bearable by not being the only one running for coffee. By Leo bringing her her favorite takeout. By being needed and appreciated for who she was. And that, right there, was something that had been lacking her life until she’d started working here. Working with Leo. He’d seen potential in her, where everyone else her life had only seen flaws and disappointment. He’d encouraged her, helped her shape that potential into something more. Something solid and good.

“Mads?”

“Hmmm?” She blinked and met his gaze.

“Everything okay? You’re a million miles away.” He settled a warm hand on her shoulder, and his thumb grazed the skin on her neck.

And that… Well that was new. The subtle touches, the long looks, the not-quite-uncomfortable but heavy silences that settled around them sometimes. Maddie had no idea where this new thing would go—if it would even go anywhere—but she couldn’t deny the thrill of excitement that coursed through her when she thought about the possibility of more developing between them.

She smiled and shook her head. “All good. I’m right here.”

Leo nodded, grinning in response then shoving a forkful of chicken tikka masala in his mouth. Maddie chuckled and leaned slightly into his touch before digging into her own meal.

What was she waiting for?

Her answer to that wasn’t one that would make her mom happy, that was for sure. She wasn’t trying to make it to the top of anything or looking to increase the size of her portfolio or see her name in the news. She had what she needed and was exactly where she was supposed to be.

Yes, Mom definitely wouldn’t be happy because If Maddie was waiting for anything… she was waiting to see if that more would happen.


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Kris Norris

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For today's Promptly Penned, I once again ventured into the world of my serial.

For those interested, here are links for the other flash fiction peices that are kinda connected/set in that world:

The Lies Begin
Lying in Wait
Lying to Myself
The Lies We Tell
The Choice Lies Before You 
"Little Heaven" (Song Fic) 
Uncertainty
Promptly Penned #9

And the link to the chapters of the serial: Your Lies

This story isn't about the hero or heroine of the serial but a follow up to a couple of flash fiction pieces I did from this world.

Awakening (from Male #1's POV)
"Iowa" (from Male #2's POV)

For this piece, I'm back in Male #1's POV. So here we go... (Actual prompt is in bold)


I watched Maddock walk out of the apartment we shared and silently counted in my head.

1...

2...

3...

4...

"I can't believe he's going out with that Magical Sympathizer. Again." Mark practically spat the words as he flopped onto the sofa next to Kevin, who nodded.

Fuck, he hadn't even made it five seconds. God, I hated him. Hated being here, pretending to be one of them. Hated that I had to sit here with not only a straight face but an agreeable one as they spewed anti-Magical bullshit. All the while my magic skittered beneath my skin, aching to lash out, to take them out before they could do more harm to those like me.

"Chill out," Nick said, strolling in from the kitchen. "He'll lose interest soon enough."

And him... My magic wanted to do so much more to Nick Collins. It wanted to squeeze the life out of him, slowly. Slowly enough he suffered. Just as Molly had suffered, just as the life had been squeezed out of her...by him.

I inhaled deeply and shoved my magic down. Because now was not the time. It would come, soon enough, but I hadn't spent the last years carving out my place in this group to let it all go to waste by acting impulsively. Luckily, Nick wasn't here often, so it wasn't always so difficult to control myself and the power that lived within me. Though, fuck, even without him around, it was getting harder and harder to live like this.

"But he's not focusing," Mark argued. "He's starting to question what we're doing. She's filling his head with ideas that go against everything we've been working toward.  Fucking Magicals and their Sympathizers. Shouldn't even be allowed here."

"Or anywhere," Kevin added vehemently. "Abominations. All of them."

I fought not to sneer at him - or throw him across the room with a flick of my wrist. They were the abominations. The monsters. And they needed to be stopped.

"She's just a piece of ass, playing hard to get. And once she gives it up, he'll move on." Nick sat in the chair across from me. "He'll do what he needs to do. Besides, going home for the long weekend will help set him straight."

"True," Mark said with a laugh. "Daddy and Mama Roberts sure as hell aren't going to put up with their baby boy crossing lines."

I forced myself to chuckle along with them as my stomach clenched painfully and my head throbbed. Again. More and more, I fought against horrible headaches. The result of suppressing my magic and from little to no rest. - I might be able to push my magic down and hide what I was, but I couldn't stop the visions from coming while I slept. In fact, they seemed to come more frequently the longer I muzzled my magic and kept it deep inside. But there was nothing for that. It was necessary. For the greater good. And it was a small price to pay to do what was right. That's all I ever really wanted. That and making my sister's killer pay. I had to accomplish the first before I could see to the second.

The short break from classes would help. The people who thought they were my friends believed I was going home while I'd told my parents I was staying near campus, to swamped with schoolwork to come before the longer break over the holidays. In reality, I was going somewhere I could be myself. Somewhere I didn't have to hide. Somewhere I could loosen the hold on my power and let it free.

The pain in my head ratcheted up a notch at the mere thought of my parents. I loved and hated them in equal measure. They were good parents, for the most part, always good to me and my siblings. But I loathed their weakness. When I looked at them all I saw was a foolish pair who blindly accepted and followed the anti-Magical movement. And all the while, unbeknownst to them, two of their children had the very thing they, with their passivity, helped oppress and persecute. To be honest, the reason I still maintained contact with them was because of my little brother. He showed no signed of being a Magical, but my powers hadn't awakened until I was in high school - the night Molly was murdered. So I would watch Owen and keep him safe.

And there was the fact it solidified my cover as a strong anti-Magical to remain the good son, so I'd keep doing that as long as I needed to. No matter how hard it was.

I focused on the conversation around me, and quickly tuned the hateful words and ranting out again. I bit back a sigh and shifted into more comfortable position. Only three more days of this. Three more days of pretending, of hiding, of doing what needed to be done. Then...then...I could be me. Even if it was only for a short time. It would be enough. I would make it be enough because it couldn't be otherwise. The work I had to do was far too important.


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Jessica De La Rosa | Kris Norris

 

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Time for flash fiction! Here is our photo for March.

