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Time for another flash fic. 🙂

I'm currently sitting on Bronwyn's couch, after a fantastic weekend with her and Jenny Trout (and so many awesome authors!) at the Rust City Book Con. We had so much fun, and I had a blast hanging with friends - old and new. I've a couple more days here at Bron's then it's back home. It's been a great visit and a wonderful break. A much-needed one. 🙂

Okay, so flash fic...I'm tying this one to a previous flash fic ("Let's Get Out of Here") because...well, that's what I did. I know, brilliant, right? But this can be read on it's own, if you like. 🙂

This is pure, unapologetic fluff, because that's what I needed tonight. And I figure I don't do it enough. LOL

"Uncertainty"

With a sigh, Penny glanced up from where she’d been tracing patterns in the sand. Her sister and her friends closer to the water’s edge, taking what they thought were artsy photos of each other. They looked and sounded like they were having a good time—and Penny supposed that was what mattered, but she really didn’t want to be here. But she’d given in to Jane… She was actually getting better at not doing that—not always easy because old habits and all—but her big sister had made such a big fuss about Penny not doing anything with their friends for a while, and she’d felt obligated. Though honestly, calling them “their friends’ was a major stretch. They were Jane’s friends. They tolerated Penny tagging along because Jane was just the kind of friend you did that for.

“Come on, Pen.”

Startling as her sister dropped onto the sun-bleached log beside her, Penny shook her head. “What?”

“This was supposed to be fun,” Jane said pointedly.

“Looks like it is.” Penny nodded toward the other girls.

“Hey.” Jane bumped shoulders with her. “Are you okay? You’ve been moping around, not wanting to do anything… Not since the party you skipped out of early a couple weeks ago.”

“Nothing’s going on,” Penny said quickly. Too quickly, damn it.

It wasn’t as if anything was wrong. Not exactly. She was just figuring shit out in her head. And until she had it figured, she wasn’t sharing. Definitely not telling her sister she’d suddenly developed feelings for one of her friends, and he apparently had feelings for her too—they’d ditched that party together and had spent the night just talking and laughing. Getting to know each other better. They hadn’t really done anything beyond that, though he’d given her a sweet kiss and long hug when he’d dropped her off, along with the promise of a "real date" soon.

Then, the two days later, Brad had gotten a call that his dad was in the hospital after having a stroke, and he’d headed back home immediately. Penny felt enormous guilt that, since then, she’d been wallowing in the uncertainty of what was between them while he was dealing with something so serious. But she couldn’t help it. She wondered if what had started between them was real. Did he still feel something or had he just been satisfying some curiosity? Maybe now he realized this wasn't, as he'd said, what he'd been waiting a long time for.

He’d texted her a couple times, but he’d been so wrapped up with visiting his dad—who, thankfully was going to be okay but would have a long recovery ahead of him—and helping his family that that even those messages were few and far between.

She wondered if the situation he now found himself in meant he wasn’t going to return at all. Maybe he’d transfer to a college closer to home. Didn’t that just figure? She’d found something with a funny, sweet, and hot guy, when she’d least expected it, and it was going to be yanked away before it had really even begun. Penny grimaced and looked out over the rolling waves. She was the fucking worst. Selfish, selfish Penny.

She jolted, startled again, as Jane wrapped an arm around her. “I really thought you’d have a good time with us today.”

Slightly bewildered by the teasing tone, Penny lifted a shoulder in a half shrug. “Just go; have fun. I’m fine. Though, it’s too damned cold to be frolicking on the beach, you crazy person.”

With that, she pulled her phone from her pocket, to do her hourly check for any missed texts—she cursed herself every inch the fool—finding nothing. Again.

“Hmmm.” Jane’s arm tightened a moment, an affectionate squeeze. “I think maybe things are going to get better now.”

“Really?” Penny asked absently. “How do you figure?”

“David and the others just showed up.”

“Oh joy.” She rolled her eyes. Just what she needed, everyone paired off with their boyfriends so she could feel even more alone. “And how would that possibly make a diff—” Her words dried up on her tongue—along with every ounce of spit—as she looked over at where David’s car was parked behind Jane’s. Her gaze immediately locked on to the tallest of the group making their way down the beach toward them, and her heart began to hammer wildly.

