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Stream of Consciousness Saturday: “Better Hope”

Welcome back for another Stream of Consciousness Saturday. I wasn’t quite sure what I’d use the prompt for this week, as I’ve met all my goals for the week already. Then, Linda commented on last week’s post, saying it made her want to read more. So, more Brann & Jaya it is. There’s a scene between last week’s and this one, but this one has us back in Brann’s POV, using the prompt of a word containing ‘ho’

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“That boy better hope he knows what he’s doing,” Mark muttered next to Caitie.

Brann looked out to the dance floor where his brother-in-law was staring. There she was, and she was dancing with one of the firefighters. He didn’t get what the problem was. She was allowed to dance with her date, right? She was a grown woman. he took a sip of his scotch. Yeah, she definitely looked like a grown woman.

Caitie patted Mark’s arm. “Don’t worry so much. he and Jess will figure this out.”

“Jess? That’s her name?” Brann asked before he’d planned to say the words. He felt his sister’s gaze on him and looked down into his glass.

“No,” she said, drawing out the word, and he was sure there was laughter in it. Okay, so he hadn’t been too subtle with his staring since her and that boy came out on the dance floor. “You’ve met Jess Hunter, remember. Nolan’s little sister.”

Right, Nolan, Mark’s best friend, practically a brother. So, since Mark had been welcomed into their family because of Caitie so had Nolan’s family.

Mark picked it up. “Jess and Austin have had an on and off thing going for a while. We never know where it stands. Though, if it was up to him, it would always be on, I think. and now, he’s dragging Jaya into it.”

“Jaya,” he murmured, liking the way the name sounded on his tongue. “Her date doesn’t mind?”

Caitie snorted. “Smooth, Brann, really smooth. And she’s not here with anyone.”

“But, I saw her sitting there with all the firefighters.”

“You know,” Mark said easily, “Kayla would kick your ass for assuming she wasn’t one of them.”

She hadn’t been dressed like the rest of the firefighters. And he’d caught his cousin’s wife’s temper before, so hopefully none of them would mention this. “Is she?”

Mark laughed. “No. She is a paramedic with the department, though. And she has a rule about not dating firefighters. She’s made that clear to anyone who’s tried to ask her.”

“Did you?” Caitie asked, poking him in the chest.

He held his hands up and laughed then drew her up for a kiss. Brann realized someone was standing beside him and turned to look. There was Jess Hunter, and she was scowling out at the dance floor. Brann hid his smile with another sip of scotch. Mark and Caitie seemed to be on to something.

Then, the song was over. Jaya leaned in close to Austin’s ear, but they were too far away for Brann to know what was really going on. Then, she was headed their way. His mouth went dry and his hands wet as he watched her approach. He took another sip to try to fix at least one of those issues. Then, she was right there in front of them and Caitie was grabbing her for an enthusiastic hug. Caitie did almost everything enthusiastically.

“Jaya,” Caitie said as she pulled away, “this is my second oldest brother, Brann. I know you’ve met Cormac before. Brann,” she said before Jaya could say anything about their oldest brother, “this is Jaya Mertz.”

Just barely he heard Mark murmur in her ear, “No matchmaking at our wedding.” But, Caitie only grinned.

Brann didn’t care about any of that as he took her hand. He didn’t want to let go. So, he asked, “Care to dance?”

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Screen

Today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt is “screen” to use any way we want. I only have one more secondary project on my list to get done; one that’s been plotted for a while but I still haven’t started writing. At least the beginning of it takes place during the same time as Closing Time, which I just finished the first draft for.

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Brann Magaldi leaned against the wall, watching. His sister was a little busy right now, dancing circles around her new husband, but he was sure she’d be over soon enough to tell him to stop brooding. he wasn’t, not really. Just not in the desire to be in the middle of all this. He slipped his phone out and glanced at the screen. He’d resisted the urge to do that most of the night. No work tonight. That was the order their mother had given both him and his older brother. It wasn’t like either of them were on duty or even on call.

