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SOCS/Just Jot It January: Day 27 – “Movement”

Connor glided across the dance floor. At least that’s the way it looked to Ames. It was a beautiful sight. If only they were the one in his arms. Ames shook their head and turned away. They weren’t usually so fanciful. Not in a long time.

They weren’t jealous. It was something Ames kept repeating over and over,  hoping maybe it would sink in. He was dancing with his new sister-in-law. It wasn’t a big deal. Ames didn’t even like to dance. God, what was their problem?

Ames dropped into a chair at one of the tables. It had emptied out while it seemed everyone was dancing. They just needed to get steady again. He always seemed to throw them off.

But, when Ames looked back out at the dance floor, it was worse. Connor was no longer dancing with Megan. In fact, she was heading off the floor, right towards Ames. They continued to look past her, where Connor was still dancing. Now, with a little girl, maybe six years old, with blond curls, and bright green eyes that almost matched Connor’s. His brother’s daughter. And Megan’s.

“Kaelin wanted to dance with her uncle Con,” Megan said, dropping into a chair beside them, not seeming to care what it did to her dress. “And I could certainly do with getting off my feet for a little bit.”

“You looked like you were having fun out there.”

Megan laughed. “Oh, I was. Connor’s a good dancer. I’m surprised you haven’t found that out for yourself yet.” She didn’t look surprised, though. The look she shot Ames seemed all too knowing.

Ames kept their own gaze averted. They might work together occasionally, but Megan didn’t really know them.  Sometimes Ames didn’t think anyone really did. It was probably better that way. Except when Connor looked right into their eyes. Then, they weren’t sure there was anything better.

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Today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday/Just Jot It prompt was to use a movement. I decided to continue the last couple day’s backdrop of Callum’s wedding. These scenes will come in a little past the midway point of Flames of Knowledge.

Just Jot It January: Day 26 – “Address”

“Should we address that?” Connor asked Adrian, nodding toward Callum. Kayla had left the room, and they should be finishing getting ready. But, his brother looked like he was about to dig all his tattoos off his skin with his nails.

“Shit,” Adrian muttered.

Connor let out a little snort. “You really need to stop swearing in church, Adrian. What would Mom think?”

“Good thing she’s not in here, then.” Adrian headed toward their brother, and Connor followed. “Will you stop that?” he told Callum. “Unless you want Megan to give you first aid before you put that ring on her finger.”

“What if she changed her mind?” Callum didn’t look at either of his brothers, but his fingers finally stilled. “She’d be smart to. Just take Kaelin and Ayden and leave me before I screw everything up. Again.”

“Stop talking like that,” Adrian demanded.

But, Connor was studying his brother and saw the fear in his eyes. “What’s bringing this on?” he asked. “That woman loves you. She’s not just going to walk away. She promised you she wouldn’t.”

“She promised to stand beside me before and walked away.” Callum closed his eyes. “I don’t blame her. I wanted to walk away from me back then.”

“That was different,” Adrian argued. “You were in prison. She probably was smart to walk away then. You may not have cleaned yourself up the way you have if she didn’t. You aren’t the same guy anymore, though. Why can’t you see that when everyone else seems to be able to?”

“What if I’ve just dressed him up really well but that all ends up falling away now. I don’t want to hurt her, don’t want to hurt any of them.”

“Then, straighten yourself out,” Adrian said firmly, “and get ready to stand in the front of this church. She has faith in you. You need to have it in yourself, too. You’ve been clean for nearly three years. What makes you think that’s going to change now?”

“The thought is always there,” Callum admitted. “I fight it back, but it would be so easy to give in. I’ve done it before. If I did it again, I’d lose everything. But, sometimes I’m afraid that won’t be enough. Why wasn’t she smart enough to just walk away from me?”

“Because I’ve always been stupid about you, Callum Riley.”

“Jesus Christ,” Rian muttered from the other side of the room. “You two aren’t supposed to see each other before the wedding.”

Adrian nudged Connor. “Why aren’t you yelling at him? At least I didn’t take His name in vain.”

“He’s the oldest. He’s always been allowed to do what he wants.”

Adrian snickered, but Connor was watching Megan roll her eyes at Rian. “We’ve been living together for the last year. We have two children together. I doubt your superstitions have any hold over us at this point.” She turned back to Callum. “Yours, however…”

Connor almost thought his brother was going to cry. But, he wrapped his arms around Megan and held on. “I just don’t want to screw this up. And I’m so afraid I’m going to. I don’t want to hurt you. Or the kids.”

