March Photo Writing Prompt – The Lies Begin

photopromptI can’t tell you how long I stared at this month’s picture trying to come up with an idea. A happy one, no less, because apparently I’m depressing people. 😛

Well, something finally came to me. This short is actually connecting to the New Adult serial I’m working on – Your Lies – which will be coming twice a month starting in April, and I’m super excited about it. This is a glimpse into the the past of Delia, the heroine.

I don’t know that I can call it happy, but I don’t think it’s necessary sad or depressing… I didn’t break her, Norris, I didn’t break her! 

03-2015 - Orb

The Lies Begin

Parents are stupid.

They think they’re smart, that kids don’t know what’s going on, but they’re wrong. Kids aren’t stupid. Well, some kids are, like Todd Pratt across the street. He was the dumbest. But I wasn’t. I wasn’t stupid, even though that’s how my mom and dad treated me.

I picked at the loose thread on the arm of the couch as I listened them fighting. They weren’t shouting or anything. They were pretending they weren’t fighting—Mom would say they were “having a discussion”—but talking all hushed and behind their bedroom door didn’t make it less of a fight.

That was all they did anymore. Fight. I swiped at my stinging eyes. I wasn’t going to cry like a baby about it, but it made my stomach hurt. ‘Cause it was my fault. If I wasn’t like this, they wouldn’t have anything to fight about. And it was always about me. Even before I messed up today, I’d heard them. The way they’d say my name or the way they’d look at me… Something was wrong with me, and they must have seen that a long time ago.

I didn’t want to be diffrent or messed up. I just wanted to go back to the way it was before–when Mom would smile at Dad like he was the best thing ever, and he would hug her and swing her around when he came home from work.

I sat up straighter when I heard the bedroom door open. Mom hurried over to me and sat beside me on the couch, but Dad walked over and looked out the window. And he looked mad. I felt sweaty and gross all the sudden.

“Delia,” my mom said. “I want you to know we’re not angry with you. You didn’t know any better. Thank goodness it happened here at home and not where—”

“Sylvie!” Dad’s voice boomed, and both Mom and I flinched.

“We’re not angry,” she said again, really slow. “But you can’t do…what you did anymore. Ever. It’s too dangerous, and you could get really hurt.”

“Okay,” I said when she stared at me like I was supposed to say something.

“And,” her eyes flicked over to my dad then back to me, “if anyone, anyone, ever asks you about it, you need to pretend you don’t know what they’re talking about.”

“You want me to lie?”

See? Parents were stupid. How many times have they told me lying was wrong? It was bad, and I should never, ever do it. Now, I was supposed to lie.

“Delia, honey, this is important. I wouldn’t tell you to do it if it wasn’t. No one can ever know what you are and what you can do. Promise me you’ll keep it a secret.” She grabbed my shoulders. Her fingers dug in, and it hurt! She gave me a little shake when I tried to pull away.

“Promise me!”

“Ow! Fine. I promise! Geez, Mom!” When she let go, I rubbed at one shoulder and glared at her.

“Good.” She stared at me, her lips jiggling weirdly. “Now, go get ready for bed.”

I jumped to my feet and looked at my dad, but his back was still to us. My stomach squeezed painfully again. I hurried into the bathroom, and as soon as I was in the small room, I heard them talking in quiet, angry voices again. I slammed the door, not caring if it made them mad. Because they made me mad. They wouldn’t tell me what was so wrong with what I could do or what wrong with me. They wanted me to stop doing the one thing that made me feel…like I was special. And now, I had to lie too.

After brushing my teeth and washing up, I went into my bedroom without looking into the living room. I didn’t hear them talking anymore, so that was nice. The worst was when the fighting happened at night. It just kept me up and made me feel sick.

I changed into my pajamas and crawled into bed. Before I could turn the lamp off, there was a knock on the door. It opened a bit, and my dad stuck his head in my room.

“Can I come in, Dee?”

“Yeah.” I sat up and scooched my back against the headboard.

He shut the door behind him and came to sit on the edge of the bed. “There is nothing wrong with you.”

My breath went funny, catching in my throat. How did he know I had thought that?

“Your mom’s just worried. For good reasons, but she also doesn’t understand.” He sighed loudly. “She’s not like you and me.”

“You? You mean, you’re…”

He held his hand out, and muttered a few words. A circle of light appeared, hovering above his palms. “You can say the word, Dee. When it’s just the two of us, you can say it.”