And here, for better or worse, is what I've come up with. 🙂 It's just a scribbled little short that may end up being something longer if I ever decide I want to try my hand at a historical. o.O (forgive any anachronisms and the like--as I said this was just something that stuck in my head and I quickly jotted down. 🙂 )


After stepping from the carriage, Ash closed his eyes and stretched his arms overhead as he let the quiet wash over him. The last several weeks had been utter hell. The peace a few days in the small cottage on the edge of his lands would bring him was exactly what he needed.

“Lord Ashton?”

Or it would when he could send the servants who had accompanied him back to the manor. He’d wanted to set off on his own, but had agreed to having an escort to quiet his mother’s nattering. Though he hadn’t agreed to let them stay and soon enough would be sending them on their way. If his mother found fault in that…he would deal with it when he returned. Just as he’d dealt with her daily dissatisfaction every damned day for as long as he could remember.

With a sigh, he turned to the young man who was clearly awaiting instruction. Ash glanced at the driver, Henry, who was caring for the horses then nodded toward the carriage.

“Once you’ve brought in everything, have something to eat—cook packed enough in the basket for the two of you—before you return to the manor.”

“But, my lord, your mother insisted—”

“My mother is a visitor in my home, and her orders mean nothing,” Ash snapped.

“Thomas!” Henry said. “Get to it, boy. Once the horses are rested, we’ll be on our way. Please forgive him, Lord Aston,” he added more quietly. “He doesn’t understand, but he’s learning. He’s a good boy.”

Ash sighed and dragged a hand through his hair. “I know, Henry. Forgive me. I should have more patience.”

The driver, who had been with Ash’s family since they were both boys, grinned. “I understand why you do not, my lord. Perhaps you’ll find some while you’re here.”

“Perhaps I will.”

He clapped Henry on the shoulder then waked toward the cottage. Thomas rushed out and past Ash, eyes trained on the ground in front of him. Ash sighed and made note to be kinder to the young man in the future. It wouldn’t do to have those in his employ fearing him. He wasn’t his bloody father.

Crossing the threshold of the open door, he stopped short, staring at the dark-haired man crouched in front of the large fireplace. Ash schooled his expression and, stepping farther into the room, cleared his throat. When the man twisted slightly, Ash lifted a brow.

“I would have expected,” he said flatly, “having sent you here first thing this morning, that you would have at least gotten a fire started already. Very disappointing, Peter.”

“Ah, but I have.” Peter turned back to his task. “The fire in the kitchen is blazing and currently heating water. I know how cross His Lordship is after a long ride and thought perhaps a bath would be welcome.”

Fighting the smile that threatened, Ash ignored the gasp and wide-eyed stare from Thomas - likely in response to Peter's impertinent tone and words -  and simply pointed where the young man could set the satchels he carried. Ash watched Peter light the fire and coax the flames higher as the rest of the supplies were brought in.

“Lord Ashton,” Thomas said haltingly, even stepping back slightly when Ash turned his gaze upon him. “That’d be all of it, my lord. H-h-henry wants to leave straightaway to get back before nightfall. If…if that’s all right, with you…my lord.”

“Of course,” Ash said, deliberately softening his tone. “Thank you, Thomas.”

The young man bowed and scurried out the door.

“And what did you do to frighten to piss out of that poor boy?”

Ash turned to find Peter on his feet and facing him. “I didn’t do anything,” he protested.

“You were cross, weren’t you?” Peter continued as if Ash hadn’t spoken. “I knew it.”

“Watch yourself,” Ash warned him. “I could send you back with Henry and Thomas.”

“You could…but you won’t.” Peter bent at the waist with a smirk, eyes sparkling and staying on Ash. “Shall I prepare your bath, then…my lord?”

Stomach clenching at the drawled words, Ash nodded, not trusting himself to speak. Not yet, not with the door open and the sounds of Henry and Thomas speaking outside drifting in.

Peter moved, but rather than toward the kitchen, he stepped closer to Ash. Angling his body away from the door, he let his long fingers brush against Ash’s.

“Of course, my lord,” he murmured. “Anything you please, my lord. I live to serve, my lord.”

He continued the soft mocking words as he walked away. Ash remained stoic until Peter disappeared through the doorway to the kitchen at the back of the cottage. Once he was out of sight, Ash’s lips curved, and he realized he felt lighter than he had in ages.

Yes, this had been the right choice, he thought. Here, he would find his peace. Peter would make sure of that. As he always did.

 


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Kris Norris

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Hello! This month's song fic is based on "Glycerine" by Bush. Here is a video if you want to have a listen:

Oh this was a haaaaaard one. LOL But finally something popped into my head and I'm rolling with it. Have no idea if it truly fits the song, but either way, it's what came while I was listening so it counts. 😛 Here we go...


"Don't even think about it."

"Huh?" I didn't even look at my best friend, Lily, as she practically spit the words at me. No, my eyes were on my boyfriend...ex-boyfriend. He wasn't mine anymore. And that was a good thing. Though looking at him across the crowded room, it was hard to remember why. I wanted nothing more than to push my way through the people between us and wrap myself around him.

What can I say? When it came to Josh, I was fucking weak. After the last time we broke it off -yeah, the last in a long line of break-ups; like I said...weak - I had promised not to go back. Hell, coming to this party was supposed to be all about getting over Josh and maybe moving on to someone else - the last thing? Lily and our friend, Tom's idea. I didn't think hooking up while I was still clearly stuck on Josh was a good idea, but they had dragged me along. Obviously, they hadn't expected Josh to show up. I hadn't either. Parties weren't exactly Josh's thing.

"Dammit, Sam." Lily grabbed my arm and spun me around to face her. "Look at you - all freaking gooey eyed the second he walks in the room. You need to remember why he is bad for you. You broke up with him for a reason! Hell, a lot of really good reasons."

"Lil... It's not like he's a bad guy."  I glanced over my shoulder then yelped when her dainty, but amazingly strong fingers grasped my chin and turned my face back toward her.