But, this case. It was driving him mad. It wasn’t even his case. He knew what his captain would tell him. He wasn’t a detective; it wasn’t his place to try to solve the crimes. But, the victims seemed to keep piling up. None of them saw their attacker. All of them woke up missing money, one had even had his boots stolen. None of them would be considered innocent by most people, but that didn’t change anything for Brann. He still wanted to stop whoever was going after them.

He felt a nudge to his side and almost dropped his phone. “Enough with the dour looks, brother,” Caitie said, grinning up at him. “It’s my wedding. We’re supposed to be celebrating.”

He put his phone away and tried to put away everything else as well, smiling at her. “I know, and you look beautiful. Radiant, even.”

Her grin widened then she tugged on his hand. “Come on. Dance. Enjoy the party. It’s the best gift you could give me.”

He cupped her cheek and kissed her forehead. “I’d give you whatever you deserve, sweet Caitie. But, you know you’d hate every minute of it if someone tried to pamper you.”

She laughed at that. “You do know me well, Brann. How about just one dance?”

“You don’t want me to dance with you. I’ll just step all over your feet.”

That brought out another laugh. “I think my feet are immune by now. I have been dancing with Mark. They may have erected a shield around themselves now.”

Brann let out a loud laugh at that. Mark might be a lot of things, strong brave, honorable, but graceful wasn’t among them. Especially around Caitie. “I think I’ll go get a drink instead of tormenting your feet some more.”

He left her with a kiss on the cheek and headed over to the bar in the corner of the room. it looked pretty slow there right now, only one other person waiting for a drink. His brother stood behind the bar, saying something to the bartender working with him. Brann knew Caitie had not asked Gio to work the wedding. She’d wanted a couple of his bartenders to work, since the one they’d hired had fallen through at the last minute. she’d been surprised when he showed up to work with just one other bartender, who had gotten set up while Gio was at the wedding itself.

It was always hard to figure out what Gio was thinking, and why he did things the way he did.

Now, though, from the way the other bartender flushed and looked quickly away from Gio, Brann could figure why he’d chosen this one to come with him. Just a flirtation, Brann told himself. Gio was like that, flirted with pretty much everyone. But, he thought he saw something in his brother’s eyes as he looked at the bartender. it made him a little uneasy. They all knew about the man’s past, what he’d done to someone they all considered close to family. But none of them had told Gio. It didn’t have any effect on how he did his job, but the way they interacted now worried Brann. What if he ended up hurting Gio, too?

A cheer going up from a nearby table drew his attention away from the bar. Mark and Caitie now stood in front of a table filled with people in dress uniforms. Almost all of them firefighters. At the other end, a couple were in different uniforms. Marine dress blues. Must be some of Mark’s old friends from his days in the Corps. But, it was the firefighters cheering now as Caitie straightened from the dip Mark had her in and leapt up to wrap her legs around his waist and continue the kiss he’d started. Brann started to turn away, he did not need to see his sister with her tongue down her husband’s throat or the way his hands–yeah, not even letting his thoughts go there.

But, someone else at the table caught his eye. Her black hair fell straight down her back. She wasn’t in a uniform, either, but a glimmering silver dress that seemed to hug around her. Her light brown skin seemed to glow against it. His breath caught as he stared at her. he had to get control of himself. She was sitting between two of the firefighters, and was most likely with one of them. He would never be the one to try to break up a relationship. Now matter how much he was instantly attracted to a woman.

It had never happened that fast before, though. But, he still told himself he could ignore it. So, he turned back to the bar and headed toward his brother. Who was laughing at something the other bartender must have said. Gio’s flirtations might make him uneasy, but he could deal with that more than lusting for a woman he couldn’t have.

He glanced back once and saw the woman put her hand on one of the men’s arms. He jerked his gaze back around.

He could really use that drink after all.

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