“Because Brad’s back,” Jane whispered.

Penny whipped around to face her sister. “Why… How… Jane.”

Her sister smiled, pulled her in for a tight hug then pressed a quick kiss to her forehead before standing. “Wasn’t too difficult to figure out. Even if you don’t talk or share…” She sighed. “I know you, Pen.”

Swallowing around the sudden lump in her throat, not even sure what she was feeling exactly, she stared up at Jane.

“He’s a great guy,” she said, so quietly Penny could hardly hear her over the laughter of the approaching guys. “And you’re amazing…you’d be really good together and really good for each other.”

Penny opened her mouth to respond, but just then, David jumped in front of her and grabbed Jane round the waist in a huge hug.

“We’ve brought food and beer, as ordered,” he said cheekily.

Unable to stop herself from laughing at her sister’s boyfriend, Penny shook her head. A hand suddenly appeared in her line of vision, and she tilted her head back to look into dark blue eyes, which were crinkling as Brad smiled down at her.

Breathless and a big shaky—God, she hoped he didn’t notice—Penny grasped his hand and let him pull her to her feet.

“Hey, Pen,” he murmured.

“Hey.”

He stared at her a long, long moment then lifted their hands so he could press his lips to her palm—just like he’d done the night of the party before they’d taken off.

Overwhelmed, she brought her other hand up and, without thinking of everyone around them, ran her fingers through his short hair. “Missed you.”

His mouth broke into a wide grin, and he drew her closer. As he folded her into his arms, she glanced over and found Jane watching them. When she met Penny’s gaze, her sister just smiled brightly before turning and walking away with David.

Penny closed her eyes and rested her head on Brad’s shoulder as she let his warmth seep into her body. The uncertainty still swam beneath the surface, but it wasn’t as sharp as before.

He skimmed his palm over her hair, and his breath tickled her ear as he spoke. “Missed you too. Fuck,” he kissed then nuzzled against her cheek, “how I missed you.”

“But you’re here now,” she said, then leaned back to meet his eyes. “Right? Or do you need to go back? Is your dad okay? He’s home, now? Do you need—”

He laid a finger on her lips, chuckling. “Slow down. I’m back. For good. Dad’s home now, and I may go and visit more often than I did before, but just for visiting.”

“I’m being stupid, I know,” she said quickly. “I mean, we just hung out once, as maybe more than just friends. It’s not like we’re togeth…like we’re—”

“Oh, but we are,” he drawled, halting her babbling. “Penny…we so fucking are.”

Her chest ached slightly, and her lips tipped up in answer to his beaming smile.

“Thank god.” She threw her arms around him and brought their mouths together roughly.

The rumbling chuckle and his answering enthusiasm as they fell headlong into the kiss erased any embarrassment Penny felt, and she let herself just be. Be with Brad, in his arms—filled with the odd mixture of excitment, happiness, and contentment.


Bronwyn Green | Siohban Muir

5 Comments

Though they're numbered, they aren't really in a particular order...

10 - Trustworthy - I write romances, so this is a big one. If the hero and heroine can't trust each other, there's a big problem. I try to write characters who are there for each other, there for their families and friends, who are someone who can be counted on, no matter what.

9 - Artistic - I love to write artists... Don't really know why. Maybe it's because I don't have an artistic bone in my body, although I certainly wish I did. It is certainly a trait I admire - in what I write, in what I read, and in real life.

8 - Confident - Oh, confidence is sexy. Not saying the character doesn't have moments of insecurity. They most certainly do, but whether it's something that develops as the character grows, or it's confidences in a specific aspect of their life or with themselves, I find that very, very appealing.

7 - Honest - I don't like liars, so I certainly don't like writing them. Also, I like writing characters who are honest with themselves...even if it takes them a while to get there.

6 - Persistent - I don't want to write people who give up easily. I want them to fight for what they want and need. So much more satisfying that way. 🙂

5 - Creative - Not the same as artistic. It could be creative in how they show they love someone, how they solve a problem, how they talk to their lover, how they are in bed...

4 - Sensual - Kind of a must for erotic romance. 😉 But I really like to write characters who explore that side of themselves.