"I'm not saying he's a bad guy," she said, not so convincingly. "But you two are wrong for each other. Your relationship was codependent, at best. The two of you together...do not make good choices. And the last time," she leaned forward and dropped her voice, "he hit you."

"We were drunk," I protested. "And I hit him, too."

"Yeah, and most of the time you're together, more often than not, you're drunk or you're high. See? Bad fucking choices, Sam." Her eyebrows shot up as she gave me "the look".

I hated that don't-disappoint-me look. I thought by moving away from home, i'd escaped it, but nay, nay, Lily kept it alive and well.

"But you constantly put all the blame on him," I pointed out. "And the problems we had, they're not all on him."

"No, they're not," she agreed. "You're both motherfucking idiots when it comes to each other."

I shook my head. She didn't get it. Even though I was the one who had initiated half our break-ups, I loved him. And I hated being alone, being without him. And it wasn't as if it was all screaming fights and arguments between us. There were a helluva lot of good times too. And I missed those.

"We have been," I said, mostly to get her off my back. "But..."

I looked back again, and my stomach jumped when I saw Josh weaving his way through the crowd toward us.

"No. No buts, Sam," Lily said, loudly enough that, even with the music blaring, people turned to look at us.

"You don't understand," I said, gaze darting between her and Josh.

"Fucking right I don't understand. I don't understand how you can choose to be miserable. How you can choose to be in a relationship that is no good for either of you. Hell, if you love him so damned much, think about him. Being together is not good for him. Do what's right for you and Josh." She spoke right in my ear and quickly, clearly wanting to have her say before he could hear.

"Sam."

And damn...damn, damn, damn. In what world was this fucking fair? How affected I could be by one word, my name, on his freaking lips... I turned and actually sighed like a little girl watching a Disney movie. He was too damned pretty for my own damned good. His full lips curved into the crooked smile I thought about more than I ever wanted to admit to anyone.

"Hey, Josh, what are you doing here?" Lily said bluntly. "You hate parties."

His expression fell. He glanced between us a few times, then his gaze landed on me. "I... Well, I was hoping you'd be here. I wanted to talk, but didn't think you'd answer my calls."

"That should have been a big clue. If he won't answer your calls, why would you think he'd want to see you?"

"Lily!"  I stared at her, stomach sour and heart racing.

"Dammit, Sam." She met my gaze, then lifted her hands and let them drop, slapping against her thighs. "I love you, but you're gonna do whatever the fuck it is you want to do anyway, and I don't have to watch it. Can't bear to watch it.  Just call me when it's time to pick up the pieces...again."

Without giving me a chance to respond, she turned on her heel and strode away. Cheeks hot and hands shaking, I faced Josh.

"Is she right? You don't want to see me?"

I cleared my throat, staring at him, wanting to do the right thing. Only problem was I didn't know what the right thing was when it came to him and me.

"Why would you even want to? A few weeks ago, you couldn't wait to get away from me," I choked out.

"I was stupid, fucked up on the pills and everything. I haven't..." He wet his lips and ducked his head, looking at me from beneath those insanely long lashes. "Haven't touched them since. Haven't had a drink. I even...I even went to the counseling center, saw someone. Been seeing them a couple times a week. Talking though a lot of shit. You know, about my mom and dad and stuff."

I nodded, heart aching for him. If I'd thought my home life sucked when I moved out, it was a fucking cake walk compared to what Josh had gotten away from.

"I just wanted to talk. I get if you don't want to be around me. That's fair. Grant - that's the counselor I've been talking too - said I shouldn't... Well, he didn't think it was a good idea to see you, again. You know, like we were. But I need to at least talk to you. I was a complete ass; I see that now. I'm so sorry, Sam."

"It wasn't just you," I protested. "I"m sorry, too."

"Can we get out of here and go somewhere quiet to talk?" he asked. "Please."

"Yeah, we can talk."

He grinned and grabbed my hand. As we dodged people and made out way to the front door, I promised myself to be strong, this time. We'd talk, put things to rest, maybe? Or maybe with the changes he was making and the help he was getting, he'd be in a better place, and we could make it work. Not now, of course, but in the future. Because I couldn't deny I wanted a future with him. Always did.

Ten minutes later, when my back hit the wall of Josh's dorm room and his lips were on mine, Lily's words sounded in my head - Wrong for each other... Codependent, at best... Bad fucking decisions... - but I shoved them aside. She didn't know. She didn't understand.

"Fuck, Sammy, I missed you," Josh murmured, trailing kisses along my jaw and down my neck. "Hate being without you. Feel so damned numb." His hands flexed on my hips as he pressed closer. "I can feel again, now. With you. Taste so fucking beautiful, babe. Love you so much. God, is it the same for you?" He lifted his head and met my eyes. "Is it just me?"

I cupped his face and pulled him in again then whispered against his lips, "No, me too. God, me too."


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah MullinGwendolyn Cease

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All right, my lovelies, today is a promptly penned post. We all get the same prompt and get to write something from it. This one is hella short. It has been a crazy time here--I'm trying to finish a book, life is kinda exploding chaotic around me, and right now, all I can think about is going to bed.

So, some people will be happy to see there is no sweeping sad, angsty story today. 😉 Nope, it's short, sweet and...one might say, fluffy. So enjoy. 🙂 (The actual prompt is in bold)


Philip lifted his head as the man beside him groaned and stretched. He bit his lip as he took in the long lines of Kev’s nude body. When the bright green eyes lost their sleepiness and focused on Philip, he smiled.

“We were supposed to go a real date, this time,” Kev said hoarsely, and Philip’s smile grew into a grin at the sound. Who would have thought the straight-laced Kev was a screamer? Well…his neighbors sure as hell knew now.

“Mm hmmm,” Philip replied absently, reaching out and dragging his palm down Kev’s chest.

“You promised.” Kev gave an exaggerated pout. “I really wanted to see that movie.”