“You’re magic.”

“Yes.” He twisted his wrist and sent the orb spinning. “They call us magic users.” He scrunched up his face. “But it’s so much more than that. We don’t just use magic. It is a part of us; something that can’t be separated or ignored. The magic is -” He sighed. “I”m getting ahead of myself. The important thing for you to understand is it’s dangerous for people like us out there. That is what upset your mother. She’s afraid of what could happen to you. Here, take it.”

I reached out and laughed in surprise when my fingers wrapped around a solid ball. It was smooth like glass, but warm to the touch. I held it in both hands and looked into my dad’s eyes. It was weird, because he looked so happy, but sad, too.

“I’ll teach you,” he said quietly. “How to use it, but first, I need to teach you to be safe from those who would hurt you if they knew.”

“Why would anyone want to hurt me?”

“Because they don’t understand, and people fear what they don’t understand.” He brushed a hand over my hair. “You are so special, Delia. This is a gift, and you should never fear what you are, but you always, always have to be careful. And that’s why you have to do what your mother said. If anyone asks about magic or magic users, you pretend you don’t know anything. That’s one thing that will keep you safe.”

I nodded. “Okay, Dad.”

“I know you have to have questions, and I promise I’ll answer them soon. But for now,” he smiled that huge smile I hadn’t seen in a long time, “I want you to show me. Show me something you can do.”

He hadn’t been home earlier when I’d gotten frustrated doing homework and had sent my books flying through the air without touching them, making Mom freak out. I thought for a moment, deciding what to do. Taking a deep breath, I stared at the orb in my hands. My whole body felt warm…and just nice, like everything was right and like it should be. Then, dozens of beams of light, all different colors, streaked inside the ball. The glow lit up Dad’s face, and his smile widened.

“Beautiful,” he said quietly.

But he wasn’t looking at the orb anymore; he was looking at me.


Be sure to check out the other peices inspired by this month’s photo!
Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn CeaseJessica De La Rosa | Kayleigh Jones | Kris Norris

February Song Writing Prompt – “Angels of the Silences”

songprompt4
 This week’s song is “Angels of the of the Silences” by Counting Crows. As much as I love this song, it was a tough one to write a piece on. But I did it! 🙂 I actually went back to Michael and Aric – the two men from the first song fic – because it seemed to fit where they were. Particularly these lines…

Why’d you leave me ’till I’m only good for…
Waiting for you
All my sins…
I said that I would pay for them if I could come back to you

So, first, have a listen then see what it all means for Michael and Aric.

He’s falling apart, Aric. He’s lost without you. I’m so worried about him.

“Fuck.” Aric Brewer punched the mattress then rolled over onto his back, every muscle tight, quivering with… Hell if he knew what. There was too much coursing through him. Anger, confusion, grief, yearning… He clenched his fists. He wasn’t going down that road. He wasn’t going to lay here night after night wishing for something he couldn’t have, so he grasped onto something he could deal with. The anger. Oh yeah, that he could do well.

Aric brushed aside the annoyance he felt at Trina for coming to him with her brother’s current problems. After all, she wasn’t the only one who had looked at him with sad eyes and lamented on how the break up had been so hard on Michael.

Christ, he’d just wanted to celebrate his friend’s engagement like a normal person. He didn’t fucking need this. Why was it on him how Michael was doing? Why was that Aric’s problem? He wasn’t the one who broke it off, who threw it all away.

Everyone was so worried about poor Michael falling apart, but he was the one who decided they were done, who pushed Aric away and refused to speak to him. That was on Michael. “Poor Michael” created this fucking mess and could get himself out of it. Aric owed him nothing. He had to pick up the pieces for himself and get on with his life, and Michael would have to do the same. He would have to…

Aric drew in a deep but ragged breath when Michael’s face flashed in his mind for the millionth time that day. His beautiful face that used to make Aric’s heart race, but now…now, just made it ache.

Deflated, Aric got out of bed and shuffled into the bathroom. Sleep. He needed sleep and a break from that fucking face. He grabbed the pills his doctor had prescribed a little over a month ago when he’d been desperate for the solid night’s rest that had eluded him since he’d been shoved out the door. He washed two tablets down before returning to his cold, empty bed. He struggled to keep his mind clear as the medication did it work, grasping him tightly and pulling him into the blessed black he sought. But, as he went into the darkness, he couldn’t help but hope that Michael’s continued to be just as cold and just as empty since the day he threw Aric away.