“Then, start talking to your therapist again, instead of rescheduling your appointments  all the time. We can go back to joint therapy if that’s what it takes to get you steady on your feet again. All I care about is keeping you here with me.” She pulled back then. “Now, go out there and I’ll see you in a few minutes so we can get this done and get on with the rest of our lives. Together.”

Connor nearly felt his brother’s tension ease with her words. He glanced through the door, but of course he couldn’t see all the way into the sanctuary. Was Ames out there? They said they would come. Did it even matter? What they had together was so new, there was no way to tell if it could be as strong as what each of his brothers, and his sister, had found.

That might be something they just had to address. Soon. But, not today. Today was all about Callum and Megan. Connor would put aside his own worries to celebrate that.

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Okay, that ended up a lot longer than I’d planned. Today’s Just Jot It prompt was “Address” by John Holton. Callum showed up in the first book of my Flames series(which was Adrian’s story) as the drug addict brother Adrian had arrested. He actually ended up with his own story(which is where he ran into Megan again and found out he had a daughter). He’s made a few more appearances in the other stories as well. But, he’s finally getting married. This follows right after yesterday’s post.

Just Jot It January: Day 25 – “Prediction”

“I’m going to make a prediction.”

“Do I really want to hear this?” Connor asked.

“Well, my last prediction proved wrong. We did not, in fact, have to bury Callum before he turned thirty-three.”

“Hey,” Callum said, looking hurt. “We’ve still got a few months left.” And he grinned. Because he certainly wasn’t going anywhere now. Except to walk down the aisle to marry the only woman he’d ever loved.

Their oldest brother, Rian, leaned into the group. “You’ve got to see, baby brother,” he said to Connor, “you’re the last of us left. It can only be about you.”

“We’re all married now, or will be within the next hour,” Rian added, nudging Callum. “The rest of us have procreated at least once.”

“You’re such a dork,” Adrian said with a snort. “Procreate? Who says shit like that?”

“Science teachers,” Kayla said as she stepped into the room and went to Adrian. He took their month-old daughter from her arms. “And scientists. You should hear the way Silas talks sometimes.”

“Well, your brother’s boyfriend is a dork, too,” Adrian said. Then, he nuzzled his daughter’s cheek. “Yes, Uncle Silas is a dork, isn’t he?” Her fingers closed around some of his hair and yanked, and he winced.

Kayla laughed and took Doreen back from him. “That’s what you get for badmouthing her favorite uncle.”

“Favorite?” Callum asked. “How can she have a favorite already? Especially when there are so many of us to choose from.”

Connor just stood back and watched as the banter continued. He was used to being here, watching everyone else. And usually he didn’t mind it. Why was this different then? He shrugged off the feeling and looked at the bright side. At least Adrian seemed to have forgotten whatever he was going to predict.

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Today’s Just Jot It January prompt was “prediction” brought to us by Dar. That one turned out longer than I thought it would be considering I had no idea what I was going to write when I first started. If you followed my Just Jot It posts last year, you may remember Silas from them. I used a lot of those while writing Playing with Fire back in April(funny, since I’m planning to work on Connor’s story during April this year).

Just Jot It January: Day 23 – “Color”

Connor took a step back from the easel. The color didn’t look quite right, but he wasn’t sure how to fix it. Did it need to be lighter? Maybe darker. No, that wasn’t the problem.

He tapped the end of the paintbrush against his chin as he studied what he’d done so far. Drops of paint splashed his arm and shirt. He glanced down but didn’t give it much thought. Just one more shirt he wouldn’t actually be able to wear out in public anymore.

That pile seemed to constantly be growing.

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Not much came to me for today’s Just Jot It prompt of “colour”(yes, I changed the spelling for my post, because, well, that’s how I and most of my characters spell it) brought to us by Supernatural Snark. But, it gives a little look into Connor, and the fact he is often splattered with paint. 😉

Just Jot It January: Day 22 – “Liberty”

“Liberty.”

Ames looked up from the tiny face to the nurse standing beside them. “What’s that?”

“Liberty. It’s what the mother said she wanted to name her if she was keeping her.”

Ames didn’t really care for the twisted look at the word ‘mother’ on the woman’s face. But, they kept their lips clamped shut. Connor didn’t have any such qualms apparently. “What’s that supposed to mean?” he demanded. “You practically put air quotes around mother. Even though she signed off on her rights, she still gave birth to this baby. She’s still her mother.”