“It’s not my fault. I couldn’t find the show times.” Philip inched his hand lower, loving the way Kev’s breath caught and his eyes darkened. “That's what happens when you don't have reliable Wi-Fi, sweetheart.”

“Like you don’t have enough data.” Kev scooted closer.

“True…” Philip rolled onto his side and pulled him closer. “Should I check now? I’m sure there’s a late showing.”

Sliding his fingers through Philip’s hair, Kev chuckled. “Nah, realized I don’t want to see it that much, after all.”

Thank fuck, Philip thought as their mouths collided.


Bronwyn Green| Deelylah Mullin

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Hello, all! It's time for another flash fiction. When I looked at this photo, the first thing I thought of was Albion's Circle, my Arthurian-inspired series, and the lives the characters lived in the past. So I went with that--a little piece from the world of Albion's Circle and their first life in Camelot. 🙂

Enjoy!

I walked through the corridors of the castle, heart heavy and vision blurred with tears. Only days before I had been longing to be here, sore and weary from the countless nights of sleeping on the ground and drawing upon my magic more than I ever had before. I just wanted to return home. Return to Camelot. And now, here I was. The battle was won; Mordred had been defeated.

But at what cost?

When this began, when we formed the Circle, we had all agreed Mordred needed to be stopped no matter the cost. And every one of us had known the price would be a hefty one, that we’d have losses.

I knew better than most—often waking up drenched in sweat and physically ill from the visions I’d had. Visions of blood, pain and death. But I had never imagined it would end like this. Nor how cold and empty I would feel when all had come to pass. I pulled the heavy red cloak more tightly around me. I didn’t think I’d ever be warm again.

Now that I was here again, it didn’t feel like home, anymore, and I wanted to be anywhere but here. Thank the Goddess I didn’t have to stay. Once I did my duty and completed the task that had fallen on my shoulders, I could put as much distance between Camelot and me as I could manage.

I squared my shoulders as I approached the throne room. The guards pulled the large doors open, heads bowed respectfully as I strode past. Unlike the last time I’d been here, the room was empty, save the woman who waited. The queen.

My gaze immediately fell on the unoccupied throne beside her, and tears threatened again as the air left my body in a whoosh. Darkness edged my vision, and my magic vibrated along my skin, pushing out, wanting an outlet for the anger and grief welling up.

“Lady Morgana.” Queen Guinevere stood, hands clasped in front of her.

Annoyance flared at the formality of the greeting, considering we were alone, but I pushed it aside as I lowered into a low curtsy.

“Your Majesty,” I murmured.

“You bring news?” she asked, moving down the two steps to stand directly in front of me.

I rose and inhaled deeply, again quelling my irritation. I had no ill feelings toward the queen—my brother’s wife—but I was exhausted and had little patience for foolish questions. I wouldn’t be here if I had no news. I wouldn’t leave the battle if it continued, and she knew that. Or she should.

“I do,” I said tightly. “It’s over. Mordred is dead, his army defeated. Albion is safe.” I closed my eyes, trying to be strong enough to say the next words. “Arth…” My voice cracked. “King Arthur fell in battle, Your Majesty.”

Her gasp echoed in the large chamber and I opened my eyes to see her stumble back, one hand pressed to her stomach, the other covering her mouth.

“We suffered many losses, but we—”

“Lancelot?”

My magic snapped outward and a loud crack exploded behind Guinevere. She spun around, face pale, tearful eyes wide, to see the throne she’d been sitting on when I entered split in two on the stone floor.

I struggled to contain my errant power, too fueled by my emotions. I may not have completely understood my brother’s marriage and the arrangement he had with his wife, but I never considered it my business, and even as upset and grieved as I was, I didn’t want to hurt anyone. Not even the woman who wasn’t adequately reacting to the news of her husband’s—my brother’s—death.

I ignored her fearful and questioning gaze. “Your lover is well and safe. As Arthur’s first knight, he was delayed in returning to your side by his duties.”

“Morgana,” she whispered brokenly.

“Gwaine, Owain and Erek fell,” I continued, reporting the Circle and the loyal knights who had bound themselves to us. “Percival was wounded but is on his feet and aiding Lancelot. Galahad is well but won’t return to Camelot for some time. He is caring for Merlin.”

“Merlin?” she interrupted. “H-how badly is he injured?”

“He’s not injured. Not physically.” I met her eyes. “Anna is dead…by Merlin’s magic.”

“What?” She shook her head. “That’s not possible. He would never harm Anna.”

“I never said it was intentional. He was consumed by Arthur’s death,” I said pointedly. “He had no control of his power and would have destroyed everyone on that field—friend and foe alike. If not for Anna. She took the magical blow.”

Guinevere gaped, tears streaming down her face. “But I don’t understand.”

“You don’t understand what, Your Majesty?”

“Why wouldn’t Merlin—and Galahad—return to Camelot?”

“When he realized what had happened, that his Anna was gone—at his hand, no less—he went mad. It took everything I had magically to bind him, to prevent him from doing the very thing Anna had given her life to prevent.”

“I still don’t understand, Morgana,” she bit out, shaking her head. “Why would you not bring him home? Where he belongs, where he is needed?”

“Is that your worry? That Camelot’s Magical isn’t here to aid you in your rule?” My magic swelled, crackled on the air. My cloak rippled around my body and my hair lifted off my shoulders.

“That isn’t what I meant!” she protested. “I won’t lie and say I’m not concerned about the vulnerability of the kingdom without its king and without the protection of its most powerful Magical, but my concern for Merlin and his wellbeing is greater.”

I believed her, and that fact alone calmed my magic.

“You didn’t see him, Guinevere,” I said, dropping titles and formality. “He lost his king and his love—he lost two parts of his soul. Losing one would have been enough to break him. Losing both… It may be too much for him to bear. I had to bind his magic and put him into a deep sleep. Galahad and I will watch over him and help him through this. Lancelot and Percival know where we are, if you’ve a need to contact us. I prefer not to tell anyone else our whereabouts. Not with Merlin so vulnerable.”

“Not even me?” she asked quietly.

