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Stream of Consciousness Saturday: “Rain/Rein/Reign”

“It looks like it’s going to rain,” Jonas said, looking out from under the picnic shelter they’d been sitting under.

Isaac grunted but his hand kept pulling the pencil over the paper. He wouldn’t let Jonas see what he was working on. They’d been meeting here at the park for a few days now. Jonas liked spending time here with Isaac. He usually only came to play soccer or kickball with some of his buddies from school. Now that they were out for the summer, there wasn’t much else to do. But, as soon as he’d seen Isaac show up each day, he’d abandoned them.

It probably made him a bad friend. But, whatever. He liked Isaac more than any of those guys.

“Maybe we should go back to my house,” he said now. “Mom won’t mind.”

Isaac let out a little snort, but he still didn’t look up from his sketch pad. “She won’t mind? Just the two of us being there? She won’t think I’ll corrupt you?”

Jonas rolled his eyes then set his hand on Isaac’s knee. “She’s not your dad. She doesn’t think like that.” He wished he hadn’t said it when the other boy cringed and finally put down the sketch pad. Isaac still had bruises that hadn’t quite faded yet. In his house, violence reigned supreme.

It made Jonas sick to think about that. All he’d ever known was love from his parents. It wasn’t perfect, and his father had been gone, dead, for ten years now. But, that love was still there. Isaac didn’t have that, even if Jonas wanted to give it to him.

He wasn’t even sure what all that entailed. They hadn’t even kissed. Maybe Isaac hadn’t even thought about that yet. Jonas couldn’t seem to stop thinking about it.

“and if she starts hating me? Because I lead you down a path to…to somewhere she doesn’t want you to go?”

Jonas was pretty sure he knew what Isaac had been about to say, and he really just wanted to hug him. This may not be the best place for that. The other guys were already teasing him for dropping everything to hang out with Isaac. He didn’t need to bring more grief down on either of them.

“Dude,” he said, forcing a smile for Isaac’s sake. “I told you the other day. My older brother used to be in a gang. You really think she’d be more bothered by me realizing I’m gay or bi.”

“You  never know,” Isaac muttered, shoving the last of his supplies into his pack and swinging it onto his shoulder. “My dad would be.”

Jonas nudged him with his shoulder. “I already told you, Mom’s not your dad. She’ll be cool. Let’s go before it lets loose.”

Isaac still looked hesitant, but he followed Jonas away from the park. That was something at least. He didn’t know where this was heading, but he thought it might be best to let Isaac hold the reins, at least for now.

Maybe they could figure out where this path led together.


Today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt was to use rain/rein/reign any way you want. use one or all or any combination. I still have three stories in this series to write before I get to Jonas and Isaac’s story, but they popped into my head today. So, I may just keep playing with them until it is time to fully get to their story.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Embrace

Today’s Stream of Consciousness prompt is to use a word with the letters “mb” in it in that order. Which had me going: how in the world am I going to find a word to use(okay, there may have been other words in there). So, I went to my handy-dandy dictionary app and started searching. There were a lot more words than I’d figured. So, I chose one and instantly thought of where I’d left off last week’s post with Devil and Hawk’s(though they went by Damon and Gavin back then) history together. So, I’ll pick up with it this week(and it turned out a lot longer than I’d expected. Oops).

Damon wanted to embrace this boy, but he shoved that feeling down as far as it would go. He was still reeling from what Travis had done. His head was ringing from hitting it against that brick wall. But, he wasn’t going to let this boy see that weakness. Trusting Travis had gotten him in this situation in the first place. Blindly trusting someone else wouldn’t get him out of it.

Still he followed him out of the alley. Hawking, Alex had called him. Damon figured that was probably a last name, though. He didn’t ever know the guy’s first name, and he was going along with him without question. His father would call him an idiot if he ended up getting mugged.

It wouldn’t be the first time his dad called him that. Or worse.

“You got a safe place to go once you’re fixed up?”

