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Stream of Consciousness Saturday: ‘Long’

Today’s Stream of Consciousness post is brought to you by the prompt of ‘long’. It’s a long holiday weekend here, but that’s not what I’m going to write about. Of course not. I’ve got fiction on my brain(which shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of you who have stopped by here before). So, this will actually be referencing something that’s about to happen in Shed Some Light(I may have shared some from Carlos & Tereza’s story before). This part won’t likely end up in the actual story, though. But, Toby’s story will be in the works once I finish Shed Some Light.

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Toby knocked on the door but didn’t wait for an answer before he stepped inside. The woman at the sink didn’t turn to look at him, so he walked right over and wrapped his arm around her waist, kissing the top of her head. “How are you, mama?”

She turned toward him and smiled, but he could see the worry lurking in her eyes. “I’m fine now,” she said. “You’re here.”

It was her standard response, and he got it. He had a job that could be dangerous, and after all the grief he’d caused her growing up, she still worried about him all the time. “You know I’ve spent most of this week sitting at my desk. It’s not all chasing down bad guys.”

She let out a little laugh and leaned into him. “I’ll still worry. It’s my job.”

But, she hadn’t always done so well at her job. And just as she’d started getting things back on track, he’d started getting into trouble. And if what Tereza had told him earlier was true, she’d once completely abandoned her job. “I wanted to talk to you about something,” he said, taking a step back.

She must have sensed something in his voice because she tensed at that. “Take your shoes off if you’re staying. I taught you better than that.”

Oh, yes, the rules. What she clung to when she was afraid she was losing her grip on control. “You also taught me not to lie, Mama,” he said as he toes off his shoes. “But, you’ve been doing that for a long time, haven’t you.”

She’d been putting some cookies on a plate, but her hand froze at that. He could see it tremble as she went to put the lid back on the cookie jar. The last twenty years it had been full of at least one kind of cookie or another. “I don’t know what you mean by that, Tobias. It is an awful accusation to make, though.”

He hadn’t wanted to. He hadn’t wanted to believe Tereza. But, she wasn’t one to lie. And the picture she’d had in her wallet looked just like his mother would have thirty years ago. Still, it wasn’t easy to say the words. Finally, he went with, “You always told me I’m the oldest, but that’s not true, is it?”

“What are you talking about?” she asked, a little too lightly. She apparently forgot that he interrogated criminals for a living. He knew the signs when someone was lying. “Your brother and sister should be getting home from school soon.”

His half brother and sister from the only good man his mother had probably ever known. And he’d left them, too. Not by his own choice. The man who had wanted the bit of money he carried and his watch had taken care of that. Toby had been a rookie patrol officer at the time. But, he’d known then where he wanted to go in the department.

He wet his dry lips with the iced tea his mother put in front of him before looking up at her again. He’d been afraid his stepfather’s death would send her into a spiral again, but she’d been stronger after several stints in rehab. Thank God. “I’m talking about Tereza,” he finally said. “I’m talking about my older sister.”

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Well…I didn’t even know that bit about Toby’s stepdad, or his half-siblings, until I wrote this. Will have to remember when I start writing out his back story.

Fiction Friday: Into the Sun – Chapter 6

I’ve been busy scribbling down words the last few days since JuNoWriMo has just started. I’m working on 6 different WiPs, because I’m a little crazy like that. But, for right now taking a little break to share Chapter 6 of Into the Sun with you all.

I walked down to the dining room in the morning, my head still spinning with the things I’d told Icarus. Did he really mean to get Mom away from there? What if she didn’t want to come? What if Henry came home and stopped him? It was too much to think about, and it kept me from getting much sleep.

Still trying to rub some of the grit out of my eye when I walked into the dining room, I had to drop my hand to hide a yawn. Conversation stilled as I headed for one of the tables.

“You don’t have to come down if you’re still sleepy,” Icarus said. “We don’t hold to much of a schedule here. You can get breakfast at any time.”

“It’s conditioned, sir,” I said then winced, remembering he’d told me to stop calling him that.

“As is that, I imagine,” Icarus said. “Still, you can go back up and sleep longer if you wish.”

“Wasn’t sleeping anyway,” I said as I sank into the chair beside Birdie. “Heard the bikes come back early this morning. You obviously didn’t sleep much either.” Yet, he looked perfectly refreshed.