* * * * *

Aric stared up at the house. His house. Their house. He snorted. Michael’s house. That’s what it was now. His knuckles whitened as he gripped the steering wheel. He’d been sitting here, parked on the street, for the last fifteen minutes, attempting to prepare himself for what he was about to do.

Confronting Michael had never been something Aric planned to do. Ever. He’d told himself if wasn’t worth it, that if Michael wanted him out of his life, Aric would oblige. After all, he thought bitterly, he’d never been able deny Michael anything he really wanted.

The decision to do this, now, was entirely selfish. He wanted to be able to tell Trina, to tell them all to back the fuck off of him, because he tried. Not that he was foolish enough to expect anything to change by talking to Michael but he would be able to say he made the effort. Maybe, just maybe, this would bring him a small measure of closure, and he’d be able to move on. And not hurt so much. He really, really wanted to stop hurting so damned much.

Gathering his anger close to him, draping it over the pain like a cloak, he got out of the car and strode determinedly to the house. If he had to take a few deep breaths as he rang the doorbell and stood before the door that had once been his to walk through happily and freely, it wasn’t something he acknowledged.

Clenching and unclenching his fists, he waited for Michael to answer. Impatiently, he pushed the bell again and again. He was probably still in bed. Aric nearly smiled as he thought of Michael’s habit of sleeping in whenever possible, catching himself before thinking too fondly of the man who’d broken his heart.

“Should have known you’d—” The door banged against the wall as Michael stood in just inside, gaping at Aric.

“Rise and shine,” Aric said with false cheer as he moved around Michael and made his way inside.

He came to an abrupt halt in the middle of the living room and surveyed the absolute mess that surrounded him. He’d thought Trina had been exaggerating. Truthfully, he’d hoped she’d been exaggerating about just how difficult a time Michael had been doing.

“What are you doing here?” Michael snapped from just inside the room. “Did Trina send you?”

“No, but given the state of this place…” Aric turned to him. It was a struggle to school his expression, because, son of a bitch, the cloak of anger fell away. Dissolved at the sight of Michael—his Michael—so very clearly on the edge. He swallowed and continued, “And the state of you, she should have. Long before now.”

Michael shoved his hands through his black hair, causing the already tousled locks to stand on end. He wouldn’t meet Aric’s eyes, gaze darting around the room, a flush rising on his cheeks.

“Why are you here now?” he asked. “It’s been two months, why now?”

Aric steeled himself, not in defense this time, but because he knew the last thing Michael needed was to be fussed over, babied. He never reacted well to that.

“You no-showed Oliver’s engagement party.” He glanced around the room, brow lifted. “Though it looks like you had a little party of your own, and seems to be a regular occurrence. I wanted to make sure you were all right. None of our friends have seen you recently. Oliver hand only heard from you when you called to bail on him. I was worried.”

“Well, as you can see, I’m alive and fine. So…” Michael waved toward the front door.

“Alive, yes. Fine…” He sighed heavily. “Hardly.”

“You have seen me in months, so you can’t really be the judge of that, can you?”

The hurt in Michael’s voice, in his wide gray eyes, gutted Aric. Nearly brought him to his knees.

“I’m the best judge of that. I know you better than anyone. And right now, sweetheart,” he walked across the room to stand in front of Michael, “you’re a mess.”

Michael’s lips trembled a moment before he pressed them together in a thin line. Aric’s anger rose again, hot and strong, but it wasn’t directed at the man before him. It was all focused back at himself. All this time, he’d been waiting and wondering, waiting on a sign that Michael was moving on—either back toward Aric or to someone else—and wondering how he could have shoved Aric away so thoughtlessly. Waiting and wondering instead of realizing he was the one who needed to do something. He should have known that. Should have seen that Michael was hurting, drowning in his grief.

“Don’t.”

The word, though whispered, jolted Aric from his thoughts. “Don’t what?”

“Don’t pretend you care.” Michael took a step back, gaze firmly on a point just past Aric’s left shoulder.

“I’m not pretending. I do care. I’ve always cared.”

“You don’t,” he snarled. “If you did, you wouldn’t have—”

He snapped his mouth shut and turned on his heel, practically running down the hallway to their…his bedroom. Aric didn’t hesitate to follow, pushing the door back open before it had a chance to latch. Michael stood, hands braced on the dresser, head hanging low. His shoulders shook as he struggled to breathe. Aric held himself back, denied the urge, the need to go to him.