Damon didn’t know why the man’s voice kept taking him by surprise. Everything about him screamed: “I’m a big, tough guy.” And yet that voice was soft, gentle. It felt like a caress over everything that was still aching in him. It made him ache in a totally different way. But, he knew what would happen if he let that get out of control. His father had made that clear. And it scared him.

He’d thought Travis was worth it, but the other kid had only been using him. This guy probably wasn’t any different, though he hadn’t made a move yet. And that worried him. What did he want anyway?

“I’m not homeless,” he snapped out.

“That’s wasn’t what I asked. Damon, wasn’t it?”

Not what he’d asked. But, he’d asked if he had somewhere to go. No, somewhere safe to go. Like home might not be. And he looked so worried right now, Damon had to wonder if he was asking from experience. Did he save people every weekend? “Yeah,” he said, wanting to wipe that worry from the guy’s face. “And yeah, I can go home. I was grounded, so they’ll yell that I left the house. But, yeah, it’s safe.”

Damon grew more anxious as they approached the store Hawking was taking him to. What if this guy did ask questions instead of just fixing up the cut on his head? He didn’t want to tell anyone what Travis was going to make him do. It hadn’t happened, so it didn’t matter anyway. Even though just the thought made him sick.

But, the old man didn’t ask anything. Only some question to the other kid about books. Books of all things. Then, he walked with hem to the back room, cleaned the cut and put a bandage over it. There’d been more blood than the cut called for. Then, Hawking–Gavin, the old man had called him–walked him out of the store.

“You don’t really have to walk me home. I can get there on my own.”

“I’ll worry if I don’t know for myself you’re safe.”

“You really do think you’re everyone’s savior, don’t you?”

Gavin went silent at that, and Damon wished he hadn’t shoved his foot in it again. He was always doing that. At least he didn’t live far away. Gavin could go once he was back home. He didn’t want Gavin to go.

“Don’t tell them,” he said quickly. “They can know I was in a fight, but don’t tell them the rest. Don’t even tell ’em it was Travis. He’s the reason I was grounded in the first place.” Because his dad had caught them kissing. And his dad was apparently trying to save Damon’s soul from hell.

“I won’t say a word,” Gavin promised. “Tell them whatever you need.”

But, something about him had gone still even though he was still walking right beside Damon. Finally, they reached his house, and Damon’s hands grew wet with sweat as he approached the front door. It opened before he could reach for the handle. His dad’s hand came out wrapped around his arm and jerked him through the door.

“What do you think you’re doing, boy? You weren’t supposed to leave the house.”

“Sorry, Dad,” he said without looking up. “I shouldn’t’ve broken the rules.”

“You’re damn right about that.”

“Sir,” Gavin said, stepping forward, “your son-”

Damon wanted to shake his head at Gavin, tell him to just turn and go. But, he saw the concern in his eyes and knew it wouldn’t matter. “I don’t know who you are, but you don’t need to be here. You don’t need to be twisting my boy’s mind more than it already is.”

I winced at that, one of the accusations he always threw at me. The reason I liked kissing boys as well as girls. Gavin’s eyes came to mine then, and they held another accusation. I’d said I was safe here, and he didn’t believe me now. “It’s fine,” I told him.

“You said you were safe here.”

His dad’s face turned dark at the accusation in his words. “I don’t beat my son, even if he deserves it. Get out of here.”

“There’s more than one kind of harm,” Gavin murmured even as the door swung shut between them.

Dad turned on me then. “What the hell are you telling people, Damon? That I hurt you?”

He shook his head. “I didn’t.” He saw his little brother peek his head around the corner and hoped his dad would keep the tongue-lashing to a minimum this time.

He just sighed in disgust. “Go to your room. I don’t want to see your face until your mom has dinner ready.”


Damon opened his door at the soft knock. His little brother, Andy, stood there. Damon had only been allowed out of his room the last two days for meals and to use the bathroom. His parents hadn’t even let Andy come in to see him. Nothing like being put in solitary confinement. He was surprised his dad hadn’t boarded the window shut so he couldn’t sneak out.

“What’s up, buddy?” Damon asked. “You shouldn’t be here. Don’t want you to get in trouble.”

