It’s time for another Promptly Penned post. I’m back with Justin and Harris for this one – they are in my head, folks, and I can’t shake them loose. Never mind I won’t be able to work on their actual book for a while. My brain doesn’t like me very much, glomming on to every idea/story but the one I need to be actually working on. I’m guessing (hoping?) that I’m not the only one this happens to… But anyhoo, here are the other pieces of flash fiction I’ve written in this lovely world and I’ve marked the ones that are specific to Justin and/or Harris with an **, so if you want to have a look-see, feel free.
As always, the prompt itself is in bold.
Justin rubbed the back of his neck and gave into the urge to look around the bullpen—at the team. His old team. Well, not quite. Liam wasn’t leading the team anymore, and there was Harris—sitting at Justin’s old desk. And the younger man had hardly looked at Justin since he’d arrived over an hour ago. And any glances sent his way…weren’t exactly friendly or welcoming.
He wondered if Harris worried about his job—that with Justin’s appearance, he’d be ousted so Justin could slip back into his old role. As soon as that thought entered his mind, he shoved it aside. No, he figured Harris was secure in his place on the team. It’d been nearly four years, and from what Justin had observed, Harris got along with everyone, and he had no reason to have that particular worry.
And fuck it, that meant his attitude probably had to do with that night. Shit. Which also meant Justin would have to talk to him, clear the air, so there wouldn’t be any problems working this case together.
“All right, everyone, it’s late,” Adam announced. “Head out, get some rest, and back here at oh-six-thirty to go over what we have.”
The sighs of relief from his former teammates made Justin smile. He knew they’d been pouring over this case and were likely exhausted. He may have been away for a while, but he sure as hell remembered the long hours they put in here.
“I know we have to be back early,” Scott said, standing and stretching his arms over head, groaning at the popping joints, “but we should go out for a drink. Just one,” he added when Adam arched a brow.
Sarah jumped in, then, and Justin suspected they’d come up with this plan as soon as they’d heard he was coming. “Come on, gang’s all back together… Well, it will be when you call Liam to meet us at Tate’s? An hour or so, one drink, a bit of catching up before we’re back, neck deep in this and don’t have a moment to spare?”
Adam looked between the two for a long moment then nodded. “An hour. I’ll call Liam.”
He walked away, pulling his cell from his pocket, and Scott and Sarah grinned at Justin.
“Come on, man. We’ll go grab a table.” Scott grabbed his weapon and creds from his desk then put on his coat. He frowned when his gaze landed on Harris, who was still pouring over the file in front of him. “Hey, kid, let’s go. Drinks are on me tonight.”
“Gonna pass. I really want to get through this before I head out.” He looked up, brown eyes settling on Justin a moment before darting away. He smiled at the others. “You guys have fun, and I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Are you sure? You hardly ever come out with us.” Sarah said with an exaggerated pout. “Beginning to think you don’t like us, Harris.
Harris rolled his eyes but didn’t respond. He just turned back to the file, effectively shutting everyone else out.
Justin drew in a deep breath, feeling the guilt weighing heavily. He’d better take care of this now.
“Go on ahead,” he told Scott and Sarah. “I’ll be right behind you.”
Both of them frowned, but they didn’t argue. As soon as they were out of earshot, Justin stood and, circling the desk he’d commandeered, walked over to stand in front of Harris’.
“Hey,” he said softly. “You should come. You’re a part of the team. I’m just here to consult at Adam’s request. And…it’d be nice to catch up.” He sighed when he didn’t get any kind of reaction from the other man. “Look, you don’t need to let my mistake that night fuck things up and—”
“Wow.” Harris straightened, leaning back slightly in his chair. After a moment, he shook his head. “Okay, then. Can we just pretend, for one fucking second, that you’re not a complete douchebag.”
Justin stumbled back, feeling almost as if he’d been struck physically. “Douchebag?”
“I’m not going out for a drink. I don’t want to, and it has nothing to do with my place on the team. As it is now. But I’m not a part of ‘the gang’,” he sneered. “And I’m not going to waste my time pretending that I am.”
He pushed his chair back and stood. With jerky movements, he secured his gun and pocketed his creds before locking his desk. Then, he grabbed the files from his desk and shoved them in his messenger bag. Justin just stared, unable to grasp a solid thought, let alone respond with words.
Harris started to walk away, shouldering past Justin, but then, he stopped abruptly and spun around. He closed the distance between them, standing so close Justin could feel Harris’ breath gusting over his face.
“’It’d be nice to catch up.’ Are you fucking kidding me? What is there to catch up on, Justin? We worked one case together, and one that hardly brings on the warm fuzzies. And that night…” He laughed, a flat, hollow sound that just fucking hurt. “Clearly not enough to even warrant a catching up since you made no fucking effort to so much as talk to me afterwards. And I understood. At first. How could I not? But then, so much time passed, and I got to hear from everyone else that you’d been in touch with them. But I wasn’t worth even that. Made my place very, very clear. So, again, I’ll pass on the drink and happy reunion.”
He pivoted and walked away again, throwing over his shoulders. “And just a bit of advice, no one wants to be called a fucking mistake, you douchebag.”