3 - Humorous - I LOVE a sense of humor. I try to write characters who have one. LOL Who like to have fun and laugh.

2 - Empathetic - Being able to understand and express emotion is a big character trait I love to write. Even the struggle to be empathetic is awesome to explore on the page.

1 - Strong - I don't necessarily mean physically strong here. For example, there's nothing wrong with heroine who kicks ass and takes name, but a heroine who isn't that, but stands up for who she is and what she believes, and loves passionately and goes after what she wants...she is no less strong, IMO. I definitely tend to focus more on the emotional/internal strength than physical, I think.

BONUS - Emotionally Broken - I don't know a better way to phrase this, but it has been brought to my attention frequently (LOL) that I "break" my characters. Now, I love me some angst and pain, I will admit that. But books that have that in abundance are, for me, the most satisfying to write. To take a character through a trauma and have them at their lowest (or close to) and then write their rise from that, the re-building of themselves....OMG...it's the best. 🙂


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Gwendolyn Cease | Kris Norris

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I didn't make all my goals for the month. I don't even have to look at them to know that. So, I'm just gonna check in and talk about what I did accomplish this month.

I wnt camping twice with the family. The prep sucks, and there were some not great moments...but that doesn't matter. I had some absolutely wonderful time with my husband, my kids...even my daughter's boyfriend came along and it was pretty nice to get to know him better and see how he fit in with the whole fam...and he really really did. 🙂

I have my house back in some kind of order. It's certainly not perfect, and it's not where I want it to be, but it's closer. And after all of the hbby's traveling, being sick while he was overseas for a month and just trying to get through each day, I was floudering and the house more than suffered because of it. And I have a very difficult time working - particularly writing - when everything is a mess around me. It's like: surrounded by chaos=chaotic mind. But I have gotten things back on track, and I've been much more productive as a result. So yay!

I've written. Not every day as I want to, but more than I did last month or the month before. I'm making progress and that's what matters - and I repeat that to myself on the regular.

I've successfully gotten things ready and packed for my family reunion this weekend, my time at Bron's next week, and the overseas trip my daughter is taking for several weeks. Granted, the daughter is amazingly organized and did most of the prep herself, but there were still many things I (and/or hubby) had to do as well. Those are all done, and everyone is set. So that is a win, in my book.

So while I didn't hit everything I wanted to this month, I managed to do a lot and to do more than i've been doing, which is a huge mental and emotional boost for me.

So, looking forward to August, my goals are

  • All August blog posts.
  • Write daily.
  • Kick word count ass the week I'm at Bron's house.
  • Keep up on house and self-care stuff.

Bronwyn Green

5 Comments

Well, a lot's on my mind, right now. Forgive me if this post is a bit...all over the place. It will be truly representative of my brain. LOL

Life is a bit crazy - the hubby is overseas for work (again), but HAPPY HAPPY, he'll be home tomorrow, a day earlier than expected. And yeah, that day is a BIG deal.

We are heading to a family reunion over the coming week. I'm very much looking forward to that - seeing family I don't get to see very often and having some down time with the hubby and kiddos.

My youngest daughter is preparing for a trip overseas. Very exciting, but a bit nerve-wracking getting everything ready and making sure she has what she needs. But I'm excited for her and know she'll have a wonderful adventure and I can't wait to hear all about it.

After the reunion, I'm getting a bit of a break, as well. A working break, as I'll be writing, but a break all the same. One of my besties (and fellow Wed blogger) Bronwyn is picking me up from the reunion, and I'm invading her house for a little over a week. And while I'm there, towards the end of my visit, we'll be attending Rust City Book Con. It's going to be an amazingly fun time - and I get to hang with Bron and Jenny Trout - no way a good time will not be had. 🙂

Finding the balance of writing and...well, everything else is still an ongoing battle. I'm trying not to get all up in my head about it, because that never leds to anything productive. I need to focus on making time to write. Luckily, I will get that when I'm at Bron's house. Whenever I visit, I end up getting a ton written, so I'm fully expecting it to be the same this time.

There are other, not so great, things rambling through this mind of mine, but those are things I'm not giving voice to - because they don't deserve it. LOL Honestly, those things can just...

