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Story a Day September: Day 19 – “Aiding and Abetting”

Working with the final set of prompts for the month. Today I used “One character’s boss is doing something illegal”. I actually had two ideas sparked for this prompt. So, this is just one of them.

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Jayla stepped into the back room. She hadn’t been able to find Jared anywhere else in the clinic. Even Kellie hadn’t known where he was. But, this was really the last place to look.
She heard voices before she’d even made it all the way into the room. “I’m so sorry, Doc.”
“Don’t even think about it, Durant. I told you after Damon died, that you could come to me for anything.”
“But, I don’t wanna get you in trouble, too. I should just turn myself in.”
“No,” Jared said harshly. “I didn’t just dig this bullet out of your shoulder for you to go throw your life away. Those men got what they deserved, but not everyone will see it that way. What you need to do is get out of town.”
Jayla stayed where she was near the door, barely able to believe what she was hearing. She knew Jared didn’t have respect for more than a handful of cops. But, she’d never known him to advocate blatantly breaking the law. She wasn’t sure what to do.
“Those antibiotics will help prevent infection. Use the pain pills as you need them. Please don’t sell them, Durant.”
A heavy silence fell then. “I haven’t done that since right after Damon was killed. You helped me then, too. I don’t understand why.”
“Because your brother was a friend at one time. Here’s some money for a bus ticket. Now, you really should go.”
Jayla heard the back door open and close and finally made her feet move. Jared was washing blood from his hands when she finally spotted him. “Your bleeding heart’s going to get you in trouble one of these days,” she said.
He barely jumped. Had he known she was there the whole time? Or was he that controlled even after so many years of being off the streets? “He saved a girl from three men,” Jared said without looking back at her. “Not quite sixteen. And one of those men had connections to city government. Nothing would have happened to him. Durant made sure justice was served.”
“Not everyone would have your same view of justice. Some would call it aiding and abetting.”
His nose wrinkled at that. She nearly laughed at the expression. “He didn’t do anything I wouldn’t have done in the same situation. Now, what did you need?”
She’d almost forgotten why she’d come looking for him. “You’ve got a patient who will only see you,” she said. “No one was sure where you were, though.”
He nodded. “I’ll take care of it.” He headed past her. “And Jayla?”
“Yes?”
“None of this leaves this room. You didn’t see me treating him or giving him medicine. If he’s caught and it comes back on anyone, it will be me alone.”
Jayla didn’t like it, or the sense of unease his words brought. But, she nodded. Jared really was determined to save them all. No matter what the cost to himself. Sometimes she was afraid that cost would be too high.

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Writing Wednesday: Sentimental Value

I mentioned in Sunday’s post that we just bought my father-in-law’s old motorcycle. My husband’s stepmom sold it after his dad died. Both she and my husband have connections through their work(in road construction, though stepmom got out of that now) with the guy who bought it. And when he decided to sell after his wife got in a bad accident with her bike, he got in touch and offered it to us. We managed to work something out and instead of having our bike paid off in 2 more months, we’ve got a few years of payments left. We took it out twice this weekend, put about 150 miles on it.

My father-in-law on the bike when he first got it.

This is the bike my father-in-law had when I first met him. An ’03 Harley Davidson Road King. It’s what he rode to the family reunion in Ohio in August of 2006. And offered to give me a ride on around the campground where we had the reunion. And it was what I refused to get on then, still afraid of pretty much everything at that point in my life(really only a slight exaggeration, this was my first time meeting his dad’s extended family, so I was nervous anyway). About a month later, he was dead(he’d been sick, but we didn’t know how  bad it was). I never did take that ride with him, and that’s something I’ve regretted since. Sunday when we were out for Wendy’s ride(an informal support ride for a member of our fire department’s Explorer post who faced a lot of bullying this past school year. We’re planning to turn it into an annual event), that’s all that I could think of. And that I was now finally getting that ride. I don’t know why that didn’t hit me when we were out on Saturday. But, it didn’t until Sunday.

On a friend’s trailer so we could bring it home.

Anyway that’s it for my emotionalness(shut up, wordpress, it’s a word. I said so) about a motorcycle. 😉 It’s WiPPet Wednesday time! Today I’m working on Whatever It Takes, so you get another snippet from that. You haven’t met Jayla yet(unless you read Healing the Heart which released last December, and she was only in 1 scene of that. Konner was in that same scene). You have met the boy Konner’s talking about here, though. 😉 I have 10 paragraphs(1+9 for the day) from a scene I wrote last night(so very unedited).