“Some guy dropped this off for you,” he said, holding a book out to Damon. “Said it was for you to keep safe.”

There was that word again. Had Gavin brought this to him? But, why? “What did he look like?”

The boy shrugged. “Some old guy. Just said to make sure you got the book.”

It must have been the guy from the bookstore, then, not Gavin. He shouldn’t be so disappointed by that. “Thanks, buddy. You should go, though, before Dad catches you.”

“He shouldn’t get so mad at you.”

Maybe not. “But, he does. It’ll be all right. They’ll get over it soon.” He hoped. He had a little more than two years before he could get out of here. He hoped he didn’t spend the rest of it banished to his room.

Once Andy left, Damon took the book to his bed. He didn’t read, except when he was forced to for school. Even then, he barely skimmed it. But, he ran a hand over the cover of this book. Gavin hadn’t brought it himself, but it had to be from him. “The History of the United States Marine Corps,” he read. Then, he flipped open the cover. A sheet of paper slid out into his lap. He set the book down and picked up the paper. His name was at the top.

Hope you weren’t in too much trouble the other day. You said your place was safe, and I’m holding you to the fact you meant physically. That doesn’t say anything for emotionally. But, I’ll be back on base by the time you see this, so there’s not much I can do to make sure of either. I don’t know when I’ll be back around, but I want you to have my address so you can get in touch if you want. After what we talked about, I thought you’d like the book, too. I hope I’ll hear from you sometime, but if not, keep yourself safe anyway.

Gavin Hawking

Damon stared at the note for a few minutes then slipped it into the top drawer of his desk. He didn’t know what he was going to do, but he hoped this wasn’t the last time he ever heard from Gavin.

Story a Day: Day 25 – Believe in You

Today’s prompt was to change the POV of one of our previous stories. Since, I’ll be working on Carlos & Tereza’s story once again, I decided to do one of those ones. This one is some backstory that takes place about 20 years before the actual story. I wrote it in third person the first time, but switched it to first here and got into Carlos’ head a bit more.

I dropped the silverware on top of the rest of the dishes in the bus pan. Gathering up the rest of the trash from the table, I balled it all up together so it would be easier to throw away when I got to the kitchen. I gave a little shake of my head. They had certainly left a mess. I’d noticed most didn’t seem to care who would have to come by later and clean up after them.

I lifted the pan and turned from the table, my shoulders getting that itchy feeling between them, the hairs on my neck prickling. People were watching. It didn’t matter. I couldn’t let it matter. I took a deep breath and kept walking through the dining room.

It was nothing. People could look all they wanted. It didn’t mean a thing. I heard all the whispers anyway. They saw my tattoos and automatically assumed they knew everything about me. I must be some kind of thug, had probably done prison time, was likely dangerous and shouldn’t be working here.

I just wished it wasn’t all true.

I shouldered my way through the doors into the kitchen, dropping the pan on the shelf by those doors for the dishwasher to get to. The kid beside the sink jerked his head at me in greeting, but I only grunted back. I still didn’t know his name. I hadn’t bothered with any of that unless I needed to.

I’d only been here for about three weeks, and I knew it wasn’t the strength of my experience or references that got me the job. I didn’t have much of either of those. Only one reference had really mattered. Roman’s. And he’d done more than get me this job. If it wasn’t for him, I would have spent more than the one month in jail. And I would have this, or likely any, job. I wasn’t going to screw up that chance. Even if it was only to clear tables and wash dishes.

Even if I did still miss Tereza and Roman wouldn’t tell me anything except she was settling into her life with them.

I turned to grab another tub so I could clean yet another table off, but as I straightened again, I nearly collided with someone else. My first impulse still was to slam a fist into his face and pull a knife from my belt. Both would get me fired. The second would also, if I even carried one on me, get me sent back to jail.

I couldn’t afford either option.

I only let my lip curl at the tattoo of a wild cat on the other man’s bicep. Fuckin’ Pumas.