“You’ll be informed if it’s necessary. At this moment, it isn’t.”

She straightened her spine and pulled her shoulders back. “I could order you to tell me. I am still your queen.”

I smiled humorlessly and looked past her, waited until her gaze followed mine to rest on the ruined throne.

She turned back to me and stared at me silently for a moment, then she dropped her eyes. “Are we enemies now, Morgana?”

“No. You are my queen,” I said. “I will follow you as loyally as I did my brother. But you would do well to rule as he did. He never tried to force my hand simply because he sat upon the throne.”

She nodded but kept her gaze on the floor. “I…I shall try to do well, for Arthur, for Camelot.” She cleared her throat and lifted her hand to swipe at the tears skittering down her cheeks. “I’m afraid, Morgana. I never thought I’d be alone in this.

I forced myself to step forward, to see past my own riotous feelings and sympathize with her. The woman who had been given to a king to strengthen alliances, her desire ignored in the arrangement. The woman who had become a strong friend and companion for my brother, even if there wasn’t great romantic love between them. The woman who now bore the full weight and responsibility of the crown.

“You aren’t alone,” I said quietly, placing a hand on her shoulder. I could be for Guinevere what Arthur would want me to be. A source of support, an ally she could rely on. I could…I would do this, in his memory. “You are never alone…sister.”

She brought her hand up to cover mine. “Thank you, Morgana. When I asked about Lancelot…” She swallowed audibly. “I meant no disrespect toward Arthur. I did love him; he was my greatest friend, and I feel his loss keenly.”

“I know. He really was the best of all of us, wasn’t he?” I inhaled deeply and squeezed her shoulder before stepping back and letting my hand drop to my side. “And you needn’t fear for Camelot and Albion. It is protected. You’ve powerful Magicals here with more returning soon.”

The corner of her mouth quirked up. “But they aren’t you, Merlin, and Anna. They’re not the ones I prefer to have at my side. Just as Arthur did.”

“No, they’re not, but they were trained by us and will serve you well.”

She nodded with marked reluctance. “Will you keep me apprised of Merlin’s condition?”

“Of course. I will send word as often as I can. And I should be on my way, now.” I dropped into a curtsy, ready to take my leave. “Be well, Your Majesty.”

“Will you return when we…” Her lips trembled, and she pressed them together a moment before continuing. “Will you return when we lay Arthur to rest?”

“If Merlin is well enough,” I said. “I’ve already said my goodbyes to my brother, but if I’m able, I will be here.”

“I’ll pray for Merlin, for all of you, as you heal,” she said quietly. “And I will hope for the quick arrival of the day comes that Camelot can welcome all of you home.”

I bowed my head slightly before turning and exiting the room, the chilling hollowness I felt earlier returning with a vengeance. I welcomed it, this time. Anything was preferable to the consuming ache of loss and overwhelming helplessness I’ve felt since throwing my magic at Merlin as we stood over the bodies of the two most important people in our lives. As I walked past the columns, I pulled the cloak’s hood over my head and pulled the fabric more tightly around my body, even though I knew it would warm me. How could it when the coldness was coming from inside me?

 


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Kayleigh Jones  | Kris Norris

3 Comments

This month's Song Fic is inspired by "Albatross" by Susan McKeown. Have a listen if you want:

I'm going off the last verse of the song for my fic, which is super super short...

And I told you I would hold you
when my arms were still sore
but it's freezing and the beating of your wings
and I just can't take anymore
I watched the losing in your eyes
and I saw your tear-stained face
like a ghost like a promise

She sat on the edge of the bed, staring straight ahead, refusing to look at me as I packed my bag. Her fingers twisted together, knuckles white, and though the tears had stopped, I could still see the dried tracks they'd left on her pale cheeks. I zipped the bag, cringing at how loud it was and how she flinched at the sound.

Christ. I should have done this when she was at her mom's or sleeping. But I'd told myself that was the coward's way out, and the very least I owed her was to own what I was doing to us. To her.

The last thing I wanted was to cause her any more pain. She'd had her life's share and then some. My leaving? It hurt her, I knew that, but I had no clue how to make it better, because my staying - being here everyday, for the last few months, trapped in this house with its memories and aching emptiness - was hurting her too.

We both needed to be alone to heal. To deal with what we'd lost. That was what I told myself every second, anyway. It was the only way I could walk away from her. Telling myself it was for her as much as for me. And it was. I knew, to her, I was as much a reminder of the tiny life lost as she was to me.

"I'll call," I said quietly, lifting the bag and standing awkwardly, half-wishing she'd look at me but dreading it at the same time.

The moment she did, it was the punch in the gut I'd expected. The pain, the loss, the accusation in her tear-filled blue eyes...

"I'll call," I said again, stepping forward then freezing when she held up a hand.

"Just go."

Her voice, hoarse and ragged, tore at me, and I almost dropped the bag I clutched and went to her. Almost.

"I love you. That..." I swallowed around the massive lump in my throat. "That's as true as it ever was."

The corner of her mouth quirked up the tiniest bit. "I know."

She stared at me, not returning the declaration, though beneath everything else, I could see she still loved me. We loved each other. It just wasn't enough, right now. She nodded toward the door, chest jerking with her hitching breaths. She was trying not to cry... Fuck.

I closed the space between us and dropped a kiss on the top of her head before turning away from her and rushing from the room, from the house, my chest tight and eyes stinging.

Once in the car, I swiped at my eyes as I started the car. I pulled out of the driveway and drove away. The farther I got from the house I got, the lighter I felt, the easier I breathed. And I hated myself for that.

 


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Kris Norris

5 Comments

This month, I'm going to revisit some of my favorite boys - Michael and Aric - sort of. This is a snippet seen through the eyes of Michael's sister, Trina.

If you want to see the other pieces with the boys, here you go:

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

The prompt will be bolded in the story itself. 🙂


"I'm coming, for fuck's sake!" Trina called out, supremely pissed at whoever was banging on her door, interrupting her Criminal Minds marathon. The rest of her words - all cuss words, sure, but that wasn't important - died on her tongue when she yanked the door open and found her brother, Michael, standing on her doorstep in the pouring rain. With a huge shit-eating grin splitting his face.

