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Posts tagged ‘Heart of Christmas’

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: “March”

“Danica, you march right in there and apologize to your mama.”

Alaina glanced up at her brother’s voice, but it was the little girl who caught her attention. Her bottom lip was trembling, and tears were welling in her eyes. “I’m sorry, Declan.”

“I’m not the one you yelled at,” he said, but his voice was softening. “She didn’t deserve that, Dani. Go on and tell her you’re sorry. Everything will be fine.”

Alaina waited until the little girl dragged her feet back into the kitchen to approach her brother. He was still crouched down from facing his stepdaughter, and she put a hand on his shoulder. “You make a pretty great dad, Dec.”

He shook his head. “I don’t have a clue to what I’m doing. What if I mess it all up?”

“You did fine with me.”

He looked back at her then. “You were nearly sixteen at the time. There wasn’t much raising left to do. This is different. And I’m not.”

“What do you mean?”

“Not her father. Not really. She never really knew him and thank goodness for that.”

Alaina didn’t know a whole lot about the situation, except he’d been responsible for Declan being hurt over the summer. So, yeah, she could agree with him there. “You’re doing just fine,” she told him. But, she had to hold back a smile. She was pretty sure her brother was going to be surprised when he opened his gift from Eva and Dani on Christmas morning.

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Today’s prompt for the Stream of Consciousness post was “march” and that first sentence is what popped into  my head. I’m still plotting out Heart of Christmas, but I definitely think this will be included in it.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: “Man”

This was actually a perfect Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, “man”, for the dialogue that popped into my head the other day between a few characters. This will come near the end of Heart of Christmas, which I’ve been plotting.

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“Why would you want to do that?” Caelen asked Alaina. “What if I turn out like him?”

“Why would you? That man isn’t even your father.”

The words were soft, gentle, but he still flinched away from them. Just as he always had from the man himself. “Maybe not, but he’s the one that raised me. I don’t even know who my real father is because he had no interest in me. Just like my mother. Just like everyone in my life.”

Alaina opened her mouth as if to argue, but a voice behind them said, “That’s not true, little brother, and you know it.” Braeden stepped into the room, carrying something under one arm. “Not all the way true, at least. Not everyone has walked from you. I never did.”

The heat of shame flushed through him, leaving his face stained red, he was sure. “I’m sorry, Brae. I know, but-”

“But nothing. And you were too young to know everything going on in this house before she walked. I saw what he did when she told him she was pregnant with you. She left then and only came back then because the man she was with, your father, was being deployed, and she was afraid she wouldn’t be able to make it on her own. And Da was cruel to her, Cae. Every moment of every day. I’m surprised she managed to stick it out for five years.”

He saw Alaina’s brother, Declan, lift his head at the other side of the room at the mention of the man being deployed. But, Caelen couldn’t think about that. There was too much emotion rushing through him.

“She could have at least taken us with her.”

Braeden shook his head. “He never would have let me go, and she didn’t know if she could take care of herself, let alone either or the both of us.”

“How can you just forgive her?” He wasn’t sure he ever could. “She left us at his mercy. He beat you, too.” Usually because Braeden stepped in the way when he’d wanted to hurt Caelen.

“I’ve spoken to her. The day after I turned eighteen, in fact. He couldn’t do anything to me then.”

Caelen could only stare at him. Why hadn’t he known his brother had gone to the woman who had abandoned them? He was about to ask but Braeden continued before he could get a word out.

“She wasn’t in a good place, Cae. She’d been living with your father, but he’d been killed in action a little more than a year before that. She still wasn’t in a place to take care of any one but herself. I told her what life had been like for us, and I know she felt terrible, but she couldn’t face it. I did what I could to make him leave you alone because she couldn’t, Caelen.”

“Why didn’t you tell me before?”

“Because I didn’t want it to hurt you anymore. And you never showed any signs of being ready to forgive her for getting out of  a cocked up situation.”

“Why now then?”

“I visited her for Christmas. She gave me this for you. Even if you don’t want to speak with her, she wanted you to have something from him.”

Declan had made his way over to stand behind Alaina. Caelen flicked open the latch on the box Braeden set on the table. On the top sat a photo. He reached for it, ran his thumb over the woman, one he hadn’t seen in nearly two decades. He couldn’t bring himself to look at the man.

“Can I see that?” Declan asked.

“I don’t even know who he is. Having his picture won’t help.” But, he handed it over.

“I do,” Declan said softly. “I thought there was something familiar about you.”

Caelen’s head jerked up, and he stared at Declan. “What do you mean?”

Declan tapped the photo. “Caelen Mulroney. My father served with him. He wasn’t happy when Da decided to leave the army and move us to Texas to be with Mom and Alaina, but they stayed in touch. And we came back here for his funeral. I remember Da speaking to her. She’d started living with him about the time we left.”

“I remember,” Alaina said. “I was so angry they let you miss a week of school, but I still had to go.”