A body flopped against the counter, and she jerked her head up. “Konner. You ass. Why did you have to scare me like that?”
Her youngest brother laughed. “That’s no way to talk to a patient, is it?” His hair was probably the straightest out of all of theirs. And he wore it a little long, so now he had to push it out of his face.
She worried for a moment, her gaze skating over him, looking for what could be wrong. “What did you do to yourself?” She didn’t see anything.
He sighed dramatically and put a hand over his heart. “I think I have love sickness. I met a boy today.”
She arched an eyebrow at him. And he launched right in, never needing much encouragement. “I guess that’s not true. I’ve seen him. He’s in my Writing 101 class, so I’ve seen him a couple times already. But, I spoke to him today. And he left his sketchbook behind, so you know, I had to go and return it to him.”
“Of course you did,” Jayla said, not able to hide her smile. “Did he thank you?”
His face dimmed slightly, though she thought that might be more concern than upset. “He acted like he thought I was going to hit him. Can you believe that? Like I’ve ever hit anyone in my life.”
“What did you do?”
“I asked him to lunch,” he said, grinning again. There was very little that kept Konner down for long. At one time that had been a coping method for him. Now, it was just a part of who he was. “And he came. And, God, Jayla, I think I’m in love.” He sighed and leaned against the counter as if it was the only thing holding him up.
“You dork,” she said, shoving against his shoulder. “I think you should have gone for a drama major instead of psychology.”

If you want to know who Konner met, I wrote this from the other guy’s perspective. 😉

Writing:

  • Heart of Christmas – 10000 words – 7658/10000 words, 2118 this week
    • Now, he finally got why Declan was telling him all this. “I don’t plan to leave her,” he told the other man. If anything, she’d figure out he wasn’t good enough, and leave him. And she’d probably be smart to do it.
  • Still Burning – 10000 words – 7727/10000 words, 2506 this week
    • It was probably toxic to live like this, letting her in only to have her push him out again. Over and over, until he was sure he was going to break apart. But, he couldn’t seem to give her up anyway.
  • Whatever It Takes – 10000 words – 6381/10000 words, 1148 this week
  • High on Loving You – 10000 words – 5245/10000 words,
  • By the Gun – 10000 words – 5146/10000 words,
  • Side Projects – 10000 words – 6676/10000 words, 1436 this week
    • Midas’ Daughter – “Sweet dreams, princess,” he murmured. “We’ll figure everything out when you wake.” *This is finished! At least this draft. I’ll revise and find some readers for it then decide what to do.

Editing:

  • Stained Blood – Beta edits – Chapter 1/26, 0 this month
  • Flames of Renewal – CP edits
  • In the Moonlight – Read Through & Revise – Read through Chapter 19/32.
  • Hang OnPolish & Submit – 10/50 polished

Reading:

  • Listen: 5 books – 5/5, 1 this week
    • Honestly Ben(Bill Konigsberg) – Started this Saturday morning. Finished this Tuesday morning. Really enjoyed it.
    • The Delphi Effect(Rysa Walker) – Started this Tuesday afternoon. On Chapter 4/22.
  • Read: 30 books – 19/30, 1 this week
    • The Three Brooches(Katherine Lowry Logan) – Started this Saturday morning. At 28%
    • No Good Duke Goes Unpunished(Sarah MacLean) – Started this Monday morning. Finished this Tuesday evening. Really enjoyed it.
    • Wayfarer(Alexandra Bracken) – Started this Tuesday evening. On page 83/532

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: “Sign”

“I’d take that as a sign,” Carlos said.

“Sign of what?” Carisa asked, looking up at her older brother. He was leaning against her table but not looking at her. She followed his gaze and saw Jayla walking into the restaurant, trailed by two young men and a girl. She knew the girl, Alexa, but not the two boys.

“Jayla doesn’t come down here,” he said. “Not around anyone from her past, except Jared. And that’s because he gave her a job at the clinic. She certainly doesn’t bring her siblings.”

“Obviously she does if they’re here,” Carisa said, ducking her head so her brother hopefully wouldn’t notice her cheeks flaming.

He only chuckled, though. “That’s just what I’m saying, Carisa. You ever tell her you spend most every day here after work.”

She felt the temperature in her cheeks climb higher. “No,” she said finally. “But, I did tell Alexa about it one day when I was working with her at the youth center.”

“And she told her big sister, maybe even mentioned your name. And here they are.”

“It doesn’t mean anything, Carlos. They need to eat like anyone else.”

“But, never here. Not before. And that’s just what I’m saying. And she’s risking the younger sibling’s foster mother’s ire by bringing them around someone like me. I’d say that’s another sign.”