Because I'm focusing on the positive...at doing my damnedest to. 🙂

Make sure to check out the other brain dumps posted today.


Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn CeaseKellie St. James

1 Comment

Today Musical Musings topic is: IF YOU COULD DEFINE YOURSELF WITH A SONG, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

Okay, seriously, this was hard. I've been pondering this for a while, knowing this was coming, and I'm still having a hard time summing up me in a song. But...I'm gonna share a song anyway. Not the perfect "Jess" song (still on the hunt for that!), but it's close.

I've chosen Matchbox 20's "Bent". Here are the lyrics:

If I fall along the way
Pick me up and dust me off
And if I get too tired to make it
Be my breath so I can walk

If I need some other love, then
Give me more than I can stand
And when my smile gets old and faded
Wait around I'll smile again

Shouldn't be so complicated
Just hold me and then
Oh, just hold me again

Can you help me I'm bent
I'm so scared that I'll never
Get put back together
Keep breaking me in
And this is how we will end
With you and me bent

If I couldn't sleep, could you sleep?
Could you paint me better off?
Could you sympathize with my needs?
I know you think I need a lot

I started out clean but I'm jaded
Just phoning it in
Oh, just breaking the skin

Can you help me I'm bent
I'm so scared that I'll never
Get put back together
Keep breaking me in
And this is how we will end
With you and me bent

Start bending me, it's never enough
As I feel all your pieces
Start bending me, keep bending me
Oh, until I'm completely broken in

Shouldn't be so complicated
Just touch me and then
Oh, just touch me again

Can you help me I'm bent
I'm so scared that I'll never
Get put back together
Keep breaking me in
And this is how we will end
With you and me will let them
Without understanding
Here I go there again

Can you help me I'm bent
I'm so scared that I'll never
Get put back together
Yeah, you're breaking me in
And this is how we will end
With you and me bent

Why this one? Not having a pity party here, promise. But this definiely sums up how I've felt at many points in my life. Bent, broken, and pretty sure I was alone. But I wasn't. I had people touching my life, holding me up, helping me put myself back together. Just needed to remember that, and I'm sure there will be times in the future I'll need that reminder again.


Bronwyn Green

3 Comments

It's time for another promptly penned - we all start with the same prompt and see what we come up with. This is part of an idea I have floating around in my head... The actual prompt is in bold within the fic. 🙂


“Ma’am, you can’t go down there.”

Cecilia froze at the loud announcement. Then, mortification washed hotly over her body as she realized her leg was still hiked up in the air. Like a damned dog about to take a piss on a hydrant. And wasn’t this just the fucking cherry on this perfect shit sundae of a night?

Lowering her foot back to the ground, she took a deep breath and tried to reclaim even a fraction of dignity. Coming up woefully short—and getting to the point she really didn’t even care anymore—she turned.

“The floor down that aisle has just been washed and waxed. You can’t go down there.” The store employee rolled his eyes then, with a sneer, added, “That’s why there’s tape there...ma’am.”

Fisting her hands, Cecilia focused on the bit of her nails in her palms and counted to ten. She didn’t need this. She just wanted this night to be done. She’d escaped dinner her parents, their meddling, the ambush of her cheating ex…

“Look,” she said, trying to keep the sharpness out of her voice, “I only need to grab one thing and—”

Ma’am.” Well, he certainly wasn’t trying to keep anything out of his voice. “You cannot go down there.”

“I just—”

“It’s a liability issue,” he continued, talking right over her. “We can’t risk a customer injuring themselves, which is why we have the tape up. Please move along, ma’am.”

Annoyance flared, and Cecilia took a deep breath, and even as she opened her mouth to speak, she knew she was going to regret this come tomorrow. Hell, come ten minutes from now, but she was simply out of fucks to give.

“All right.” She bit out each word, glaring at the pimply-faced, condescending child lecturing her. “Then, why don’t you hop on over and grab me a package of toilet paper, so I can ‘move along’?”

“I can’t do that, ma’am.” He folded his hands in front of him.