Declan’s mouth ticked up at that, and he handed the picture back. Caelen couldn’t look away from it. There was so much he wanted to know, and yet he was afraid to find out. Alaina seemed to sense his mixed-up feelings. She brushed a kiss over his cheek. “We’ll leave you alone to look at this.”

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That turned out longer than I expected. And I’m sure there’ll be more to this when I put it with the rest of the story that’s still to be written.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: “Project”

“Is that what I am to you?” Caelen asked from the doorway. “A project?”

Alaina spun to face him, her mouth hanging slightly open. “What…what are you talking about?”

“I heard you talkin’ to your sister-in-law. About your latest project. Is that why you’re here. To make the poor, sad, lonely Irish boy feel better ’bout himself. Then, you’ll go back home to America.”

It wasn’t guilt that flashed into her eyes, but anger. “Is that really what you think of me, Caelen Dougherty? That I’d just string you along then cut the line. I’m not like that.”

“I heard what you said,” he replied stubbornly.

“You heard what you wanted to,” she retorted. “I know you’ve got abandonment issues, and I get that. I’ve got a set of my own. It doesn’t mean you need to project your fears onto me and think you know what I’m thinking.”

Shame washed through him. Maybe she was right. About his fears and taking it out on her. He wasn’t sure which one made him feel worse. “Alaina-”

“No,” she said, slapping a hand against his chest. “You don’t get to accuse me, then try to just smooth things over. If you really want to know, I was talking about a project. Something I’m making. That I was going to give you for Christmas. But, if you’re just going to be a donkey’s ass about it, I just may have changed my mind, and I’ll just scrap the whole thing.”

He just stared at her as she stomped out of the room. She was making him a gift? He hadn’t even gone out and bought her anything yet. Well, now, didn’t he feel the idiot? And still, he wanted to follow her. Lord knew it would probably be a mistake in her current temper. And that temper only drew him to her more. And he wasn’t sure what to do about that.

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I can tell you, Caelen! haha. Anyway, this is my sacrifice to the gods of Stream of Consciousness Saturday…oh, wait, there are no gods of SOCS, you say? My bad. Sorry, I seem to be in a goofy mood this morning. No idea why. Anyway, I’ve shared a few other pieces that will likely make it into Heart of Christmas, but I haven’t had anything from Caelen’s pov yet. I think these two should be interesting to write.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: “How”

How are you doing on this lovely day?”

Alaina glanced over at Caelen who was leaning in the doorway to the kitchen then back out the window. Where the sky seem to be pouring down buckets of water. “Is this really what you call a lovely day in Ireland?”

He let out a long loud laugh. God, she really loved to hear his laugh. “You’d think you’d be used to it after the more than year you’ve lived here.”

She loved listening to the way words rolled off his tongue, too. Sometimes she wished he talked more, just so she could hear it.

He brushed his dark hair away from his face and moved over to the table. He’d been out working in her uncle’s barn most of the day. Now, she scooped some of the stew she’d been cooking into a bowl for him. He smiled up at her as she set the bowl in front of him. “Running through the rain may well have been worth this.”

“My stew or getting to see me?”

She watched his face flood with color then just winked at him. Then, she turned back around. “Are you flirting with my sister, Dougherty?”

She rolled her eyes at her older brother’s question, but she heard Caelen choke a little. “No. No, I…I just came in for some stew.”

“Relax, Caelen,” she told him still not turning around. “Declan likes to think he’s a badass, but he’s really a softie.”

Her brother wrapped an arm around her shoulders and pressed a kiss to the side of her head. “I am a badass. Retired, but still a badass.”

She laughed. “I didn’t know badass and Marine were synonymous.”

“Then, you weren’t paying attention.”

She laughed again, harder this time. She’d missed his brother and hated not knowing exactly what was going on with him. Especially when he’d gotten hurt over the summer. So much for being retired from anything. She was glad he and his new family had at least been able to make it over here for the holidays. She wasn’t looking forward to when they left again, though.

Even if her brother did try to butt into her private life.

“Maybe it’s him I should be worrying about,” Declan murmured. “Are you going to break his heart?”

“I don’t think that’s possible,” she said. She’d have to have it first, and it was something Caelen seemed to keep well-guarded. If only she could get through those defenses. She just didn’t know how.

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Another Stream of Consciousness Saturday, today’s prompt: “how.” Start your post with the word “How.” Bonus points if you end with it too. Enjoy! Another dip into the novella I’m planning to write in my BC Security series. This one is tentatively titled “Heart of Christmas”. The others all have heart in the title(Guarding the Heart, Protecting the Heart, Defending the Heart) and this one does take place around Christmas. I got it mostly brainstormed this week, so I’ll be moving on to writing back stories next week. I already know most of Alaina’s from writing Declan’s for Protecting the Heart. So that shouldn’t be too hard.

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