He’d ridden out the night before shortly after we’d returned from our own ride. Bull, Hawk, and one other man, a lieutenant like Hawk, had ridden with him. They hadn’t said anything about where they were going, but Birdie and a few of the other members, seemed to know. Birdie had given Icarus a tight hug and warned him not to burn his wings. He assured her he had it handled, but it hadn’t wiped the worry from her face.

We spent most of the night together on the couch in the lounge, her body snuggled up against mine. I’d asked her what was wrong, where they’d gone, but she just said this was what they did. Like it made everything okay or her worry pointless.

Even now she tried not to look worried, but I could tell. I squeezed her arm and grabbed one of the plates that was in the middle of the table. Coming to breakfast with everyone else meant I didn’t have to have the cook make me something special. He always would, he’d assured me, but this was easier on everyone.

After filling my plate from the serving trays, I came back to my seat and pulled a newspaper closer to me. This had become a breakfast routine.

A headline near the bottom of the third page caught my attention. A drug dealer found dead by apparent overdose. I scanned the rest of the story, but there weren’t many details. Still awaiting results of tox screens, no signs of force, restraint. No leads. I glanced up, but Icarus concentrated on his own plate. Still, I could see a hint of smugness in the twist of his lips. I remembered his words from my first full day there. We get justice.

If you want to keep reading, the rest of the chapter’s up on Wattpad! Hope you’re enjoying it.

A-Z Challenge: J is for Joel Holland

J

Joel Holland walked into the kitchen and wrapped his arm around his wife’s waist. She had both hands submerged in the soapy water, but she still turned her head and smiled at him. Sometimes it surprised him how easy things were even after more than twenty years of marriage. “Where are the boys?” he asked.

“Jeff had football practice, then he was going over to Greg’s house to sleep over. Jarrett’s in his room. Painting, I think.”

Joel couldn’t quite stop the twist of his mouth at that. He still hadn’t figured out how two of his sons had such an artistic streak. Not that there was necessarily anything wrong with that, he supposed. “Neither Susan or Doren are coming home this weekend?”

Diana shook her head. “Doren’s taking Amy out to dinner tonight after his game. We probably won’t see him until Thanksgiving.”

“That’s not far now.” Pride nearly swelled his chest to bursting for his oldest son. And not just because he’d practically been a star since he walked out on the football field in high school. And even if he didn’t understand why he was pursuing an art major in college.

His wife dried her hands before turning to him. “And Susan said Kendall was planning to go over to the campus to visit her this weekend.”

That had a grin spreading across his face. “Those girls. They always have been inseparable, haven’t they? At least Sue’s going to school closer than Doren.”

“Yeah. Joel, about Sue and Ken.” His eyes narrowed, and he wasn’t sure he liked the worried look in her eyes. But, before she could elaborate, the phone rang from the other end of the counter.

He brushed a kiss over her lips then moved away to answer it. “Hello.”

“Is this Joel Holland?”

Something cold slithered over him, and he didn’t understand it. Just a solicitor. It had to be just a solicitor. “Yeah, that’s me.”

“This is Candace at Lock Haven Hospital. Doren Holland was brought in earlier tonight. He has you as an emergency contact.”

Everything came crashing to a halt. No. No,no, no. That couldn’t be right. “You’re wrong,” he said. “He’s not. My son was taking his girlfriend out tonight. Why would he be there?”

“There was an accident, Mr. Holland. Your son-” But, he wasn’t listening anymore. He looked up at Diana, saw the fear reflected back in her eyes. “Get the boys, Diana. And call Susan. We have to go.”

“What’s going on?” Diana asked.

He hadn’t even waited for the woman on the other end to tell him. Now, he ran a hand through his red hair. The same red hair he’d passed down to his oldest son. “There was an accident,” he finally said. “Doren’s in the hospital.”

“No,” she gasped. “How…how bad?”

“I don’t know.” He didn’t even know if the woman had said. “But, we need to get there.” He could feel it. This was bad. Something that could possibly change their lives forever.

***

Joel stood outside the parking garage and stared up at the hospital. It was late, and the street was mostly quiet. Still, he couldn’t seem to make his feet move forward to cross it.

“Are we gonna go or not, Dad?”

