Welcome back to Day 24 of Just Jot It January. I’ve skipped the last couple days. I had some vague ideas for the last two prompts, but nothing that formed into any actual words. So, I just didn’t write anything. Anyway, today’s prompt is compelled, brought to us by Willow.
I have a lot of stories in my head. And it seems more pop in all the time. Sometimes, as I write them, it actually feels like I’m writing them, making it all up. Then, other times, they just pour out of me. It’s more like the characters are telling me the story, and I’m just trying to keep up with transcribing it. These are some of my favorite to write, even if it can be a bit exhausting.
The first I can remember being like this, was Flames of Retribution, which I’ve just finished doing a second round of revisions on. The words only stopped rolling one time, because a side character revealed something about himself that I hadn’t been prepared for. Once I adjusted to that reveal(much as the main character needed to), the story rolled right on until the end. The other books in the series have rolled out much the same way. There’s just something about these characters.
The bedroom door creaked, and he turned toward the front door. He had no desire to see whoever Nolan had spent the night with. “I’ll see you later.”
As he opened the front door, he heard, “Nolan, you coming back to bed?” He nearly froze in the doorway. That hadn’t been a woman’s voice. He didn’t turn back, waiting until he was on the sidewalk to increase his pace to a jog.
His best friend was not gay. He knew that. He’d seen him with women, knew he brought them home. Did he bring men home too?
Did it matter? It didn’t change anything about the man his best friend was. Did it?
He picked up his pace. He couldn’t, didn’t want to, think about this right now. He’d finish his workout then head into the hospital. He wanted to be back at the apartment before Adrian brought Caitie home.
I also wrote this, and what led up to it, in a separate “short” story(if you can count 10k as still a short story).
Then, there’s the side characters that sometimes pop up. I think they’re just throwaway characters. And then they start talking to me, telling me they have a story to tell. Leo Rusak, from my Gilbert, CO series, was one of these. I really hadn’t been planning to tell his, and then I wrote My Way to You in 7 days. All 36,237 words of it.
She’d caught a glimpse of who Leo was talking about. “The guy Dad hired? Jensen?” That was his name, right?
“Jason,” he corrected softly. “So, you’ve already met him.”
“Kind of. He helped me up to the house yesterday when I got hit with a headache. He came out to the barn while I was there. We talked for a few minutes. He seems nice.”
A smile played around his lips, and her own lips turned down into a frown. “It’s not like that, Leo. He wouldn’t be interested in me, anyway.”
“What makes you say that?”
“Look at him.”
“Oh, I have,” he said, that smile still floating on his face. “Do you think Bryan will be jealous?”
Connie laughed and slapped at his arm. “You’re bad, Leo.”
This was when Leo popped up in Chasing the Ghost. My Way to You starts shortly after Chasing ends and then goes back in the past to when Leo and Bryan first meet. I really liked telling their story.
Another side character, Xavier (no last name yet), who showed up in Guarding the Heart(the first in my BC Security series – and yes, I have a lot of series), was another who surprised me and compelled me to tell their stories.
“Xavier. I didn’t know you were still here.”
He turned from the stove with a grin for her. “I’ve had the boss’s cooking before. I figured I’d save you that experience.”
“I’m right here, X,” Casey said from the table, and she froze in the middle of her laugh. “You don’t really need to insult me.”
Xavier flicked his gaze to Casey, where it lingered for just a moment before turning back to the stove. “Yeah. I see ya.”
Emelyn looked between them, awareness dawning. Casey seemed oblivious to the tone in the man’s voice or that look, though. She moved over toward the stove. “Need help with anything?” she asked, reaching over to squeeze the hand he had clenched against the counter.
He looked over at her, and saw the moment realization hit him. He glanced away, but she saw his throat move as he swallowed. “Nope,” he said, keeping his voice light. “It’s just about ready. All you gotta do is eat.”
She nodded and moved over to the coffeepot and saw there was already a cup sitting in front of it. Since the two men already had their own, she assumed this one had been set out for her. She wondered who she had to thank for that. But, by the small thing of milk and sugar sitting beside it, she thought she knew. Xavier didn’t know how she took her coffee.
When Xavier slid a plate in front of her, she dug into the eggs with small pieces of ham and potato mixed in. She hummed at the first taste. It had just a little bite to it. Perfect. “You have to tell me your secret,” she said, looking right at Xavier. “I promise I won’t tell anyone.”
He looked back at her, and she saw the slight relaxing of his muscles as he got another meaning in her words. “Not a secret once someone else knows.”
And then there’s this when another character shows up, which tells me at least part of what their story(which will be the third in the series)
“Need anything, boss?” Xavier asked, and Casey saw him standing at the foot of the bed. His gaze was on the wall behind Casey. “If it’s time for you to take more meds, I can get them.”
“No. I’ve got time before I gotta take more. All I need is for you to get the bug out of your ass. I told you I don’t want you to resign or anything. So, you could at least make eye contact with me.”
The rest of the room had fallen silent, and a heavy weight settled on his chest. But, it was Piers who broke the tension, and Casey saw his eyes linger on Xavier a moment as he said, “We gonna bring the boy up to speed or spend the rest of the day bullshitting?”
The tension dissipated at that, and Xavier turned away. He walked toward the other side of the room, and again, Casey thought he saw a quick brush of Piers’ hand against Xavier’s arm. The younger man jerked away this time, though. And before Piers turned away, Casey was almost certain he saw a flash of hurt in his eyes. He’d probably imagined it, though. This concussion was making him read more into things.
I really loved these guys, especially when Dorian(even though I could have sworn I’d named him Declan at some point) and Piers showed up. They’ll be in the next stories a lot more. In fact, Dorian/Declan’s will be the next one I outline.