“Sign of what?” she asked again. She didn’t know what had gotten into her brother lately, but he kept saying stuff like this. Just because he was happily married now with a new baby didn’t mean everyone was cut out for that.

“Sign that she wants to be with you. Maybe it’s one you should start heeding.”

She shook her head and turned back to the paper she was grading. She didn’t need to start heeding any signs. It would probably be better if she avoided them at all.

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Oh, Carisa. No don’t avoid those signs. Your brother knows what he’s talking about. 😀

This week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt was to use “sign” any way we’d like. And the first line of this popped into my head. So, I went with it.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: “Admit”

Admit it. I know what you’re thinking.”

Carisa wanted to sigh, but what was the point, really? “then, why would I bother saying it?”

“Why wouldn’t you?” Jayla shot back. “Might as well get it off your chest. It won’t bother me.”

“Judging from your tone, that’s exactly what it would do. Except I’m sure I’m not thinking what you’ve assumed I am.”

Jayla looked confused for a moment then she scowled again. “Sure you are. It’s what everyone thinks. I see how people look at me. I know what they think of me. They don’t believe I actually left that life behind more than five years ago. But, I did.”

Her bottom lip trembled at that last, and she pressed her lips together as if to hide that. Carisa wanted to go to her, but she was sure Jayla would not appreciate that. So, she kept her distance. “I believe you,” she said. “Trust me, I am not judging you.”

“And why should I trust you. I still barely know you.”

Not for a lack of trying on Carisa’s part, though. The other girl had some quite tall and thick walls erected around herself. Carisa didn’t know if she’d ever be able to get through them.

But, she’d certainly like to try.

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This week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt was to use “admit” any way we want. I’m going to be getting back to outlining Jayla and Carisa’s story, since I finished the first draft of Not Meant to Be on Friday, so these two jumped into my head.

Story a Day: Day 19 – “Secondary Meeting”

“Hello, Ms. Blakemore,” two young kids greeted her as she walked through the youth center.

She smiled and waved at them. This was so much different than her last teaching job. Of course, none of her students there would be seen in a place like this. They’d had nannies or whatever to watch them after school. And if they got into trouble, their parents got them out of it. She’d basically been a glorified babysitter there. Here she actually saw she made a difference. At the school and the time she put in here at the youth center.

Her father didn’t see it that way, but there were a lot of things they didn’t see the same these days.

She stepped into one of the rooms set up for those who needed a quieter environment to study. There were basketball courts outside and a small sparring area on the other side of the main room. She’d seen Toby over there along with his wife and their tiny baby. The cop was here several times a week helping those kids who needed that to get their aggression out in a safer way. She supposed he was her brother-in-law now since her brother had married his half-sister.

She wasn’t any help with the more physical activities, though. but, in here, she could usually be some help. As long as it wasn’t some really advanced math, she could usually help the kids get a grip on it. She might not have enough knowledge to teach a more specific subject. At least that’s how her dad seemed to see it. Not that she’d rather work with the younger kids.

She pushed that thought away, something she’d been doing more with anything that had to do with her father, and approached the only kid in the room. “Hello,” she greeted. “What are you working on? Do you need help?”

The girl looked up at her, serious brown eyes wide. Hadn’t anyone ever offered her that before? “That’s okay,” the girl whispered.

Usually if someone said they didn’t need anything, Carisa would move on. But, something about the girl pulled at her. maybe it was the tears she saw her battling back. Or maybe it was that she reminded Carisa of the vague memories she had of her oldest sister. Though Adriane had been younger than this girl when she died.

“I’ll be around if you do need anything. Or if you just want to talk.”

She’d just started to walk to the front of the room, when the girl spoke up. “My foster dad thinks I should just get this stuff. Just because he’s good at math and science. But I…I don’t,” she stammered. “That’s why I come here to do it. And my sister picks me up on Thursdays for dinner. My foster parents don’t really like her, even though she’s doing good now.”

Carisa smiled a little to herself. Apparently once the girl started talking, she just kept on going. She headed back to the girl’s desk and sat at the one next to her. “What’s your name? I’m Carisa. Or you can call me Ms. Blakemore. Either’s fine, but I prefer the first myself.”

“Alexa,” the girl said, looking shy now. Apparently it had been easier to talk to Carisa’s back.

“Well, Alexa, let’s see if we can help you work through these problems. Then, you’ll be done when your sister gets here.”

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Today’s Story a Day prompt was to write an interaction between the protagonist and a secondary character. This will either be before Jayla & Carisa’s story starts or right at the very beginning. Alexa’s older sister is Jayla, so this is setting up how her and Carisa will meet. Not sure how much they’ll like each other right off, though.