Jeff. Always with the attitude. Sometimes he didn’t have any idea what to do with him. But, still, he’d seen the fear in Jeff’s eyes when they picked him up from Greg’s and told him Doren was in the hospital. He’d always looked up to his big brother.

“We’re going,” he said, but still his feet didn’t move.

Diana put a hand on his arm. “Come on,” she said. “Maybe it’s not as bad as you’re fearing. We need to go in and see.”

He nodded, but it still felt like his steps were weighed down. When they got inside, Diana did the talking and pulled him along, until they were in a waiting room. At the nurse’s station, they had said a doctor should be by to talk to them. But, that was it. No hint of what the damage was. Of if he was even still alive.

No. He put a stop to that thinking right now.

“Sit down, Joel, please,” Diana said. It was only then he even realized he’d been pacing. He dropped into a chair, but he couldn’t stay still. His foot tapped out a quick beat, his fingers drumming along on the arm of the chair. Even that wasn’t enough. He was just pushing up from the chair again when a doctor stepped into the room.

He looked around the room before his gaze settled on them. “You’re the Hollands?” he asked softly. Gently.

That practically knocked all the air from Joel’s chest. No, no, no. That was the word that had repeated so many times in his head tonight. Diana squeezed his arm and stepped forward. “We are. What’s going on? My son? How’s my son?”

“He’s come through the surgery,” the doctor said.

Joel still couldn’t draw in a full breath, but he forced himself to ask, “Surgery for what?”

The doctor’s eyes narrowed. “They didn’t tell you when you were notified?

“I…I don’t know,” Joel stammered.

The doctor smiled sympathetically as if he understood. Maybe he did, had seen this from patient’s families before. When he had to inform them…No! He’d said Doren came through surgery. That had to mean he was okay. “What happened?” he asked.

“Your son was in a car accident. His right leg was crushed. He had to be cut out of the vehicle.” Joel heard Diana gasp beside him, but he couldn’t move, couldn’t speak. The doctor continued. “There were some other injuries, his seatbelt probably saved his life, but it also inflicted some damage. He has some head contusions as well.”

Joel didn’t even want to know what ‘some damage’ meant. “Can I see him?” It didn’t matter what the doctor said, he had to see Doren for himself.

“He won’t wake yet. His body took a lot of damage.”

“I don’t care. I need to see my son.”

The doctor nodded. “Someone will show you the way.”

Joel squeezed his wife’s hand then released it to hear down the hallway. He hesitated outside the door, suddenly unsure if he could handle seeing this. He knew he couldn’t once he stepped inside and saw his son laying on the hospital bed. His leg was elevated, looking like it was swollen nearly twice its normal size. Which was probably why it wasn’t in a cast. It looked a mess, even though the doctor said they’d repaired it. He hadn’t quite realized what crushed would mean. His face was bruised, and there was an ugly raw mark from the side of his neck down his chest, disappearing under the hospital gown he wore.

Joel dropped into the chair beside the bed and took his son’s hand. He had always fixed things: the front porch steps, Doren’s bike the first time he’d wrecked it, the little fights that cropped up between the children. He didn’t see any way he could fix this, though.

“Oh, God, Doren,” he cried, bending his head over his son’s hand. “God, I’m sorry.” His shoulders shook as he cried over his son’s broken body.

Note: In case anyone is too worried about Doren, he does get his own story about six years after this. Though, the fact Joel can’t fix this breaks something in their relationship for a while. But, it’s something they have to deal with in that story(which I’m hoping to have out either late this year or early next year), especially when his younger brother is in a similar position.

Fiction Friday: Alicia Cover Reveal

Today I have something special. A cover reveal for a fellow RoWer & WiPPeTeer!!

ALICIA
by Gloria Weber
Published by Solstice Publishing (Summer Solstice imprint)
Release Date: August 18, 2015

Alicia

Blurb:
Leon has decided it is better to remain silent and accused of Alicia’s murder than admit the truth. The truth, well… that’s so unbelievable it’s crazy. Not that Detective Dorndorf believes a word that comes out of Leon’s mouth. Dorndorf just wants a confession and figures dragging Leon to the last spot Alicia was seen might just pry it out of him. Will the detective’s plan work or will the truth come out?

Price: $0.99
Expected To Be Sold At: Amazon (for kindle) and Solstice Publishing’s website (http://solsticepublishing.com/)

And some teasers:

aliciapromomissing2

aliciapromolove2

Even a trailer:

Bio:
Gloria Weber lives in Ohio with her husband, son, daughter, and many pets. She has been writing for publication since March 2006 with over a dozen titles published. Her favorite letter is L.