“You can’t do that?” she repeated. “All right. Can you tell me where else in this store stocks toilet paper? You are a twenty-four-hour store, aren’t you?” she said quickly before he could answer. “I should be able to come in here, at any point during the twenty-four freaking hours of the day, and be able to get what I need, right? That’s the point of this place, isn’t it? If a customer can't even count on being able to—”

Her throat tightened suddenly, cutting off her tirade, and her vision blurred. Well, this was it. She’d hit Rock Bottom. Yelling at a kid about toilet paper in the middle of the grocery store… Yeah, Rock fucking Bottom.

“There’s no need to raise your voice,” the employee hissed. “I’m s—”

“Whatever.” Cecilia shook her head frantically and, fighting the emotions choking her, spun on her heel.

Get out, get out, just get out, was all that ran through her mind as she rushed from the store and hurried across the lot to her car. Breath hitching painfully, hands shaking, she pulled her keys from her purse…and promptly dropped them.

“Fuck.” She twisted and, back against the car, slid down until she landed on her ass. “Get a hold of yourself,” she muttered.

So, it had been a shitty day. People had shitty days and didn’t freak out at innocent—albeit annoying—grocery store employees over stupid things. She swallowed thickly. Okay, it was more than just a shitty day. It’d been a series of shitty days…weeks…hell, months. And every time she thought she had a handle on things, that she was making some sort of progress and getting back on track, something or someone came along and knocked her for a loop.

Tonight was just another one of those times. She hadn’t expected Nick to show up at her parents’ house. She sure as hell hadn’t expected to learn they had invited him. Or to have them plead his case for reconciliation.

She pressed the heels of her hands to her eyes. They’d backed her lying, cheating asshole of an ex-husband. Accused her of being selfish and unreasonable. How did she deal with that? Where did she even start? By freaking out in public, apparently. She laughed—a strangled, desperate sound that quickly morphed into a sob she tried desperately to pull back inside.

“Oh, hey, now.”

Cecilia startled at the deep voice and, dropping her hands, found herself staring into the clearest blue eyes she’d ever seen. Eyes that seemed even bluer for the smudged black lining them. She couldn’t move, couldn’t make her mouth form words as she took in the man crouching in front of her—his shaggy black hair, pierced ears…and lip...his dark shirt with the sleeves rolled up to expose lean forearms, his long almost elegant fingers and the simple silver rings adorning them, his tight black jeans…

“That bastard certainly isn’t worth your tears, caridad,” he continued, voice low and soothing, a hint of an accent she couldn’t quite place. Not British…not exactly. He tilted his head to the side, his full lower lip caught between straight white teeth, and studied her a moment.

“Though, I’m guessing this,” he gestured from her head downward, “isn’t simply because of some loo rolls or a bratty kid with his head up his arse.”

When she continued staring, silently, he sighed. “Well, I can help with one of your problems tonight.” He held up a package of toilet paper and grinned. “Jumped his blasted tape when he wasn’t looking. Can’t have a pretty girl going without the necessities, now, can we?”

Cecilia pressed her lips together, unsure exactly what she was feeling. Whatever it was, whatever this man, with his blue, blue eyes and simple kind act, was pulling from her, it was overwhelming. Almost too much after…after everything. She tried to calm down, to thank him. Then, he reached out and laid his hand on her shoulder. And, she promptly burst into tears.

Well, shit. Apparently, Rock Bottom has a basement, and Cecilia had just tumbled headlong into it.


Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease | Kris Norris

2 Comments

Posting late - was camping over the Fourth with the family...

Okay, so top 10 quotes from movies, shows and songs. It's hard to just do 10, to be honest. It's just the tip of the iceberg... But here we go...

10 -

Friends

9 -

Parks & Rec

8 -

Pride & Prejudice

7 -

Merlin

6 -

Hamilton

5 -

Parks & Rec

4 -

Friends

3 -

Merlin

2 -

Parks & Rec

1 - 

Merlin

Aaaaanad a bonus -

Hamilton


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Gwendolyn Cease | Kris Norris

4 Comments

How on earth is it halfway through 2017??