“She’s nothing more than another addict.”

It was the wrong thing to say to Connor. “Yeah? And so is my brother. At least that’s how people seem to think of him even though he’s been clean for more than four years now. He has a good job, is married and raising the daughter that was born when he was in prison, and he didn’t know about, as well as their son. But, that’s not enough for some people.”

Ames put a hand on Connor’s arm. “That’s enough,” they said gently. Ames knew this was something Connor got worked up about, but they didn’t always know how to reel him back in. He seemed to have wound down, though.

“I’ve brought in plenty of those ‘just another addicts’ to this very hospital,” Ames told the woman. “That doesn’t give either of us any more right to judge them. You don’t know what brought them to that point. And I think they deserve more sympathy than disdain. After all, it’s not like you can snap your fingers and end an addiction. And the youngest victims of that addiction, like that baby right there, suffer from that attitude, too. At least her mother is giving her a chance at a better life, and one for herself too since she voluntarily signed herself into rehab. So, kindly take your bad attitude and leave us alone with our daughter.”

Connor put his arm around Ames’ shoulders and led them back over to where the infant slept on. “Cassidy Liberty Riley,” Connor said. “Has a ring to it, doesn’t it?”

Ames smiled and leaned into him, twining their fingers together. “It’s perfect.”

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Today’s Just Jot It January prompt was “liberty” brought to us by Capt Jill. While this wasn’t the first thing that popped into my head upon reading the prompt(that was actually “give me liberty or give me death”. Seriously. I’m an odd one, I know), it was there. Probably because after writing Saturday’s combined SOCS/Just Jot It, I was thinking about how Connor and Ames would start their family since Ames has no desire to ever be pregnant. This obviously won’t show up in the actual story(it will take place probably a year or so after that ends), but we may see it at some point later in the series(I have several of Connor’s cousins–he has a lot of them–lined up for their own stories).

Just Jot It January: Day 21 – “Silence”

Connor thought the silence was going to be enough to smother him. In his experience, this was not the way family dinners were supposed to be. There was supposed to be shouting, laughing, and just general noisiness. The only time his family’s table had been silent…no, it was better not to think of those times.

But, Ames didn’t act like anything was out of the usual. Everyone just kept on eating without a word being spoken. Even the kids, Ames’ nieces and nephews, none of who were older than ten, stayed quiet.

That was just unnatural.

He wanted to say something, he really did. But, every time he cleared his throat, Ames’ mother sent a sharp look his way. And he lost the thought. Their father had seemed friendlier, but even he held his tongue while they ate.

Finally, he couldn’t take it anymore. He turned to Ames’ sister, sitting on his other side. Emmalee, she’d introduced herself as when they first arrived. “Ames said you’re a baker. You run your own place. Did you make any of this?”

She seemed surprised for a moment then smiled at him. “I brought some of the desserts from the store.”

He grinned. “I’m sure they’re going to be delicious. My cousin, Gio’s boyfriend, Cam, can cook. But, I don’t think he’s ever made something quite like this. I bet he’d love the recipe, Mrs. Muerer.”

“He’d have to ask my husband then,” Ames’ mother said. Her face had softened, though. Maybe there was a way to get through all that armor after all.

He glanced to Ames’ father, who was grinning back at him. Yes, he just thought he might have found the way.

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Today’s Just Jot It January prompt was “silence” brought to us by Willow. I hadn’t been too sure about what to write for this prompt. I actually like silence myself, or at least quiet. But, family dinners have never quite been that way for me, and I didn’t even have the large family Connor does. I think this will take place after Flames of Knowledge ends. But, let’s just say Connor didn’t start off on quite the right foot with Ames’ family.

Just Jot It January: Day 19 – “Darkness”

Connor tapped the tip of his paintbrush against the flat of his palm. Dev wanted to see what was in his head? But how exactly did you paint darkness?

The corner of his mouth tipped up. A little dramatic there, aren’t we? 

He shook his head. There was more than darkness in there, and he tried not to let himself sink into it. Still, it happened sometimes. More than just sadness, but it never lasted long enough for it be considered something. 

He shook himself again. He wasn’t slipping toward that pit right now. He wasn’t going to let himself. And yet the black paint was the first he reached for.

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Today’s Just Jot It January prompt was “darkness” brought to us by Kerry. I think this is my shortest one so far. I’ve been in Connor’s place, though it’s never quite as easy as just not letting it happen(though it’s always been more of a numbness for me than darkness).