“I wouldn’t have what?” he demanded.

“Walked away!” Michael shouted, straightening and spinning around. “I know, okay? I know I told you to leave, but you just walked away without a glance back. Like I was worth nothing. Like I wasn’t worth fighting for. You proved him right, Aric.”

The way his voice broke at the end pushed Aric forward, and he grasped the other man’s arms.

“Stop it,” he hissed. “Do not bring him into this. Into us.”

“There’s no us anymore.” Michael’s breath hitched. “And that was the problem. He was always there.”

“No.” Aric shook his head. “You pushed him out when he didn’t accept me, didn’t accept you, but for some reason when he died, you let him back in. And that was the beginning of the end, wasn’t it? Your bastard of a father managed to succeed in death where he failed in life—our relationship effectively died with him.”

“You don’t understand,” Michael whispered.

“You didn’t give me a chance to understand. You shut me out then you kicked me out. I gave you what you wanted. I walked away, but if you think it was without a backward glance, you couldn’t be more wrong.” He released one arm to cup Michael’s face. “I never stopped looking back, sweetheart. You just weren’t paying attention.”


These two are living in my head and will likely be the subject of most if not all of my song fics. I hope you like them as much as I do!

Head on over and see what these awesome ladies have been inspired to write after listening to “Angels of the Silences…
Bronwyn Green | Jessica De La Rosa | Kris Norris

February Photo Writing Prompt – Always Watching

photoprompt

I was bound and determined to write something happy this time around since both my January posts (photo & song prompts) were a bit on the down side. LOL I have failed in that quest. But now, I have two more characters clamoring around in my noggin. o.O JUST what I needed.

Here’s this month’s photo inspiration…
02-2015 - WinterCottageALWAYS WATCHING

I felt his gaze, the weight of it, but didn’t show any reaction. He wouldn’t want me to—I’d learned that real quickly. Watching me was something he did, had done for since we met at the beginning of the term through mutual friends. But if I were to glance up, meet his gaze or give him any clue I was aware of his near constant perusal, he’d flush—rather prettily—and look away. Then, avoid being around me for days. And that was the last thing I wanted. As fucked up as it was, I’d take whatever I could get from Eli Hannigan, even if was just being around him in the safety of our group of friends and the heaviness of his gaze.

“You’re coming tonight, right, Trev?”

Startled, I slid my gaze over to Olivia, careful not to go too far and look at Eli—a difficult feat since the petite brunette right next to him.

“Tonight?” I managed to ask as my stomach soured at just how close the couple sat together on the common room sofa.

Olivia threw her head back and laughed. “Where is your head? We’ve only been talking about this for the last half hour. Party tonight at Eli’s family’s cottage. Plan on staying the night, getting drunk and having a good time.”

I couldn’t help it; I flicked my eyes toward Eli, meeting his blue-gray gaze fully. Forcing a smile, I replied, “Fun as that sounds, I’m busy.”

“Busy with what?” Tyler, my so-called best friend, the person who introduced me to Eli and pretty much the only person who had any idea what I felt for the other man, snorted and nudged my shoulder. “Finally making time with that guy from the bookstore?”

Before I could answer, Olivia bounced her seat excitedly. “Oh, you have a date? Bring him along. The more, the merrier, right, Eli?”

A muscle in Eli’s check twitched as he clenched his jaw. Surprised filled me as he kept his eyes firmly on me. “Supposed to be a small get together, Liv,” he said tightly. “Last thing I need is a bunch a dumbasses trashing the place and having my dad all over my ass, like last time.”

“It’s one more person!” She shook her head, chuckling. “Trevor was already included in the original head count. Adding one more isn’t a big deal. Besides, don’t you want to meet the guy Trev’s been mooning over?”

That muscle twitched again, and he shoved a hand through his short brown hair before lifting a shoulder. “Sure, why not?”

“We’ll see, I muttered.

I pushed myself up from my position sitting on the floor and stood, anxious to get back to my dorm. To be free of his gaze, now filled with annoyance and…a hint of anger, just for a little while. Though I knew, even as I walked away, feeling its heavy, heated weight on my back, I’d be back for more. I always was.