Story a Day: Day 16 – “Turning Point”

Jayla had always thought if the cops showed up at their door it would be with handcuffs and an arrest warrant. It made her not even want to answer the door. But, she hadn’t done anything wrong. She was clean. She had been for…well, a couple days at least. It was harder to get anything now. But she wouldn’t go crawling back just because he’d give her access to drugs. The price she paid for them was too high. She couldn’t do it anymore. Especially with everything Mica had been doing to keep her safe from that man.

That ate away at her. He was her little brother. She should be the one protecting him. Him and their younger siblings. And yet she could barely take care of herself.

One of the cops knocked again, and she knew they weren’t just going to walk away. Whatever they were here for, they’d see it through. And even though the younger one kept looking over his shoulder, she didn’t think they looked like they were expecting trouble. Mica wasn’t here anyway, so they wouldn’t be able to arrest him even if they wanted to. He should have been. She’d been expecting him. Maddix was at school, along with the other two. So, this shouldn’t be about them. That only left her.

Had that bastard sent them after her? Did he think that would get her back? No, she thought she’d rather do some time than go back to letting him have any control over her, her mind or her body. She couldn’t do it anymore.

She slipped off the door chain, flipped the deadbolt and other lock then finally swung the door open. “Yes, Officers,” she said as sweetly as she could, cocking out one hip. Some things were hard to leave behind.

“Is Anna Dunn here?” the older man asked.

Jayla barely kept from scoffing. Her aunt Anna had never lived here, not really. She’d moved in for a month before she’d gone away, too. She didn’t care about them, hadn’t even cared about their mother. But, they’d been able to put off social workers when they stopped by the house and Jayla had faked it well enough over the phone.

The Coyotes helped them out more than any blood family ever had.

“No,” she finally answered him. “What do you want?”

“When will your aunt be back?”

“Don’t know. Don’t care. Now tell me what you want before I shut the door in your face.”

The older officer’s eyes flashed. Yeah, she’d run into him before. She didn’t care what he thought of her. But, it was the younger one who said, “We’re sorry to inform you, Miss Dunn, but your brother, Mica, was found dead this morning.”

“What?” No. That couldn’t be right. he was just off with some of the other guys, trying to keep their neighborhood safe from the trash the Pumas kept trying to bring over. “You’re lying to me.”

“We aren’t, Miss Dunn,” the young officer said, “I assure you. Do you know-”

But she was already swinging the door shut in his face, her legs buckling on her. She ignored the next knock then the sound of arguing that came through the door. Finally footsteps retreated, and the first sob broke through. It couldn’t be true. It couldn’t. If Mica was gone, who was going to protect them? Who was going to make sure Maddix, Konner, or Alexa weren’t the next victims of this life. It couldn’t be her. She wasn’t strong enough.

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Today’s Story a Day prompt was to write about a turning point in a character’s life. This works well since I’m planning on starting to write Jayla’s back story today as part of my plotting for her story. This actually happens during Healing the Heart, though off the page, which is the second book in my Gilbert, Co series. And relates to what the characters were discussing in my Day 14 story, Nightmare.

Story a Day: Day 14 – “Nightmare”

“I had a nightmare last night. I woke up and started writing…”

Jayla looked up when her youngest brother trailed off. His face looked slightly darker than usual. Like he was embarrassed by his admission. “You still doing that journaling stuff?”

He shrugged one shoulder. “Gail and the therapist both say it’s good for me.”

Jayla tried not to let the resentment surface at the mention of the woman’s name. She understood, really she did, why that woman and her husband hadn’t wanted to take her in along with her younger siblings. They hadn’t tried to block her access to them and had given them a good home. Something Jayla never would have been able to give them. She still couldn’t even if she was in a better place now, but she still needed to get through college and find a job and a house. And by then even the youngest, Alexa, would just about be out of school.

“Then, you should probably keep it up. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.” She wished someone had given her tools to handle her own nightmares better. Sometimes it didn’t even feel like they went away when she woke up. “Did you want to talk about it?”

He met her eyes for a moment then shook his head. “No, I’m fine now.”

If he wouldn’t talk about it with her, it probably had to do with Mica. And that time in her past she’d rather just forget about. He and Maddix had been old enough to have an idea what was going on, and what their older brother had sacrificed his life for. Alexa had been kept insulated from that as much as she could be. Jayla was thankful for that at least. She didn’t want her baby sister to lose her innocence the way she had. She was nearly the same age Jayla had been when her own nightmare had started.

Jayla would do whatever she could to protect the young girl from ever having to face that. That was a promise she swore to herself she’d never break.

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