"Hey, sister," he said, swaying side to side.

She grabbed his arm and yanked him inside, shutting the door behind them. "What the fuck, Mikey?"

He stumbled slightly and laughed brightly. "Oh shit, you were doing Criminal Minds tonight, weren't you? Sorry to interrupt your gawping at Derek Morgan times." Another laugh burst from his lips, and he covered his mouth, eyes wide as he stared at her.

"You're drunk...and you've got glitter..." She gave a vague gesture in his direction, because honestly, the sparkly shit was everywhere, and she'd probably be finding it on her carpet for years to come, now.

"I am, but not too drunk. Just...happy." His words were muffled against his palm as he nodded. He lowered his hand and continued, "It was a good fucking night. Until he got called back into work. And your place is closer to his so I had him drop me here. Figured you loved me enough to let me take your spare room for the night." He batted his lashes playfully. "Pretty please?"

She sighed and stopped herself from asking who "he" was. Michael never shared about the guys he hooked up with. Part of her was grateful - because who wanted to hear about who their little brother banged? - but another part was sad he didn't even try to find someone to be serious about. Then again, it was a Saturday night, and she was in her jammies, watching TV by herself. Who was she to judge on that point?

"Go on." She shooed him toward the spare bedroom. "Shower that shit off yourself, and I'll grab you some dry clothes. Then, it's back to Criminal Minds and Derek Too-Hot-For-His-Own-Good Morgan. You can join or not..."

"I'll join, but you know I'm more of a Spencer Reid man. Rowr."

She snorted as she strode into the laundry room to grab some sweats and a t-shirt from the stash of clothes Michael kept at her place.  When she went to the bedroom, Michael was standing in the middle of the room, bare from the waist up, still swaying slightly, Her eyes widened when she took in the marks on his neck and shoulders and the ones - definitely from rough fingers there - peeking from beneath where his jeans hung low on his hips.

"Fuuuuck, Mikey."  She whistled low and tossed the clothes onto the bed. "Did you send him to work looking like you? Sparkly and marked up?"

He didn't even startle, just looked at her, strangely somber, as his cheeks pinkened. When he didn't say anything, she prodded. Just a little.

"You normally don't go for the club scene." She walked up to him and thumbed some of the glitter from his cheek. "I'm assuming that's where your night started..."

"I normally don't," he agreed. "Neither does Aric, but he needed to let off some steam, and so did I." He sighed and lifted his shoulder in a weak half-shrug. "Dad called."

Fuck. No need to explain, she thought. Their dad had been mostly absent during their childhood, but when he bothered to show up, emotionally and verbally abusive, homophobic asshole didn't begin to cover it.

So she did what she had to do, to spare her brother more pain he didn't need. She sidestepped that particular landmine and grasped onto the other nugget of information he'd given.

"Aric? Are you actually seeing someone? Regularly enough to actually learn his name?"

He narrowed his eyes. "I always learn their names, I'll have you know."

"Mm hmmm." She crossed her arms. "But you never share them with me. So..."

His Adam's apple bobbed as he swallowed. "Been seeing him for about a month. He's...he's..." He looked at her, expression almost panicked. "I love him, Trina. Fuck me, but I love him. Enough to go to a damned club, get all sweaty and glitter-bombed just to see him freaking smile."

"Wow." She took a deep breath then grinned. "Okay, you go shower the stink and sparkle off. I'm going to pull out the wine, and you're going to tell me all about this Aric."

"I mean it, Trina. He's...he's it for me." He scrubbed his hands over his face then met her gaze. "That's the real reason I had him drop me off here. I needed you to know. You two are the most important people in my life."

Chest aching, she closed the distance between them, braved the glitter and kissed his cheeks. Then, grasping his shoulders, she turned him and gave him a push towards the bathroom. "Can't wait to hear about him, so hurry."

Once she heard the shower turn on, Trina went into the kitchen. She couldn't help but laugh as she opened a bottle of white. How does she find out her brother has found someone to love and be with? He showed up at her door, soaking wet, bruised and covered in glitter. So fucking typical...


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Gwendolyn Cease
Kellie St. James | Kris Norris | Paige Prince

7 Comments

Happy New Year! Here's the very first flash fic of 2017. And I give you a whole lot of fluff, my friends. Because, frankly, I just needed a feel-good story, so that's what you get, too. 🙂

“Fucking gorgeous.”

“Mm hmmm.” Remy agreed with Max’s quiet words, though his gaze, unlike his friend’s, wasn’t fixed on the sky. He should be looking upward, taking in the brilliant display above them—the colors, the pulsing lights dancing through the dark night. But, no. Instead, he couldn’t pull his eyes from Max. An all-too-frequent problem Remy’d dealt with lately.

Who the hell was he kidding? This wasn’t a new thing, something that had recently happened. His feelings for his friend—the instant relentless attraction he’d felt when they’d met years before that had grown exponentially every second he was in the other man’s presence—were his cross to bear. And he did so gladly, even when he thought he’d suffocate under the weight of it, sometimes. He’d rather deal with that than the alternative—no Max in his life.

Maybe Remy was a glutton for punishment—he could own that. But he’d take what he could get, even if that meant he had to witness Max dating people who were so wrong for him, had to listen to every post-breakup analysis and comfort him afterward. Telling his friend, again and again, he’d find the right one, while swallowing down what he really wanted to say.

Me! Dammit, I’m the right one. Why can’t you just see that?

But, unwilling to risk their friendship, Remy kept silent.

And, now, instead of oohing and aahing over the most vivid display of Northern lights, he tried not to drool as he took in the intense look on Max’s face as he took photo after photo and nearly vibrated with excitement.

He’d known, when Max had invited him along for a weekend of camping, it’d be difficult to hide his feelings. More so than usual because there was no one else around acting as a buffer. There was no escape, no place to run to when it got to be too much. He couldn’t excuse himself to get another drink or make a mad dash to the bathroom.