* * * *

The party was winding down. Music turned off. Those who hadn’t already passed out stumbled up the stairs to find a flat surface to sleep for the night. I glanced around the cozy cottage and shook my head. Fuck this, I thought as I grabbed my jacket from one of the hooks near the door and shoved my feet into my sneakers.

I wasn’t even going to come at all. I’d been set to settle in for the night and study or zone out in front of the TV. Instead, I’d gotten in my car and, using the directions Tyler had scribbled out for me, driven out in the middle of fucking nowhere. All to watch my friends and people I didn’t really know get wasted and be stupid. And to be watched by Eli, who, despite this being his party, kept distant from everyone. Including his girlfriend. I shook my head. Fuck, I thought Olivia was his girlfriend. They acted like it most of the time, but she’d spent most of the night with Eli’s roommate Sam. They hadn’t done anything, at least not that I saw, but it was just odd that I hadn’t seen her and Eli near each other at all over the course of the evening. And his gaze had been on me, not her, but that was nothing new. That was familiar.

Whatever. Not my fucking circus. I turned to the door, the anxious need to escape overwhelming me again.

“Hey, where are you going?”

I froze in the open doorway as Eli’s voice washed over me. Just for a moment. I inhaled deeply then looked over my shoulder with a grin.

“Heading back. As many people as there are here, I’m guessing every bed is claimed. I’d rather go back to mine than crash on the floor. Fun party, Eli. See ya around.”

I stepped outside, and the bitter cold slapped me in the face as I pulled the door shut behind me. Rubbing my hands together, I walked toward where the cars were parked along the dirt road that led out here. Snow crunched under my feet, and my breath froze on the still air.

“Trevor!” Eli jogged past the line of cars just as I pulled open the door of mine. “You can’t leave.”

I leaned inside and started the engine then straightened to watch him stumble to a stop. The small amount of light from the car’s interior illuminated his wide eyes and lips parted as he panted slightly.

“Course I can. Christ, Eli, you’re not even wearing a coat. Get back inside.”

“You can’t drive back into town. You…you’ve been drinking. ‘S’not safe.”

“No, I haven’t. As you well know since you were watching me all night,” I mumbled.

His brow furrowed, and he pressed his lips together a moment then blurted, “You didn’t bring your boyfriend.”

I let out a bark of laughter. “Don’t have a boyfriend, Eli.”

“That guy…the one from the bookstore. Tyler said—”

“Tyler’s a shit stirrer and sees what he wants to see. Now, get your ass back inside before it freezes off.” I gave his arm a light shove. “Have fun the rest of the weekend, yeah? See you guys when you get back.”

He breath quickened, from the cold, I thought, until he surged forward and pressed his lips to mine. I grabbed hold of the top of the door, fingers aching as I fought not to launch myself at him.

With a gasp, he broke away. “Fuck. Fuck, Trevor, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have— Fuck.” He glanced at cottage, a frantic expression on his face, then back to me. “We’re drunk. That’s all. Stupid and dr—”

I grabbed him around the back of his neck and yanked him forward, slanting my mouth over his. Sliding my hands up into his hair, I gripped the ridiculously soft stands and let myself all into the kiss, the feel of him, his taste.

After a final slow lick along his bottom lip, I drew back and let my forehead rest against his. His hands trembled where they fisted the front of my jacket, but he made no move to back away.

“You’re not the only one watching,” I whispered. “This wasn’t some stupid, drunk thing, Eli. You haven’t had a single drink since I got here hours ago. So, cut the bullshit.”

“I’m not like you,” he said, his voice just as quiet as mine.

From anyone else, I might have taken offense, but there was no disgust or censure. I could practically taste the fear on his wobbly words. I closed my eyes a moment, cupping his face as gently as I could.

“Nothing wrong with you if you are.”

He shook his head, and his breath swept hotly over my face. “I wish things were different. That I could be…

Abruptly, he released his hold and stepped back. Squaring his shoulders and setting his jaw, he seemed to be building a wall around himself, effectively shutting me out.

“See you Monday,” he said flatly and started back toward the cottage. After a few steps, he paused and looked back. “Be careful, yeah?”

“Yeah,” I breathed watching his shadowed figure fade into the night.

