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Posts tagged ‘Jess’

Story a Day: Day 7 – “So Mean”

Yesterday’s prompt was to explore a character’s emotional wound, so I went back to when Austin was about 7. Today’s is to take someone you’ve fallen out of touch with and think of a question you’d want to ask them and fictionalize it. So, I’m switching to Jess, the other main character in Still Burning. Her and Austin have a bit of a push & pull relationship through some of the other Flames novels(basically he pushes for just a little more, and she pulls away. And then they start all over again). This is when Jess is about 13.

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“Are you sure you’re even a girl?”

Jess looked across the lunch table at Ashley, who she’d always considered a friend. Maybe even her best friend. She certainly wasn’t good at making them. Not nearly as good as her brother, Jace. “That’s what they tell me,” she said.  She wasn’t going to admit the question made her want to cry. What did that even mean, though?

“You don’t act like one,” Ashley went on. “You don’t ever dress like one. You’ve never had a boyfriend. I don’t think you’ve ever even had a crush on one. What’s wrong with you?”

“There’s nothing wrong with me,” Jess snapped, even though the piece of pizza she’d just swallowed felt like lumpy paste in her throat. “Why do you always have to be so mean.”

“I didn’t say anything that wasn’t true. I don’t know why you’re getting mad at me.”

Jess wasn’t even sure how to put words to what she was feeling. But, Ashley did this all the time. Pick at her until she lost her temper, then expect Jess to apologize. She wasn’t going to do it this time. She pushed back from the table and took her tray up to dump the rest of her lunch. She wasn’t hungry anymore anyway.

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Short one today. This exact thing didn’t happen to me, though something similar with a “friend” and that friendship Jess describes at the end is basically how it went with us. And this was pretty much the end of thinking she was a friend. Though, there are times I’d like to go back and ask her why she always treated me that way.

 

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: “Yard”

Jess walked into her parents’ back yard and looked around. It seemed everyone else was already here. All her brothers were scattered around, their significant others not far from them. Nolan’s two younger stepkids were running around, the oldest sitting near her mother and talking to Jess’ second oldest brother, Kelan.

And she was here all alone. Nothing unusual about that. She’d never thought she’d feel lonely around her family, but that’s exactly how she felt lately. And she was tired of it. She wasn’t going to let herself feel this way anymore. That’s all there was to it.

“Hey, Jess.”

She spun around to see Austin Melnik walking toward her. She barely held back a groan. Just what she didn’t need right now when she’d just made the decision to stop feeling things. Apparently her parents had invited more than family. As more people spilled into the yard, she thought they might have invited both fire departments for the day. Which was pretty much the same thing as family to them.

But, she could barely take her eyes off of Austin. And the pink bundle he carried. How long had he been here if he’d already got his hands on her baby niece. Her mouth went dry at the sight of how comfortable he was with her. “Melnik,” she greeted him, trying to keep her voice neutral.

But, his eyes narrowed, then his lips quirked up. As if he knew exactly what she was doing. Hell, he probably did. It wouldn’t be the first time he called her out on her bullshit. Damn those lips. Even now she wanted to kiss them.

So, she turned away and headed into the middle of her family. They would keep her safe from doing something stupid. Like falling for someone who deserved a lot better than her.

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This week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt was to use “yard”. I’m still plotting out Still Burning. This will probably take place before it starts or close to the beginning. Jess has quite a bit to work through.

“Stream of Consciousness: “Spell”

“Do I really have to spell it out for you?”

“Yeah,” Jace said as he rinsed the paintbrush off. “I really think you do, Jess.”

Jess leaned against the doorframe to the little bathroom in her brother’s new house. “You wouldn’t get it, Jace.” She ran a hand through the back of her hair. It wasn’t what most would call long, but she was antsy to get it cut again. “You’ve got everything here. A pretty little wife.”

“Aw,” Kammi said, coming up behind her. “Your sister thinks I’m pretty, Jace. Even though I feel like I’m about ready to explode.”

“If that’s how birth works,” Jess said, “I definitely don’t want to have any kids.”

Kammi laughed and gave her a quick hug. She was pretty sure she felt a foot in her side even during the brief contact. “My sister’s here, Jace. We’ll be back later.”

He moved over to her and gave her a hug and a long kiss. Jess had to look away from the intimacy of it. When Kammi had left, Jess finally looked back at her twin brother. “See? You have everything. Kammi, your painting, a baby pretty damn soon.”

“And I almost lost all of it because I thought it would be better to send her away,” Jace reminded her. “And I still don’t see what that has to do with you not deserving the same thing.”

She wanted to pull her hair out, not just at irritation with her brother for being obtuse, but with herself for not being able to find the right words to describe how she felt. She’d never been good with words. She was a lot more like her oldest brother than any of the others. “Never mind,” she said. “I need to get to the work site anyway.”

“Jess, I’m sorry,” Jace said, putting the brush down and moving to intercept her. “I’m trying to understand, but I just don’t get what you think the problem is.”

“I’m not angry with you.” No, the problem wasn’t with her brother. It was something wrong with her. “But, I really do need to get to work.” And she hurried out before her brother could try to dig any deeper.