Website: http://gloriaweber.wordpress.com/
Twitter: @GloriaWeber ~ http://twitter.com/GloriaWeber
G+: http://plus.google.com/107706782152210234267/posts
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GloriaWeberWriter
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/GloriaWeber

Fiction Friday

Time for another installment of Garren’s story. Things are starting to go bad now. If you want to catch up, all the previous scenes are here. If you’re already caught up, enjoy! There’s only 4 more scenes left after this.

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Garren attempted to push down his irritation before he even stepped out of the car. He hadn’t even gotten eight hours of sleep. What he had gotten had been broken. This was going to be a long night. Maybe tomorrow he would just sleep all day.
Finally he stepped out of the car. He didn’t have any more time anyway. When he reached the house, he was surprised to see Marshal Berenak standing just inside the door. “I didn’t expect you to be here.”
“I figured it was the least I could do with having to pull you in like this.” He seemed to study Garren for a moment. “You get any sleep at all?”
“Some.”
The marshal nodded. “Well, I’ll be getting out of here.” He started away then paused. “Oh, your detective was by earlier.”
“Mic-” He stopped himself. “Detective McRoy.”
There was a slight smirk on the man’s face. He’d caught the slip. “You two know each other away from the job?”
Garren wiped his hands on his pants. He always hated when this came up. Like it had any bearing on anything. “Him and my father are friends. I’ve known him since I was a boy.”
“That explains his concern for you.” He didn’t notice any judgment in the man’s face, like he thought it got him any sort of special treatment on a case. Obviously it didn’t if he was here. Michael’s concerns had just been brushed aside. “Anyway, he was here and seems to be getting closer to closing this.”
“Good.” Then, he could get back to his real job.
The marshal nodded. “Like I said, I’ll be going now.”
Garren waited until he’d left before turning around. Jonah and Michelle stood in the doorway to the kitchen. Both seemed to be sneering at him. “I don’t like you,” the little girl said.
I don’t care much for you either. The words were right there on the tip of his tongue, but he bit them back. Instead he ignored her and moved to the windows, checking to make sure they were secure. He did the same with all the windows, making sure the shades were pulled, throughout the first floor, as well as checking the locks on the doors. He’d been told on the first day that the second floor was off limits. There wasn’t anyway for someone to get in there anyway.
When he returned to the living room, he saw Jonah standing in front of that damn picture window again. He cold feel the growl building in his throat. He started to think the man did it just to annoy him. He started forward but stopped when Mary stepped into the room with Michelle.
“Tell your father good night, Michelle. It’s time for bed.”
“I don’t wanna go to bed though,” the girl whined.
Garren couldn’t keep his lips from twitching. As much as she had been a pain in his ass since this detail started, she was just a little girl. Not too much different than his sister a few years ago. A lot more spoiled, but overall not that different. And he couldn’t blame her for the way her father acted. Or even for the fact that she seemed to share his opinion. At that age, he would have been the same way.
“I know you don’t want to, but we have a big day tomorrow.” The girl made a face as her mother added, “School shopping.” Then, the woman laughed. “Come on, Michelle. You know you love it. And we’ll go out for lunch. Wherever you want. But, right now, it’s time for bed.”
He’d have to check and make sure they’d been cleared for the shopping trip. There wasn’t much point in him being here if they were always going off somewhere. Michelle dragged her feet, but moved over to her father and waited for him to bend down. He only stooped long enough for a brush of lips over his cheek before standing and turning back to the window. No embrace, no wish for a good night. That had never been the routine in his home.
Garren shuddered at the coldness of it.
Then, Mary led Michelle out of the room and toward the stairs. Garren turned back toward Jonah, saw the man was staring out the window again. He took a few steps forward. He had long legs, and it didn’t take many strides to cross the room. “Get away from the damn window,” he said, reaching again for the shades.
Jonah reached out and pushed him away. “Don’t tell me what to do in my own house, boy.”
“I’m only here because you asked for protection. You’re making it damn hard to do that.” As his anger rose, he forgot his usual reluctance for swearing.
“And don’t swear at me in my house. I don’t have to stand for that. If you were more of a cop, you’d-”
Garren wasn’t listening to him anymore. Something wasn’t right. He didn’t know what it was, but there was a tingling at the back of his neck. It had the hairs there standing on end. “Get away from the window,” he growled.
Jonah cursed as he turned on Garren. “Don’t you dare-”
He couldn’t even finish the threat as the world exploded.