After sliding into my car, I rested my forehead against the steering wheel, eyes squeezed shut. Fuck. The last thing I needed was to be hung up on some closeted guy—no matter how gorgeous, how nice, how tempting he was. Eli was a friend, nothing more. He was unwilling to be anything more. I pushed aside the memory of how frightened he’d seemed. I was just overthinking that. Coming out could be scary for anyone. I could make sure he knew I’d be there to support him if and when he took that step, but waiting around for something that may never happen? No. It was time to move on.

That thought, that resolution, firmly in my mind, I straightened and put the car in reverse. As I turned, pulling a U-turn, the headlight’s beams crossed over the stone cottage. My heart ached and I had to swallow around the huge lump that formed in my throat. Eli stood on the steps, hands shoved in his jean pockets, slightly hunched over.

I felt his gaze, the weight of it. Heavy, familiar and…so fucking sad.


Make sure to check out what fabulousness the photo inspired from the other ladies. :) 
Bronwyn Green  | Kayleigh Jones | Kellie St. James | Kris Norris

January Song Writing Prompt – “I’m a Mess”

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Another new feature. 🙂 Yay. The 3rd Monday of each month, the ladies and I are going to be sharing some more flash fiction – this time, peices inspired by a song.

This week’s song… “I’m A Mess” by Ed Sheeran. I love this song. Have a listen then see what I’ve come up with as a result… 😀

“I’m A Mess”

“Where the fuck were you last night?”

Michael Adams held the phone away from his ear, wincing as pain ricocheted through his skull. Why the hell had he even answered the phone? Early Saturday morning calls? Never a good thing. And as much as Michael loved his sister, listening to her yelling at him—again—was a far cry from how he wanted to spend his morning. At this moment, the only thing he wanted to do was to roll over and sleep it off some more. Clearly, the universe had other plans for him. As it always did.

“Trina—”

“No,” she said loudly. “This has gone on too fucking long, Mikey. You need to…”

“What? I need to what, exactly? Snap out of it? Pull myself up by the bootstraps, slap on a smile and pretend everything is all good in the world? Sorry, not happening.” He scrubbed a hand over his face, frowning at the scrape of scruff against his palm. “I’m fine.”

“The fuck you are.”

He sighed. “You need to expand your vocabulary.”

“I’ll expand my fucking vocabulary when you get out of the fucking house for something other than fucking work and start living your fucking life again.”

“Such a lady,” he drawled.

“You didn’t show up for your best friend’s engagement party,” she said, uncharacteristically quiet. “So saying you’re fine isn’t going to fly.”

“I talked to Oliver.” Michael tried to keep his tone firm and even, but his voice just came out scratchy and weak. “He said he understood. That’s all that really matters.”

“Of course he said that! Everyone is so fucking scared of saying anything that will push you over the edge. No one knows how to talk to you because you’ve shut us all out!”

“Not very effectively since I have you shrieking in my ear on a regular basis,” he muttered.

“Yeah, and you can expect that to continue, you fucking ass. Unlike the friendships you are effectively destroying with your behavior, it will take a hell of a lot more to drive me away. And just think about that, Mikey,” she warned. “Keep this up, and I’ll be all you have. Is that really what you want?”

He snorted, ignoring how his chest tightened. “What I want? Pretty much given up on that.”

“Why?” she yelled. “Why shouldn’t you have what you want? Fuck, you had it already. You had it, and you threw it away! Dad’s gone. Why are you letting him have any power over you now when you didn’t when he was alive?”

“I’m not going to argue about this again.” He knew where this was headed, and he needed to stop it before—

“That’s the problem; you don’t argue.” She laughed bitterly. “You go to work, you come home and drink and then you go to bed, just to wake and do it all over again. You listen to me bitch and you mope around and wallow.”

“Didn’t your therapist ever tell you that people grieve in their own way?”

“This isn’t fucking grie—” She stopped short and he heard her take a deep breath. “Are you even going to ask about him? He was there last night. But, of course, you know that.”

And there it was. Michael swallowed heavily, and his eyes burned behind his closed lids.

“How is he?” he whispered then inwardly cringed.

He hadn’t meant to ask. He didn’t want to know… Shit, he was no better at lying to himself than he had been two months before when he’d told Aric to get the hell out of his life. And his loving and devoted boyfriend had walked away without a second glance, because Michael had said it was what he wanted. His skills at lying convincingly to others were obviously far superior to his ability to delude himself. Despite his best efforts.

“He looked good,” she said quietly then added, “But, Mikey, he looked so sad, too. Especially when…when he asked about you.”