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It’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday ad today’s prompt was to Use the word “spell” any way you’d like. Bonus points if you use it in the first sentence. I’m still plotting out Jess and Austin’s story, so I decided to use them again today. I’ve felt some of what Jess is going through, though I didn’t go into exactly what that is here. It will be explored more in the actual story, though.

Stream of Consciousness: “Moo”

“Moo” Jess laughed and put the little stuffed cow back on the shelf. Yeah, she couldn’t see her brother appreciating that gift. She’d have to keep looking.

“So, which of the coming babies are you shopping for today?”

Jess turned at the voice behind her. Austin stood a few paces away, holding a small firetruck in his hand. It was a good question. Two of her brothers’ wives were having babies this summer. “Jace and Kammi’s,” she answered. “They’re up first after all.”

Austin laughed at that. She loved the way he looked when he laughed. It made her want to step closer and soak in some of the joy. If only she wasn’t afraid she would blemish it.

“Maybe I should be looking in art supplies. You think Jace would appreciate that?”

Austin laughed again. “I think you have some time before the baby would follow in your brother’s footsteps. Maybe something a little more age appropriate would be better.”

“You got any ideas? I don’t have a clue here.”

Even better than a laugh, she got a warm smile from him. Even though she knew she didn’t deserve it at all. Not as many times as she’d pushed and pulled him around. She didn’t know why he didn’t hate her by now. She thought maybe he didn’t have that emotion in him.

“Come with me,” he told her. “I think I know the perfect gift.”

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Today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt was to “Base your post on the word “moo” or a word that rhymes with it. Bonus points if you actually use the word “moo” in your post.” This week, I started working on plotting out Still Burning, which is Jess & Austin’s story. So, today you get some of them. And I’d say Jess is unaware of how deep some of Austin’s feelings go.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: “You’re/Your”

Time for another Stream of Consciousness Saturday post. Today’s prompt was “your/you’re/yore” I’m almost finished with the plotting for Defending the Heart, but it was a couple other characters who jumped into my head this morning. I didn’t think I’d be writing their story yet. but, they’ve convinced me it need to move up in the line. I don’t have any of it plotted yet, but I did write out some parts of scenes in my head one day while we were on the motorcycle. So, there’s that.

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You’re really going to do this?”

Terrall ran one large hand over his head while he held the phone to his ear. He felt the bristle of the hair growing back in. Not shaving it all off again might be the hardest part of deciding to change himself. “Yes, Mother,” he said, trying to hold on to his patience. He should have known better than to answer the phone when he saw her number. “We’ve already discussed this.”

“I still do not see why you won’t just come home. You don’t have anything to make up for.”

Only because your sense of entitlement is too large to let you see it. “You know exactly what I need to make up for, Mother. I would have done it seven years ago, if you hadn’t pulled all those strings.”

“Well, did you really think I’d just let my baby boy rot in a jail cell?”

He moved his hand down to grip the back of his neck. “I deserved to be there, Mother. That’s the point you’re not getting. I didn’t deserve everything I got when someone else-”

“Enough, Terrall,” she said, her voice sharp. He knew better than to argue with her when she took on that tone. “You’ve brought enough shame on us by that public spectacle last summer. Now, you’re back in that backwards town. It is only asking for trouble.”

“Lieutenant Berman  has given me an opportunity here. He could have just written me off after what happened. Instead I have a chance to give back. I don’t see why you have such a problem with that.”

“If you bring more shame to us-”

“I don’t see what could be more shameful than me walking away when I left one person dead and the other broken.” Doren likely wouldn’t like being described that way, but hopefully it would get his point across. “Nothing I do will make that right, but I can at least do everything I can to balance the scales a little. I’m doing this, Mother, no matter what you say about it.”

There was a sharp sound then…nothing. He pulled the phone away from his ear and looked at the screen. Yeah, she’d hung up on him. Not all that surprised, he clipped it back onto his belt.

“Parental expectations can be hell, can’t they?”

He spun around, his gaze latching onto the woman standing a few feet away on the sidewalk. She looked familiar, but he couldn’t place why. “You eavesdropping on my conversation?”

One corner of her mouth tugged up. “I just stepped out of the store there and caught the last part. I don’t know what it was about, but I understand disappointing your parents.” He didn’t like what he saw flash through her eyes, but he didn’t know how to make it go away. Then, she was sticking her hand out. “Jess Amadeo. Haven’t I seen you around?”

He gripped her hand in his much larger and darker one. “Terrall Shreeve. I haven’t been here in over a year, and I don’t live here.”

“Strange. I thought you looked familiar. Well, I have to get going, but maybe I’ll see you around. Hope you can work things out with your mom.”

“Thanks, but that’s unlikely.”

She smiled at him then turned and walked away. Well, maybe there was more than one reason to stick around here for a little bit.

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I may have trouble with this one. Drunk driving is one thing I have trouble finding any sympathy for. And yet, somehow, Terrall has burrowed his way in. So, I guess we’ll see if he can find any redemption.

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