Fiction Friday

If you’re just tuning in, you can get caught up on Garren’s story here. If you’re all caught up, or have been following along, here’s the next installment.

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Garren stepped out of his car and shielded his eyes against the sun. Again he wondered why he’d let himself drink so much. His eyes watered against the glare of the sun, and his head pounded. It was still early so he’d probably be able to find his father in the barns. He wasn’t so sure he wanted to though. He knew his father would recognize the symptoms. He’d had more than one lecture about drinking too much. He really didn’t want another.
Instead, he turned toward the house. He didn’t usually get judgment from his mother.
He stepped into the kitchen, and she turned from the sink. Her smile instantly faded. “Oh, Garren, what did you do?”
“What makes you think I did anything?” He asked, but slumped into a chair at the table.
She didn’t answer him. “Is your head hurting? Did you already take something?”
“It’s fine, Mom. I’m fine,” he said when she came toward him. “I met Kyle, Geoff, and Ginny for a couple drinks last night. I just had one too many. I’m fine. It’ll pass.”
She stepped back, but he could still see the worry on her face. Maybe he should have just gone to see his father. The lecture would have been better than this. He heard heavy steps on the porch and cringed. Never mind. Dealing with his father’s lecture and mother’s worry all at once were the worst possible outcome. He should have just stayed home.
He dropped his forehead into one hand as the door swung open. “Elizabeth,” his father said as soon as he stepped inside, “I saw Garren’s car. Is he-?”
Either she had stopped him, or he had seen Garren sitting at the table because he stopped mid-sentence. The silence that followed was almost smothering. “I hope you didn’t drive in that condition.”
The words sounded hard, but when he looked up, his father’s face was tight with worry. “I’m not drunk, Dad. Just a little hungover. And I was fine last night when I drove home.”
That only made his father’s face pull even tighter. “You shouldn’t drive when you’ve even had one drink. Are you ever going to learn that? Or am I going to have to bury you too?”
Garren sucked in a breath. His grandfather. He’d never met the man because he’d demolished his truck against a brick wall, killing himself in the process, more than a year before Garren was born. “Dad-”
His father stopped him with with a wave of his hand. Then, he ran that same hand over his face. “No. I’m sorry. I really wish you wouldn’t drink so much though, Garren. I really wish you wouldn’t drink at all.”
His stomach twisted and turned. Was his father trying to say he was an alcoholic? No, he couldn’t think that, could he? “I was just having a good time with some friends, Dad. It’s not like I do it all the time.”
“No, just a little too often. What are you going to do if it costs you your job?”
His face blanched at the question. “That’s not gonna happen, Dad. I have it all under control.”
His father was silent for a moment then he turned away. “Is lunch ready, Elizabeth?”
“Almost.” She rested her hand on his shoulder for a moment then turned toward the counter. “I hope you’ll stay too, Garren.”
He cast a look at his father then turned his attention back to her. “Of course. Better than whatever I’d fix.”

Fiction Friday

Here is installment four of Garren’s story. You can read the first, second, and third if you aren’t caught up. 🙂