“I wouldn’t read too much into that.” He swallowed heavily, gulping down the surge of hope that rose. “Everyone gets a little sad when they think about their exes.”

“It’s more than that, and you know it.”

The muscles of his jaw twitched when he clenched his teeth. “And who was on his arm, Trina? I’ve never known Aric to show up anywhere all by his lonesome.”

“No one.” When he didn’t answer, she sighed. “I didn’t see him when he got there, all right? And he…mingled all night. And talked to a lot of people.”

“A lot of good looking guys.”

Her breath hitched. “Oh, Mikey.”

“I’m going to go.”

“Just call him.”

“I’ve told you already there’s no point. It’s over.”

“Christ, you’re stubborn.” Triina laughed harshly.

“Says the woman who calls every single day to rip me a new one. Guessing it’s hereditary, sister mine.” He stretched his free arm over his head. “And I’m hanging up, now.”

“Fine. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

“Of course you will.” He smiled…an actual genuine smile. Trina was one thing he could count on, even if it was in the form of nagging phone calls most of the time. “Love you.”

“Love you, too,” she returned. “Please, think about what I said. Call him.”

“Good-bye, Trina.”

Ending the call, he tossed the phone off the side of the bed then rolled over to bury his face in the pillow on the other side of the bed. Aric’s side of the bed.

“Fuck,” he muttered, punching the mattress several times before turning to the side and going limp.

Closing his eyes against the banging in his head, he tried to push all thoughts of the last two months, of Aric, of being without Aric from his mind. Yet as Michael drifted off, he saw only one face.

He woke to the sound of the doorbell, repeatedly chiming, and the pain in his head still strong as ever. He climbed out of bed and padded through the house, grumbling and squinting against the sunlight streaming through every damned window. He needed to remember to shut the fucking curtains at night.

He inwardly cursed his sister as he unlocked the front door. She never knew when to leave well enough alone and had probably gotten it in her head that he was starving without her sweet—read annoying—sibling attention. It wouldn’t be the first time she’d shown up on his doorstep with a bag of food and a frown.

“Should have known you’d—”

The door banged against the wall as he let go of the knob in shock.

“Rise and shine,” Aric announced, pushing past Michael into the house.

It took him a moment, but Michael quickly shut the door and rushed after his ex, finding the other man standing in the middle of the living room, looking around with a look of disgust on his face.

“What are you doing here?” Michael demanded. “Did Trina send you?”

“No, but given the state of this place…” Aric turned and ran his gaze over Michael. “And the state of you, she should have. Long before now.”

Running his hand through his hair, knowing it was already sticking up wildly, Michael looked everywhere but at Alric. Which was a mistake because he saw exactly what his ex was seeing—empty bottles and takeout containers littering every surface, unwashed laundry piled up, and the basic evidence of a man who just didn’t give a fuck anymore. Everything Michael had been valiantly trying to ignore for some time.

“Why are you here?” he bit out. “It’s been two months; why now?”

“You no-showed Oliver’s engagement party.” He glanced around again. “Though it looks like you had a little party of your own, and it seems to be a regular occurrence. I wanted to make sure you were all right. None of our friends have seen you recently. Oliver had only heard from you when you called to bail on him. I was worried.”

“Well, as you can see, I’m alive and fine. So…” Michael gestured toward the front door.

“Alive, yes. Fine…” He sighed and shook his head. “Hardly.”

“You haven’t seen me in months, so you can’t really be the judge of that, can you?”

Aric’s expression softened, and Michael’s stomach clenched at the sight of those gorgeous green eyes looking at him with…affection?

“I’m the best judge of that. I know you better than anyone. And right now, sweetheart,” he stepped forward, “you’re a mess.”

Head on over and see what these awesome ladies have been inspired to write after listening to Mr. Sheeran singing about being a mess…
Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease | Jenny Trout | Jessica De La Rosa | Kris Norris 

January Photo Writing Prompt – Merlin’s Cave

photoprompt

As I mentioned in my 2015 goals post, some new things are happening on the blog in the coming year. This is one of them! The first Monday of every month, a wonderful bunch of ladies and I will be posting a photo along with a flashfiction peice inspired by that photo.