So far, though, he’d managed. Mostly because Max was too distracted to notice Remy staring at him like an idiot. And, really, as hard as he tried, he wasn’t being very subtle. Max’s full lips, parted slightly, damp from a thoroughly arousing swipe of his tongue… Remy shifted as his cock twitched. Fuck, that mouth had starred in more of his fantasies that he could count. He was a fucking whore for that mouth. Or he would be if he thought Max would go for it. If it wouldn’t take him from Remy’s life the second things crashed and burned—like every other relationship either of them had been in.

He dragged his eyes away, only to be caught by another frequent flyer in Remy’s spank bank—Max’s ridiculously gorgeous hands. Long elegant fingers that just begged to be sucked on. Heat curled low in Remy’s belly as he imagined doing just that. Drawing them into his mouth, swirling his tongue around each digit, getting them good and dripping so Max could slide them inside…

“Fuck,” he muttered under his breath, angling his body away and tipping his head up to look at the sky. Willing the images to vacate his head and his body to calm down.

“You okay?”

He closed his eyes as Max’s voice—low and gravelly and oh so fucking sexy—washed over him.

“Yeah,” he managed.

Max hummed in response then, after a few quiet moments, spoke again. “Gotta say, I’m surprised you agreed to come out here with me.”

Remy straightened and turned toward his friend, frowning at the flat tone of the words. “What? Why?”

Max lifted one shoulder then lowered the camera. “Just seems like you’ve done everything you can to avoid being around me lately. Or at least avoiding being alone with me. Just wondered…worried that I’d done something to piss you off.”

Remy’s face heated as he watched Max drop into a crouch to pack his camera in its case. His stomach flipped and his heart raced when he saw Max’s hands trembling.

“No,” he said quickly. “You didn’t do anything. I mean, I’m not pissed off about anything.”

Max pushed back to his feet. “But you are avoiding me?” He closed the distance between them before Remy could respond. “Don’t deny it. I’m not stupid, Rem. Something’s not right, and you need to tell me what the hell it is, because…” He shoved his fingers through his already messy brown curls. “Well, at the risk of going full-on chick-flick here, I can’t lose you. And it really feels like I am.”

“Max…”

“Just tell me. I’d rather get hit with something I don’t like, and fix it, than keep going like this—feeling like I’m losing what we have little by little every day.”

Remy swallowed past the lump in his throat as panic gripped him, an icy sickening hold that tightened every second Max stared him down. He didn’t know what to do, what to say. The risk of losing Max had always kept him silent—he’d never dreamed he’d lose him anyway. And that’s what seemed to be happening. Shit.

“Max,” he said again, eyes stinging. “I never meant… It’s not that I… I just…just…” With a huff of frustration, he spun around and stalked a few paces away, annoyed with his inability to form a complete sentence.

Max sighed loudly then the grass crunched beneath his feet as he moved. Remy turned and watched helplessly as he grabbed his camera bag and walked to the tent.

After opening the flap, Max looked back, shoulders slumped in defeat. “I thought you trusted me, that our friendship was stronger than this.” Another sigh and a shake of his head. “Goodnight, Rem.”

He ducked inside, and the sound of the zipper closing the tent—closing Max off from him—made Remy want to throw up. Seconds later, the tent glowed from the lantern inside, and he could see Max’s silhouette as he got ready for bed. Pressing the heels of his hands to his temples, Remy squeezed his eyes shut and inhaled deeply.

This couldn’t be happening.

No.

He dropped his hands and strode toward the tent. Hell if it was going to go down like this. If he was going to lose the most important person in his life, it sure as fuck wasn’t going to be because he sat by quietly and let it happen.

Fumbling slightly, he managed to get the tent open and nearly tripped over his own feet getting inside. He didn’t look at Max as he closed the tent—taking the moment to steel his nerve.

When he straightened and faced his friend, Max stood closer than he expected—silly since it was a small tent and he should have seen that coming. He could feel Max’s warm breath against his cheek as they stared at each other.

Wetting his lips, Remy met Max’s beautiful green eyes—losing himself in them, as he always did. When one of Max’s brows lifted, he spoke. Blurted out the first words that came to mind.

“I like you.”

Even though he would’ve liked to smack himself for being ten times an idiot, Remy pushed on as Max watched him, bewilderment in his wide eyes.

“I’m not avoiding you…being alone with you because of anything bad. I like you. More than than like you, and I didn’t want to fuck up our friendship. Though seems like I did just that anyway.” He pressed his lips together and drew in a deep breath. “I didn’t want to make things awkward, you know? And what could be more awkward than a friend saying they’re in love with you, for fuck’s sake? I’ll do better, okay? I mean, now that you know, you get that I’m not upset or pissed. I’m just dealing with...with how I feel. Just let me get a handle on it, and things will go back to normal and—”

“You love me?”

Unsure how to interpret the quiet, measured tone, Remy nodded and opened his mouth. But before he could speak again, Max stepped closer and dragged a fingertip over Remy’s lower lip—pulling a ragged groan from Remy.

“How long?” he asked.

“Forever?”

Max gave a choked laugh and closed his eyes briefly. He shook his head and met Remy’s gaze, again.

“Why didn’t you say anything?” He shifted his hand and cupped Remy’s cheek.

Remy shook his head, shoving down the hope that flared inside him.

“I asked you out, Rem. Years ago. You laughed…made a fucking joke.” Max’s voice cracked slightly.

He knew exactly the night Max was talking about and, again, shook his head, a bit more forcefully this time.

“You were drunk off your ass,” he protested. “I thought—You were serious?”

“God, yeah. And I wasn’t that drunk. Just needed the liquid courage to ask out my best friend, who was hot as fuck and so far out of my league...”

“Shit,” he whispered. “I never thought…”

“I’ve wanted you for so long. Been in love with you,” Max’s lips quirked, “forever.”

“I’m an idiot.”