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Garren stepped out of the car and walked toward the house. He’d been told to come in plain clothes, but it didn’t feel right. It was summer, so it was harder to conceal his weapon. It wouldn’t bother him if he was in uniform. But, he didn’t usually carry a weapon if he was off duty. Being in plain clothes felt too much like being off duty. He wiped his hands on his pants before stepping up and knocking on the door.
Why was he nervous? He’d faced worse things than a family in an affluent neighborhood.
The door opened, and he saw the senior marshal, standing there. Garren let out a breath. At least he was here for the initial shift. The man had made him feel a little at ease in the commander’s office the day before. “Come in, Officer Alexander.”
He stepped inside with the marshal and saw another officer saying good-bye to a little girl. He knew the man’s name, Hersch, and his reputation. He’d never worked with him before though. But, he was known as a good cop. That’s all Garren needed to know. When he turned around, the officer seemed surprised to see him. “Why did they send you?”
Garren shrugged. “The deputy chief requested me. Do you have a problem with it?” He knew he was still considered a rookie even though he’d been with the department more than a year. Sometimes it rankled, but it just meant he had to work a little harder to prove himself.
The officer shook his head. “Not up to me. I’m out though. Officer Mackel will be by to relieve you in twelve hours. Then, I’ll take over from him. And on and on.” There was a slight smirk on the man’s face, but he didn’t look that amused.
“Right. I’ll see you in thirty-six hours then.”
The man’s smile widened slightly then he turned and left the house. Garren turned back to the marshal who led him forward. “Officer Alexander, this is Mary Wilkers.”
He smiled at the woman, who looked to be just a few years younger than his own mother. “Garren Alexander, Ma’am.”
She returned his smile and held out her hand. “It’s so nice to meet such a polite young man.”
He could feel his cheeks heat at her words. Then, a man was pushing forward. “And this is Jonah Wilkers,” he said, his voice changing, going a little harder.
Jonah barely even looked at Garren though. “A boy, Marshal Berenak? Seriously. Why would you send a boy here? I don’t need someone playing cops and robbers.”
Garren’s face paled, but he saw the marshal’s eyes sharpen. “Mr. Wilkers, you asked us for protection. We brought together three officers who have the kind of evaluations that would earn commendations. He may be young, but Officer Alexander’s name is right at the top of that list. He’s here for the next twelve hours, so you should get used to it.”
Something went through him at the officer’s words. Pride and a little bit of dread. Would he be able to live up to the man’s opinion of him?
“I’ll make a call and that will change.”
“Your friendship with the mayor will only get you so far, Wilkers. The deputy chief personally appointed him to this detail. You can call the commissioner if you’d like, and that’s not likely to change.”
“I’ll not count on a boy’s protection. I want a real cop here.”
Garren stepped forward. “You have me. And I am a real cop. I signed on to protect and serve. That’s what I’m here to do.”
Jonah turned his scowl on him again but turned away after a minute. “Insolent little brat,” he muttered.
“Right. I’ll be going then,” Marshal Berenak said. “I have a man staked out. We just need you inside with them.”
Garren nodded. They’d already been over this. When the marshal had left, Garren turned around and nearly toppled over the young girl.
“You shouldn’t talk to my daddy like that,” she said.
He studied her for a moment. Her dark hair was pulled back into a tight braid at the back of her head. It set the rest of her features at a sharp angle. He thought she might be a cute girl, maybe ten years old, if she didn’t look so severe. Her green eyes were just as sharp, and they looked out of place in such a young face. Currently they were hard, as she glared at him.
“Your daddy shouldn’t be talking to me like that.”
“He can talk any way he wants.”
“Michelle,” her mom said, taking her by the arm. “Leave the officer alone. He’s just here doing his job.” She offered Garren a slight smile, but it felt off. It seemed like she was used to keeping the peace. “You need to finish getting ready for your piano lesson. Then, you have that play”— she broke off at a glare from her daughter — “meet-up with Vanessa and Hillary.”
The girl stared at him for another minute then spun away. “Can we go shopping before we meet Vanessa and Hillary. I need some new clothes.”
The mother looked resigned. “You have a closetful but sure, whatever you want.”
“Always.” She smirked before moving away.
“I’m sorry, Officer,” Mary said.
He waved her off. “It’s fine. I’m just here to do a job. Did you clear this lesson and date with the marshals?”
She nodded. “We have a driver. We’ll be fine.”
There wasn’t much he could do about it anyway if they’d cleared it. So, he nodded and turned away. From what he’d observed so far, this detail couldn’t end soon enough.

Fiction Friday

This week brings us to the next installment of Garren’s(from Duty to Protect) back story and introduces us to some of his family. You can read installment one and two if you haven’t yet.