This month’s photo sent my mind immediately running to a character I’ve already written–and am still writing. Merlin from my Albion’s Circle series. So, I just went with it…

01-2015 - ManIceCave

MERLIN’S CAVE

I flipped up the collar of my coat and ducked my head. More out of habit than actual need. I didn’t really feel the frigid wind or the bitter cold. I didn’t feel much of anything. Hadn’t in a long, long time.

Which was why I was here. I needed to remember, needed to see their faces again, needed to feel.

The stones and gravel crunched under my boots as I made my way to the mouth of the cave. I hadn’t been here in… I chuckled softly—a humorless sound lost in the howling gusts. I hadn’t felt the need to come here in several lives. I hadn’t felt the need because it’d been so long since I’d been alone. Well, and truly alone. In all the lives I’d lived, in all the centuries since Camelot, there had been many years spent on my own, but not like this. Usually, at the end of it all, when the battle was over, I had someone there. Arthur or Galahad or one of the others standing by my side. There to help shoulder the burden, to balance the darkness inside me with their light, to remind me of what I was fighting for every life, to remind me it was all worth it.

But this life, there was no one. They were lost. And it was my fault. I’d done what needed to be done to stop Mordred, but I couldn’t stop. I clenched my jaw as images of fire and destruction and the sounds of screaming played in my head. I hadn’t stopped until everyone was gone.

I paused at the cave’s entrance and took a deep breath, the cold air burning my lungs. My magic throbbed inside me, pushing against my skin painfully. I hadn’t accessed it, hadn’t let it out, since the last battle ten years ago, and it was not happy.

I walked slowly inside, eyes adjusting to the change in light, and forced myself to continue deeper. When the darkness became too much, I lifted my trembling hand…and let it hover in the air. Fear and uncertainty overwhelmed me as my power jumped and vibrated, desperate to get out, to be used. It’d been too long. I didn’t know if I could wield it with any control.

Don’t be silly, Merlin. It’s a part of you. Trust it.

I closed my eyes as her voice sounded in my head. Oh, I knew it wasn’t really her voice. I hadn’t heard that since Camelot, but it’d always, always be her I heard when I needed a swift kick in the ass.

I inhaled deeply and loosened the decade-old hold I’d kept on my magic. Lights flickered through the cavern. Wild and erratic at first, all over the place. Then, they all converged and a large orb glowed, suspended near the roof of the cave, illuminating the large space.

I swayed on my feet, lightheaded and intoxicated as my power flowed out. It danced around the room before coming back, twining around me, embracing me, comforting me. My eyes stung as my gaze settled on the frosted cavern wall before me. What I’d etched into the stone all those years ago was barely visible, but I knew it was there. Power swelled and crackled in the air as bright lines appeared on the wall. I laughed, the sounded echoing, as the images I’d created were re-carved before my eyes. My magic was bringing them back without my even having to directing it.

I stepped forward and lifted my fingers to trace along the line of Arthur’s crown as I studied his face. Arthur Pendragon. King of Camelot, High King of all of Albion. The greatest of us all. My best friend.

My throat tightened, and I swallowed with difficulty. I made my way slowly down the length of the way, the orb of light following me so I could make out all the faces staring back at me. Lancelot and Guinevere, Gawain, Morgana, Percival, Erek and Owain. I stopped in front of Galahad, smiling at his cheeky grin even as I fought against the pain weighing down on me. And knew it was going to crush me. Destroy me the moment I took another step.

The orb moved past me, and Galahad’s face fell into shadow as the light concentrated, centered on what I avoided…and what I wanted to see more than anything. And of course, my magic knew that. I could feel it pulling, drawing me to stand before…well, her.

Annwyl.

I traced the lines of her face, imagined the warmth of her skin even as the frozen stone scraped the pad of my finger. And, suddenly, anger surged. The years that separated us, the guilt of not saving her, the utter grief of losing her time after time choked me. I slammed my fists against the wall, and it cracked—fissures crept outward, obscuring her likeness. Immediately, the fractures flared brightly then knit back together.

“I miss you,” I whispered, pressing my fingers to her lips. “I’ll find you.”

I turned away and stumbled to the large boulder in the center of the cavern. As I sat, I forced myself to look at Annwyl’s face again, even though it hurt. I deserved that. I deserved every ounce of pain and torment.

“I promise. The next life, I’ll find you. Just…just wait for me, this time. Please, wait for me.”

Make sure to check out what fabulousness the photo inspired from the other ladies. 🙂 
Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease | Jessica De La Rosa | Kayleigh Jones | Kris Norris