“Sorry,” I mumbled. Dios, that word tasted bitter on my tongue. I wasn’t really, but our boss had strict rules about fighting in the kitchen. I wasn’t risking my job for this pendejo.

The other man, Romello, sneered at me. “Just like a cowardly Coyote.”

I bristled at the words but picked up the bus pan I’d dropped during the collision and kept walking. It wasn’t worth it. I needed this job, this new start. The Pumas had taken enough from me, I couldn’t let them have this as well. So, I ignored the words meant to taunt me and walked back out into the dining room to clear another table.


I stepped out of the restaurant after clocking out and saw the three men waiting for me. One was little more than a boy, really, but Romello, the pendejo, had roped him in anyway. Romello himself stood right in the middle of them.

Great. Just great. Looked like we’d be fighting about this after all. I could always run, but I’d never done that before. And they’d just chase after me anyway.

I balled my fists and took a step forward. “What do you want? I was just goin’ home.”

“To your hovel, you mean?” Romello scoffed.

I doubted if his place was much, if any, better than my tiny apartment. But, I let the words pass. I really did just want to go home. “I don’t got a beef with you. I’m just trying to start a new life, like you. I just want to be left alone.”

Romello sneered at me again. “You’re nothing like me. You’re a Coyote.”

“Not anymore.” The words felt like a lie. Sure, I didn’t run with the gang any longer, but I wasn’t sure I’d ever stop feeling like a part of it.

Romello’s lip curled further, until he was nearly snarling. “You still ain’t washed the stink off.” Then, he was swinging at me.

I ducked the first punch, but the second caught me in the shoulder. I stumbled but found my footing quick enough. But the other two were on me a moment later. I got a few blows in myself, but I couldn’t fight off all three at once. I hit the ground but jumped right back to my feet. I wasn’t going down without one hell of a fight.

They meant to kill me. I could feel it in each of their strikes. I wasn’t just going to give up on this new life I’d been given.

I hit the ground again. I tried to get back up, but a boot connected with my ribs. More blows fell, stealing my breath, and I heard the snick of a knife opening. Then, sirens split the air, and the other men scattered. I got my knees under me and grabbed onto the closest thing I could find, a sign post, to get to my feet.

A hand closed around my arm. I tried jerking away, but metal snapped around my wrist before I could. The man’s words were barely more than a buzz in my head, but the actions were all too familiar to me. And my head was spinning too much to resist even if I’d planned to.


“You’re damn lucky they held you instead of taking you straight to booking.”

I held my head in my hands, not even looking up at Roman. I didn’t feel too lucky about anything right now. The cops who had brought me in had slapped a Band-Aid over the cut on my forehead but that was it. My head was splitting, my ribs nearly screaming in agony, but I was stuck in this damn holding cell. The only lucky thing I could see was that when Romello and his buddies had been hauled in too, they’d been put in a separate cell.

“I didn’t start the fight, Roman. Romello and his buddies were waiting for me outside. He’s always baiting me.”

“That’s why you ignore him. I thought you wanted this job.”

“I do!” More pain shot through my head, and I drew back, digging the heels of my hands into my temples. Dios. How hard had I hit my head? “And  know, I probably lost it now.”

“If there weren’t witnesses who gave the same story as you, that would probably be true.”

At a gesture from Roman, a guard stepped forward and unlocked the cell door. The loud whine of it opening nearly had my head exploding. I squeezed my eyes shut as if that would help ward off the inevitable.

“Come on,” Roman said softly. “I’ll take you home. You’ll have to talk to Aberto in the morning about the job.”

I couldn’t think too much about that right now. Not when my head was splitting open and my ribs were on fire as I followed Roman out of the police station. Aberto’s place was known for giving released cons a second chance. He wasn’t known for giving ones for breaking his rules, though.

I just hoped he’d make an exception this time.


I stepped into the restaurant and winced at the bright lights. Roman had taken me by the hospital the night before. Head contusions and a couple cracked ribs. He’d stuck around until this morning, to make sure I woke up again. He really made sure of that, too, waking me several times during the night and asking me questions. When I flipped him off each time, he just laughed and left my bedroom again. Guess that was a sign to him my brain wasn’t too rattled.