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Garren hadn’t had to worry about the paperwork. Wade had already taken care of it. He just had to sign off on all of it and clock out. Now, he was sitting in his patrol car outside his parents’ house. He didn’t know why he hadn’t gone inside yet. That meeting was still weighing on him. Why him? He couldn’t stop asking that question. Despite everything the deputy chief and commander had said, he didn’t quite buy it. There was no way he was the best they had. Sure he was a good cop. But, the best? It couldn’t be.
What about Wade? He’d been with the department a lot longer than he had. He had more experience. So, why had it been him?
Garren shook his head and ran his fingers through his hair. He needed to get it cut again. Maybe he could get his mother to do it for him while he was here. Of course he’d have to go inside for that. He took a breath and finally stepped out of the car. He’d been so preoccupied, he hadn’t noticed the other vehicle parked at the other end of the house. He recognized Michael’s truck. He hadn’t known he was coming out here tonight. It wasn’t unusual. He knew the detective had been friends with his father for a long time.
His parents probably already knew about his new assignment then.
He was surprised at the weight that took off his shoulders. Maybe that had been his problem. He hadn’t wanted to be the one to tell them. He knew his father didn’t like him being a cop. He’d made that clear when he’d joined the Academy instead of staying on the ranch. His little sister hadn’t been happy about it either. His mother had just hugged him. He knew she worried. He saw it in her eyes every time he came by the ranch. Which was most days. But, even more so when he talked about his job. He didn’t like to see her upset, so he didn’t talk about it too much.
He walked up onto the porch but didn’t knock before walking inside. He might have his own apartment now, but this was still home. His sister stood at the sink, another teenage girl next to her. Garren recognized her as one of Michael’s four daughters. Poor guy. He knew the oldest was married and the next was off to college. This must be the one Connie was in school with. He knew they were close. He walked up behind his sister and pulled on one of her long blond locks.
“Damn it, Garren,” she said, swinging around.
He laughed and shook a finger at her. “Don’t swear, Connie. I’ll tell Mom.”
She swung out and punched his shoulder. He winced and rubbed at it, but the smile didn’t leave his face. “I don’t understand why everyone thinks you’re so sweet.”
She stuck her tongue out at him then turned back to the sink and laughed at something the other girl whispered to her. “Where are Mom and Dad?” He asked.
“In the living room with Mike and Anna.”
He started to turn away but Connie asked, “Do you know if Geoff is coming for dinner too?”
He thought he heard something in her voice and narrowed his eyes as he looked back at her. “I don’t know. Why?”
She shrugged, but he was sure that had been disappointment in her eyes. “I was just wondering. You know, to see if I had to get another place setting ready.”
Garren hesitated then shook his head. He had probably imagined it. She was too young to be any thing other than a little sister figure to his best friend. He knew his friend hadn’t had any of his own. It was probably better than his mother bringing any other children into that miserable life. That thought brought a slice of sadness and guilt to him. Geoff had just buried his mother a couple years before. He knew his friend blamed himself. He’d left that house as soon as he turned eighteen, but he’d check in on his mother several times a week. It hadn’t been often enough. He found her at the bottom of the steps, bruises around her neck that couldn’t be explained by the fall.
His father was currently one year into a life sentence.
Garren shook away those thoughts. It wasn’t Geoff’s fault. It wasn’t his either. He hadn’t been at the Academy for more than a month when he’d gotten the call from Geoff. It was the first time he’d spoken to his friend since he’d told him he was going. Geoff didn’t like cops. His father had been friends with several, and because of them no one took him seriously when he said how much he and his mother suffered at his father’s hand. Every one had liked Ian Lawrence. Until his wife died.
Garren let out a shuddering breath and went to find his parents. He should have been here sooner so he could tell them. It wasn’t up to a fellow cop to do it. He stepped into the living room, and his parents turned toward him. By the smile on his mother’s face, he realized he’d been wrong. Michael must not have said anything.
“Garren,” she said, moving over to him. “I was starting to think you wouldn’t make it.”
He tried to push his worried thoughts away and worked up a smile for her. “Like I’d ever miss your cooking, Mom. I didn’t know it was a big thing though,” he said, his gaze skipping over to Michael again.
“It’s not.” She gave him a tight squeeze. “Mike and Anna just stopped by, and I invited them to stay for dinner.”
Anna stepped forward. “Liz, why don’t we go see how the girls are doing?”
His mother stepped back and smiled at him again then left with the other woman. Michael waited until they had left then turned to look at Garren. “You have some beer, right, Brendan. I could use one.”
“Sure, Mike, I’ll go get you one.”
“Naw, I can get it. You want one, Garren?”
He hesitated, knowing his father didn’t like it when he drank. He was of age though so he didn’t see what the big deal was. “Sure, Mike. Thanks.” He was pretty smart, he knew what the other man was doing. Giving him a couple minutes to tell his father what had happened. He’d take advantage of it.
He turned to his father. “I was called up to the commander’s office when my shift was over today.” Might as well jump right into it.
He saw the scowl disappear from his father’s face. “Why? Is something wrong?”
Garren shook his head. “They said I was at the top of their list of their best officers. I got a new assignment.”
“To where? Why would they move you out of your patrol district?”
He shook his head. “I’m not moving to another district.”
“What’s going on, Garren?”
He could hear a tremor in his father’s voice. “It’s nothing bad, Dad. You’ve heard about that drive-by and the witness, Jonah Wilkers, right?”
Brendan nodded. “Mike’s on that case. What about it? Are you working with him?”
Garren shook his head again. “Not exactly. Wilkers is demanding protection. The marshals unit doesn’t want to put out the manpower. So they want us to supplement what they’ll provide. They asked me to be a part of it.”
“What kind of thing is that to ask of you? You’re not a babysitter.”
The corner of Garren’s mouth twitched. “No, but the deputy chief asked it. I can’t really say no.”
Brendan rubbed a hand over his face then back over his head. “I don’t know what to think about this, Garren. You won’t be on the streets, but if this guy needs protection, I don’t see you being safe watching out for him.”
“I didn’t join the force to be safe, Dad. And I’m sure it won’t be a big deal. I’ll be rotating with a couple other officers. And there’ll be a marshal around. They just want someone inside with the family. A couple days and they’ll probably have the guy anyway.”
Brendan didn’t look too convinced. “So, you’re saying you probably won’t be around much.”
He gave a little nod. “We’ll be on twelve hour shifts. I’ll try to come by when I’m not on though.”
“All right. I’ll let your mom know.” He turned toward the kitchen just as Mike headed back in and handed them their beers. “Dinner ready?”
“Nearly,” Mike said.
“Good.” Brendan’s gaze shifted to Garren, narrowing as he took a swallow of the beer. Then, he turned back to his friend. “You gonna watch out for him?”
“Much as I can.”
“Good,” he said again.
Garren wanted to argue that he could take care of himself. He knew there was no point though. So, he let the beer slide down his throat instead.