 

Just Jot It January: Day 18 – “Revolt”

“We’d better hurry this up before the little ones revolt.”

Connor laughed at the comment from his brother, Callum. His daughter, Kaelin, was one of the ones who looked about ready to take up arms against the adults keeping them from opening the presents. He couldn’t stop laughing as the image took hold in his mind. Ames looked at him from their position at his side and shook their head.

Connor’s parents walked into the living room finally. Good, everyone was here. They could get things started. The kids started to settle down in front of the tree, and his oldest nephew, Tyler, grabbed the first gift to hand out to one of his cousins.

Connor settled back with his arm around Ames. He always enjoyed this, seeing the joy on the kids’ faces, even when things got a bit chaotic. Which it always did with seven kids ripping into presents. Nine now, but the two youngest could barely hold their heads up, let alone open their own gifts.

Ames stroked a hand down his arm, and he leaned into their touch. Yes, he had a lot to celebrate this year, so he was just going to sit back and enjoy.

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Today’s Just Jot It January prompt was ‘Revolt’ brought to us by Sandra. I wasn’t quite sure what I’d do with this one. Until the first line popped into my head and made me think of Christmas mornings. Even with just six kids(from 6-14 in our case), it gets a little crazy. Especially when my nieces and nephew tend to be loud. I’m not being biased about my own kids, everyone mentions how quiet they are. This will probably happen after(or maybe at) the end of Flames of Knowledge. Which I’m just about finished plotting. I won’t actually start writing it until April, when I’ll hopefully be finished with all the drafts I’ve left hanging.

I finished one of those drafts yesterday, the one I started for this past NaNoWriMo, Green Hills & Smoky Fields(which will actually be the series title). So, I’m working on one that’s been giving me fits(By the Gun) since I started it until the end of the month. Then, I’ll pick up one of the others, and if I finish it before the end of next month, I’ll pick By the Gun up again.

Just Jot It January: Day 16 – “Contemplation”

“I knew you were there. You didn’t startle me.”

Ames stepped toward him. “You looked like you were in deep contemplation about something.”

He smiled as he lifted his head to look at them. “Just sketching,” he said. “I’d think you’d know by now I’m always aware of your presence.”

“And you say you are incapable of flirting.” They came over and wrapped an arm around his shoulders.

“Was that flirting? I thought I was just speaking the truth.”

They laughed and pressed their lips to the back of his neck. He felt heat flush through him at the touch, but he didn’t pull away. He liked when they touched him. Connor set his sketchbook away from him then turned to face Ames. “So, you came in to distract me, did you?”

“Thought you might appreciate it,” they said as he pulled them down onto his lap.

Oh, yes, he definitely appreciated it.

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Today’s Just Jot It January prompt is “Contemplation, brought to us by Cheryl. This wasn’t quite the direction I thought this one would take me. But, if I’d kept going, I might have had to open a window despite the cold temps outside. 😀

Just Jot It January: Day 15 – “Justice”

“Do I do it justice?” Connor asked, holding his arms out.

There was no answer, and he finally glanced up at his brothers and father. They were all staring back at him. “What? Did I button the vest up wrong or something?” He glanced down at the tux, but he couldn’t tell that anything was off. He looked back up again.

Only Callum wasn’t staring dumbly at him. “No, little brother,” he finally said, slapping a hand against Connor’s shoulder and squeezing slightly. “They’re just finally not ignoring the fact that you’ve actually grown up.”

Right. Sometimes he managed to forget that his whole family still thought of him as a little kid. He hadn’t chosen a grown up profession yet, just played around with his art. He didn’t think his family would ever see him as grown up, always the baby. As long at they let themselves forget that he hadn’t always been the baby.

Callum looked at him with sympathy, though. They’d stuck him in a box and it had taken him quite some time to break out of it, too. Then, Adrian stepped forward. “Well, since I’m the one who knows the most about justice, I can say that tux should be trying to do you justice not the other way around.” Adrian grinned then. “We’re going to make a fine picture standing up in front of that church. And I know fine pictures is something you know about, baby brother.”

Connor laughed then relaxed slightly. Maybe they were finally getting it after all.

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Today’s Just Jot It January prompt was “justice” by Barb. I had a couple different starting points pop into my head, but this is the one that stuck. Not sure if this will end up in the actual story or not, but they’re getting ready for Callum’s wedding.

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