They’d wrapped my ribs at the hospital and given me something for the headache, but it only helped so much. And these damn lights certainly didn’t.

Roman had said he’d already talked to Aberto this morning, so he’d be waiting for me. Now, I just had to plead my case. I knocked on the doorframe of the office even though the door was open, and my boss watched me approach. No point in taking any chances. Certainly not this morning.

“Come in, Armas,” my boss called out to me.

I stepped into the office and licked my lips, wishing they weren’t so dry. “Mr. Aberto-”

He held up a hand, and I came to an instant stop. I had to shove my hands in my pockets to keep him from seeing the way they trembled. I didn’t want to show any weakness now.

“You know I don’t allow any fighting in or around my restaurant.”

“Yes, sir.” I could barely get the words out. My throat and tongue felt so thick, I felt like there wasn’t room for anything else. “I can explain.”

“No explanation needed.”

My shoulders drooped at those words. That was it then. It was all over for me. I started to turn away but Aberto’s next words stopped me.

“I’ve seen the way you and Romello have been. And I’ve seem how you’ve handled it. I also talked to the person who reported the fight last night and said you were the one assaulted. I imagine you didn’t see any way around the fight.”

I shook my head. “Figured if I ran, they would’ve just chased me down.”

Aberto nodded as if he’d expected that. “Charges have been pressed. Romello will no longer have a job here.”

I swallowed hard. “And me, sir?” If I lost this job, I wasn’t sure what I’d do.

“Well,” he said, his lips curling up slightly, “I’m going to have an open position for a server. I’ve seen you’re a hard worker and seem determined to make your place here.”

I couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing. “Why?” I shouldn’t be questioning it. Shouldn’t risk him realizing he was making a mistake and change his mind.

“I see something in you,” Aberto said. “And I believe in the things I see. I believe in you, Carlos, and you should believe in you, too. Now, get on home and rest up. We can start your training tomorrow.”


JusJoJan: Day 28 – Serendipity

Welcome back to day 28 of Just Jot It January. Today’s prompt is Serendipity, brought to us by Jan. I was thinking about this word, and is meaning and got a little thread of an idea. This will likely be backstory for the next novella I have planned for my Gilbert,  CO series. I wrote some other back story earlier this month and more last May (which was the first I had any idea this character might even get a story). Anyway, carrying on:

“Uncle Ry! Uncle Ry!”

Rylan turned from the shelf he was studying. He’d been staring at it for the last ten minutes. How did he know what he should get his brother and Kellie for their wedding? He wanted to hit the canvas, but wouldn’t they expect something more practical for a wedding gift.

But, now he had something else to focus on. He smiled at the little girl. “Hey, Cora. Well, isn’t this a serendipitous meeting?”

Her face scrunched up. “What does seren…what does that mean?”

He kept smiling at her even though his gaze wanted to jump up to her mother’s face. That wouldn’t be a smart move, though. It had taken him weeks to stop thinking about her after the last time he’d seen her. At another wedding.

“It means I’m lucky you’re here. I could use some help picking out a gift. I’m sure you’re the best at that.”

Cora grinned up at him. “Mommy says I’m pretty good at finding the right gift. Who is it for?”

“Cora,” Kirsten said from behind the girl. “We need to get going. I told you we didn’t have time to say hi.”

“Just one minute, Mommy, please.”

“I have to get you to the babysitter so I can get to class. We’ve been over this.”

It didn’t matter how many times he told himself not to look, he couldn’t help it. She looked so tired. How much had she taken on herself? Raising Cora on her own, going back to school, working every other minute of her day from what Jason had told him.

“I could watch her for you,” he said before he’d thought it through.

Her eyes finally met his, and it felt like it sucked all the air from his lungs. Why did she always have this effect on him. She’d made it clear she didn’t feel the same. So, why did he have to torture himself this way?

“That’s nice of you, but she already has a babysitter. We need to get going, so I can make it to class in time, though.”