Fictional Vs Real Towns

This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while: whether to use real towns/cities in my writing or if it’s better to create a fictional one. Or maybe does it depend on the story I’m writing? I have done both and have run into problems with both ways. So, I tried coming up with a list of pros and cons for both.

I used a fictional city for my WiP, Flames of Redemption(that I refer to as my fire WiP). I wanted to have it set around the area where I grew up and where I still live(two different towns but not too far apart). But, I didn’t want to commit to an actual town. I figured with making it up, I’d have some leeway on the details. But, would still have to keep it accurate for the area. But, I could still structure the city the way I wanted to.  Of course, on the other side of this, it means everything is pretty much up to me to create. While this can be a good thing, it also meant I couldn’t just research some of the details.

I’ve also used some real towns/cities. In the western novella I’m writing now, I’ve used towns that are actually on maps from that time. But, very little of that story has actually taken place in either of the towns. But, in the first of my connected series, Slow Revenge, I had planned to set it in Pueblo, Colorado. Not sure why I chose that particular city. I actually started writing this story about eight years ago. This was just a year or two after I’d gone out there with my best friend for a graduation present(from my dad) and fallen just a little in love with the place. That was also when I just loved to write, but didn’t know so much about the writing craft. The story itself changed a bit when I wrote it this time, but I still planned to set it in Pueblo. Except I didn’t do too much research before I started writing. And I had the police department organized completely different than how it really is. Once I realized that, I knew I would have to make some changes. It would take a complete overhaul, and some of the conflict would no longer make sense, to keep it there. But, I wanted to keep it in Colorado. So, I considered moving it to Colorado Springs, which would still take some changing, but not nearly as much, or I may end up making up a city as well. Or I might even end up moving it somewhere else. And I think that’s really the biggest disadvantage of basing a story in a real town or city. There’s always the chance someone will call you out on any thing that’s not true for that place, especially if they know it better than you do. Although, one of the positives is that it’s all ready structured. Although I suppose that could be a hindrance as well.

So, what do you choose to use in your writing? Do you like using real places? Or would you prefer to have more room to make up the details? And the more I think about it, and as I wrote this, I’m thinking I may prefer to use fictional ones.

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