Laughing, Max slid his hand into Remy’s hair as he wrapped his other arm around Remy’s waist. He pulled Remy close and whispered against his lips, “Touch me. I need your hands on me. Dying for it.”

Remy dragged his palms up over Max’s chest, stopping to feel the hammering of his friend’s heart.

“Just like that?” He leaned in, a brief press of mouths, still not quite believing this was happening.

Max returned the kiss, slipping his tongue between Remy’s lips. Both men groaned as they tasted each other for the first time. Max tightened his hold and rolled his hips, the hard length of his cock dragging against Remy’s.

“Hardly ‘just like that’. Years,” he ground out. “Years and years. We’re both idiots—could have had this all along. Want it all, everything, with you.”

“Me, too. Fuck,” he moaned as Max ground against him, fingers rough in his hair and on his hip. “God, me, too.”

“Feel so good,” Max murmured, releasing his hold and shoving at Remy’s clothes. “Knew you would, dreamed of this for so long…”

Fumbling, they stripped each other, and finally, finally, they tumbled down onto air mattress. Remy nearly sobbed as Max settled between his thighs, pressed against him hotly, skin to skin. With shaky hands, he framed Max’s face and stared up at him.

“I never actually thought I’d have this. Thought you’d eventually find someone you wanted forever, and I’d just have watch it all play out, always being just the friend, dying inside while trying to be happy for you.”

Max turned to kiss one of Remy’s palms, nuzzling against the sensitive skin. “Oh, Rem. All I’ve ever wanted was you. Just you…my beautiful idiot.”


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Kris Norris | Paige Prince

2 Comments

photoprompt

10-2015 GothCouple

Going to be short and sweet, this month. Still battling jet lag (it's soooooo real, people...*jaw-breaking yawn*) and gearing up for a busy week. So here goes:

Penny winced as she shifted - the movement only making the bone crushing corset all the more uncomfortable. At least the voluminous skirt protected her skin from the rough bark of the fallen tree beneath her. Why had she let Jane talk her into this? Getting into this ridiculous get up, having her face covered in a pound of make up, just to go to a party where she wouldn't know anyone. Which, Jane had said, was exactly the reason why Penny needed to come - to get to know people.

Penny didn't have the heart to tell her sister that she thought it was a waste of time. Everyone one paired off at these things, or huddled together with friends. No one was interested in making new friends. They wanted to drink, dance, and drink some more. Even Jane's friends didn't have an interest in her baby sister who had tagged along.

So, having escaped the chaos inside the house - already loud and rowdy even though the sun hadn't even set yet - Penny sat and pondered how the hell she was going to get home. Though, she shouldn't leave. Jane and her buddies would be in no condition to drive, so Penny would wind up playing sober cab. She sighed and pressed her fingers to her temples. What she wouldn't give to be back at the tiny claustrophobic apartment she shared with his sister, curled up with a good book or marathon watching something on Netflix.

"You look about as thrilled to be here as I do."

Penny jolted and fell backwards, ending up flat on the cold ground, staring up at the sky through the bare branches of the trees. Fuck.

"Oh shit, sorry!"

Large warm hands circled her biceps, and in a blink, she was being hauled to her feet. Her own hands scrambled to get a hold of...well, anything, and she ended up clutching thin meshy fabric covering a wide hard chest.

"Didn't mean to scare ya, Pen."

Narrowing her eyes, she looked up at the face of the guy who'd literally knocked her on her ass, and started laughing.

"Brad... Oh my god. I didn't realize..." She lifted one hand to tug on the blond hair framing his face. "Why?" she gasped between laughs. "That is the most unfortunate wig I've ever seen."

"Blame your sister." He rolled his eyes then grinned down at her. "She outfitted us all."

"And you went along with it?"

"Didn't you?" he shot back.

"Point," she conceded, then, realizing how close she stood, cleared her throat and stepped back.   Her stomach flipped when his hands tightened just a bit on her arms before he released her.

"Want to get out of here?" he said.

"I shouldn't." Penny shrugged. "Jane...and probably the others will need a ride home later."

"So, we'll come back." He grabbed her hand and began to lead her toward where all the cars were parked. "Make sure everyone gets home safely. No point in sitting here bored out of our minds waiting for them to be ready, right? Neither of us want to be here." He glanced at her, lips pursed slightly, as they arrived at his car. "Not that you have to spend the time with me; I could drop you at your place, and come back on my own later. Not my first turn at being the DD."

He opened the door and waited for her to slide in before closing it. Penny stared out the windshield, frowning. When Brad got behind the wheel, she twisted in the seat, grimacing again at the uncomfortable corset pinching her.

Before she could speak, he faced her and smiled - a soft curving of his lips and crinkling of his eyes that stole Penny's breath...even more than torture device she currently wore. And...well...that was new. Not unwelcome, just new.

Of course, she knew he was attractive - she sure as hell wasn't blind and had looked her fill often enough when he'd come over - but the breathlessness, and shit, the pounding heart, and shit, sweaty palms... She swallowed audibly and scrubbed her hands over her thighs.

"So, do you want me to take you home?"

"No...I mean, yes."

His expression dimmed slightly, and clearly forcing a smile, he nodded. "All right.

"No, no, that's not what I meant." Penny took a deep breath and just jumped. Took the chance, because she wanted to see what this new thing was, what it would become. "I want to go home, just so I can change. This," she gestured at herself, "is killing me. Then, we can...do something?"

"Yeah," he said quickly. "For sure."

"And you can get that off." She pointed at the wig.

He laughed as he yanked it off then tossed it into the back seat. His short dark brown hair was slightly matted down, and Penny, without thinking, reached over and ran her fingers through the surprisingly soft strands, mussing it up.

Brad's eyes closed and he inhaled deeply before catching her hand in his. Instead of letting go as she expected, he brought them to his mouth and pressed a kiss against her palm.

"I've been waiting a long time for this, Pen," he murmured.

"Me, too," she whispered. "I just didn't know it."


Bronwyn Green