“If you let me watch her, you can cut out an extra stop. I really don’t mind, Kirsten.”

She sucked in a breath, but her lips pressed into a thin line. Before she could respond, Cora said, “Please, Mommy. I can help Uncle Ry find a gift. Then, maybe he can teach me to paint. He said he would.”

He had made her that promise a couple months ago at Jason and Connie’s wedding. But, he hadn’t been able to get in touch with Kirsten to keep that promise. “I’d like to do that,” he said, looking straight at Kirsten. There was a lot more he’d like to do, but if lending a hand with this was all she’d accept for now, he’d take it.

“Fine,” she said. “I’ll be able to pick her up by dinner time.”

Which would work out perfectly, if he could convince her to let him take them both out for dinner when she got there. He wouldn’t push her, but he wasn’t going to give up either.

Writing Wednesday: Off and Running

So, December has started off quite well. I set up my daily goals so I could finish edits on Flames of Redemption by the end of this week, but I thought this would be a struggle. Not so much. It’s 5 a.m. on Wednesday and I’m almost through Chapter 25, right on track. I have 1 more scene to go, and I’ll be done with today’s planned chapters(Edited: and by just after 6, I had Chapter 25 finished). So, far this week I’ve been able to get started on the next day’s goals early. I like the fact this is going so smoothly. Focusing on only 1 main project really seems to be working for me.

Before I get to my RoW80 progress, a WiPPet snippet. I’m finished drafting Scars and All, but I’m going to keep sharing from it here since I’m only working on edits this month. I have 12 paragraphs(for the month) from Chapter 4(3-2-1+0+4).

“It’s good to have you back in town,” Lila said, looping her arm through Cassie’s and leading her down the sidewalk. “I never realized how much I missed everybody until I came back here.”
Cassie’s steps faltered at that. “I’m not here to stay, Lila. You know that, right? I’m only here for the summer.” How long before she got fed up with repeating that?
“Then, I guess we’ll enjoy having you around for the summer. Where were you headed?”
“Nowhere in particular. I was just curious as to what’s changed around here since I’ve been gone.”
Lila’s laugh sounded like music. “Not a whole lot, Cassie. I’m sure you’ll recognize pretty much everything and everyone.”
“There is someone I didn’t recognize. The mechanic who came out for my car yesterday when it broke down out by the Dairy Inn.” She paused. “Actually he said he owned it now.”
Lila’s smile spread. “You do know him. I remember you had a crush on him back when we were sophomores. Did you ever stop checking Doren out?”
Now, she froze. “That was Doren? He-”
“He’s changed a bit, hasn’t he? On the outside anyway.”
“He has a dragon on his throat.”
Lila laughed again. “That’s not it. I guess you never heard though.”
Cassie was starting to think there were a lot of stories that were going to start that way, until she learned everything that had happened in the years she’d been gone. “No, I didn’t.”

So, what is Doren’s story? You’ll have to wait and see. Meanwhile, take a peak at the other snippets.


  • Flames of Redemption: Finish edits – On track. I’ve added a little over 700 words to it so far this week.
  • At Her Hands – Character Work – wrote out character goals/motivations/conflicts for each of the main characters. Also, wrote the protagonist’s back story. Didn’t know until I started writing it, how tragic it was. This line: “I loved Tommy so much, but apparently my love was cursed.” kind of sums it up.
  • Read: Falling for Autumn(Heather Topham Wood), Vanilla on Top(C.J. Ellisson), & Violet Midnight(Allie Burke) Enjoyed both of the books I’ve finished, although Vanilla had me rolling my eyes a couple times. Haven’t really got into Violet Midnight yet, but I just started it. Also, finished listening to The Retribution of Mara Dyer yesterday and wow, did that take my emotions on a rollercoaster ride. I may need a fun, light listen after that one.
  • Crochet: Finish Owl – finished this Sunday, actually. IMG_0299
  • Crochet: Flower Hot Pad – I have this started, just one row worked around each of the petals so far.

How is your December going so far?

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