I don't even know how to start this post. I guess the best way is to just be honest about it, eh? This year hasn't been a great one as far as writing goes. Finding the balance still continues to be a challenge for me. To the point that I was seriously considering just quitting. Not writing anymore.  I wasn't in a good place. All I saw were all the obstacles to writing, and I wasn't seeing a way around them at all. All I could think of were the books and projects I'd promised and hadn't delivered on... Felt a bit hopeless, to be honest, and thought it'd just be better to stop trying and failing.

But I'm pretty damned lucky with the people I have in my life. Besides having a great husband who let me vent and cry when frustrated and sad and overwhelmed, I have an amazing group of friends. I just got back from an annual writing retreat with four of those awesome friends. While I didn't break any records on words writing while there, it was exactly what I needed.

I had distance from everything that was pulling at me and making it hard to think straight. I was with other writers who face just as many, if not more, challenges as I do making writing fit in their lives. I had time to relax and just be. And I had the opportunity to be a writer. To remind myself that this is who I am. And to remember that I'm allowed to put writing first. I'm allowed to say no to other things. I'm allowed to do something for me.

So that's it, really. I'm not going to focus on words/pages/scenes written the past six months (or not written). I'm looking forward...with the knowledge that I'm going to be a writer again. I get to take the next six months of the year making writing my priority again.

With that in mind, I've set some goals for myself for the next half of 2017. No looking back, just looking ahead.

  • Write daily. And make it first! I will work on my writing first thing after I wake, before I jump into all the other stuff. I'm not focusing on the numbers here. Just writing daily - building that habit again.
  • Get back to the self-care routine I had. Yeah, that's another thing that went by the wayside when things got nuts. Probably not a coincidence things just kept getting worse when I really wasn't taking care of myself at all. Time to get back on that.
  • Complete all scheduled blog posts.
  • Reach out when things do get overwhelming. Shouldering it myself and isolating myself sure as hell doesn't help. Need to do things differently.


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin |Torrance Sené

4 Comments

Okay, so i totally cheated. This is definitely not wordless. I'm enjoying my week with one of my besties, the awesome Kris Norris. She's here visiting before we head off to retreat. So I'm putting this post together early and scheduling it since I'll be in the land of little to no connection for the week.

SATURDAY - This lovely mug was a gift from Norris. Oh, Canada, eh! 

SUNDAY - Puppy is so sad her daddy has left on another trip. Looking at me with those sad, sad eyes...heartbreaking.

MONDAY - Norris and I MAY be binge watching The Night Shift. o.O We have no regrets. None!

TUESDAY - Made Slutty Brownies....becasue my weather app (WTForecast) said it was a good day to make them.

WEDNESDAY - Had to educate Bron on what a keener was via text.

THURSDAY - I think....I THINK we've gotten enough pop for the week... (Don't judge! Even though I judge myself... LOL) 

FRIDAY  - Had to hit Applebee's for lunch...it's "our place" - mine, my hub's and Norris' LOL


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Kris Norris

4 Comments

June's song flash fiction is inspired by one of my favorite songs - Mumford and Sons' "Ghosts That We Knew".

I've jumped in the world of my Arthurian series "Albion's Circle" for this one. I've done a few flash fictions in this world, if you want to take a look.

Merlin's Cave
"The Hammer's Coming Down"
"I Will Possess Your Heart"
The Coldness
"Ever the Same"


“Promise me.”

Gut churning sourly, I stared at Guinevere—lying on the bed, frail and fading, almost lost amidst the bedclothes. My queen, my friend, the only one I had left. But soon, she’d be leaving me. Just like the others. Then, I’d be well and truly alone. Left with the ghosts of everyone I’d ever loved.

“Merlin.” Her voice, weak and raspy washed over me as she grabbed my hand. “Please. Please, you have to promise me.”

“I already did,” I reminded her quietly, reaching out to cup her face. “You don’t need to worry. I’ll take care of everything. All the arrangements are in place. Everything wil be as you want it. I promise.”

Her lips curved ,and she leaned into my touch. “I’m tired. I’m ready to be with them again.”

Them. I closed my eyes against the wave of pain thinking of our friends, long gone. Morgana, Lancelot, Galahad and the rest of the knights. Arthur. My throat tightened. Annwyl.

So many lost to us. Years and years of loss—lifetime—until it was just the two of us. We did the best we could—Guinevere ruling the kingdom after Arthur fell in battle, hoping he would be proud of her. He would have, of course. I never doubted that, even if she did, at times. Guinevere had a strength to be envied and had never wavered. Not when she'd lost her husband and king. Not when, years later, she'd lost her lover.

“You will come?” she asked, her thin aged fingers squeezing mine. “It’s time, don’t you agree? Long past time, I believe.”

I opened my eyes and met her weary gaze. Unlike my dear friend, I had not endured the pain of loss so well. In the final battle against Mordred—so long ago, although it was still so fresh in my old mind—I’d lost so muchmore than I’d been prepared to lose. Not only had I watched my king, my best friend ,struck down by our enemy, but my love, my Annwyl had been lost as well. And it had been my fault. My magic that had drained the life from her. Faced with that, I’d gone mad. I’d lost the control I’d always taken such pride in.

Technically, the battle had been won, but I’d retreated. First, without choice. Dragged away by Morgana and Galahad while I raged against the twisted turn of fate after everything we had been through and everything we had sacrificed. Then, I’d stayed away, remained alone, because how could I return? A Camelot without Arthur, without Annwyl was unthinkable. But eventually, when my queen needed me, I’d made the city my home once again. I played the role of advisor and friend and supporter, just as Arthur and Annwyl would have wanted.

In all that time, though, I’d never visited their final resting place. Guinevere had gone against tradition, ignored her council, and refused to bury Arthur with his ancestors. The Circle would be together for eternity, in both life and death, she had decided, and no one would sway her.

Now, she was to take her place with Arthur, Lancelot, Galahad, and Morgana.

“You need to make your peace, Merlin. Before it’s too late and you’re joining us in rest.”

“The rest is only temporary.” I lifted a shoulder lazily, despite the tension stiffening my body. “All too soon, we’ll be back together, alive and well.”

“And back into danger,” she added, dark eyes shining and lips curving.

I nodded. That was the deal we’d struck, after all, to gain the power we'd needed to defeat Mordred and his army. The Circle had been formed. Defenders of the world against Magical threats. Brought back again and again when we were needed. Christ, I was exhausted at the prospect, though my heart raced at the thought of the reunion with our loved ones.

Silence settled over us for several minutes. Guinevere’s grip on my hand loosened, and she closed her eyes. I watched, having to blink back stinging tears often, as her breathing gradually slowed.

Suddenly, her fingers tightened, and eyes still shut, she spoke, barely above a whisper, “You’ll come, won’t you? You wouldn’t deny an old woman her final request, would you?”

“Oh, but I would. Easily.” Swallowing around the lump in my throat, I shifted to lean over her and pressed my lips to her forehead. “But deny a friend? Never.”

I settled back in the hard chair, body aching and feeling every year I’d lived on this earth. Every damned minute of existence. But I would not complain. As much as I dreaded being alone, being the last of our people left, I would see Guinevere though her final journey…of this life, at least. And I would keep my promise.

Three days later, I stood just outside Camelot, where the rest of the Circle had been laid to rest. Still numb with the grief, I traced my fingers over the sun-warned stones marking the newest grave.

“Goodbye, Guinevere,” I whispered before moving down the line. I pressed my hand more fully on the next pile of stones and nearly choked. “Arthur… I saw her through until the end, my king. She was everything you always said she was and so much more. The queen Camelot needed after…after everything.”

I closed my eyes for a brief moment and took several deep breaths. Then, I forced myself to continue, touching Morgana’s, Lancelot’s and Galahad’s graves, silent but my mind filled with memories.

Coming to the final marker, I began to shake. I lowered myself painfully to my knees and pressed my forehead against the cool stones. The shaking intensified, and as I gasped for air, I realized I was sobbing. Unable to hold it in any longer. I was finally as alone as I’d always felt since the moment I lost her. My Annwyl.

“I love you,” I whispered hoarsely. “I never wanted to be without you… My only thought is joining you, love. There’s nothing left for me here in this world, in this life.”

But for now… I sighed and pushed to my feet. For now, I had no choice. I would live with the memories, the ghosts , with my regrets, and with the promise of the day I’d be with Annwyl and my friends again.


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Kris Norris |Siobhan Muir