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Story a Day: Day 29 – “Meeting Maribel”

Today’s Story a Day prompt was to write the story that you’ve been hungering to write. Nothing was really coming to me. I looked over everything I’ve written this month and while taking a walk, an idea came to me. I already wrote about Arcelia and Maribel, but today I have the moment they met.

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Arcelia glanced at each of the doors along the hallway before finally stopping in front of one. She double-checked the paper in her hand and satisfied she had the right one, pushed the door open. The room was empty, but she saw one of the beds was already made, and there was stuff out on the desk and when she poked her head around the corner, in the closet. She looked back out the door. “Guess I’m taking the left side of the room.”
“You two didn’t already decide that ahead of time?” her older brother, Toby, asked as he carried a couple boxes into the room.
“I didn’t even know how the room was going to be set up. All we did was introduce ourselves.” And even then, they hadn’t shared that many details. So, Arcelia had been looking forward to learn more about her roommate when they actually met. “I do know she’s from Gilbert, too. Though, she just moved up here with her parents a couple years ago.”
“Looks like she’s already been here and gone. An organized soul.”
“You’re a dork, Toby.”
He wrapped an arm around her waist and kissed her temple. “I love you, too.”
She laughed and shoved against his shoulder. But, she didn’t try to get out of his hold as they waited for their mom and her twin brother, Jonas, to make it to the room. She stared at Jonas for a few long moments. He seemed okay, but something was different. And it wasn’t just that he actually had muscles now after the last twelve weeks of basic training.
There was still a sadness in his eyes. She’d hoped he’d get over Isaac by now. But, it didn’t look like that had happened. And he wasn’t going to be here for long before he had to leave for more training. So, she wasn’t going to ruin any of it by mentioning that jerk to him.
They put the rest of her boxes down on the floor, and she opened the first one to start unpacking while they went back down for the next load. She found her sheets first and made her bed. She was another organized soul, as Toby had called her still mystery of a roommate.
By the time her mom and brothers had made it back to the room, she had two boxes emptied and their previous contents organized to her satisfaction.
“That’s the last of it,” Toby said, setting two more boxes down. “Though I’m still not sure why you’re living on campus, when Mom’s house is only about a ten minute drive away.”
“It’s longer than that. And I want to live on campus. That’s why.” She loved her family, but Jonas was going to be gone. And Toby was always so protective, even though he had his own family now, sometimes she wasn’t sure she’d be able to keep breathing.
“Leave her be, Tobias,” their mother said. “Come on. We’ll take you for lunch then come back and help you unpack.”
“I’ll take lunch, but I think I can handle unpacking myself. I know right where I want to put stuff.”
“Always so independent,” Toby said.
She dug her fingers into his side, and he jumped away from her. “Damn. You always were vicious when it came to tickling.”
“Some things don’t change just because I’m grown up.”
“Keep telling yourself that’s the case. You’re always going to be my baby sister.”
***
Arcelia hugged Jonas tight, not sure when she’d get to see him again. He’d be leaving for Texas soon, and she didn’t even know where to after that. “Stay safe,” she whispered.
“I’ll be fine,” he told her, but he squeezed her just as tight. “Don’t let any of those college boys take advantage of you. Or girls,” he added after a moment.
She snorted. She had no desire for that. No matter who it was. She waved as her family drove away then turned and headed back up to her room.
She would miss them, but she could go home whenever she needed. She’d at least be able to see Toby and her nephew and new niece.
When she made it back up to the room, she heard someone humming inside. That must be the roommate. Arcelia didn’t understand this quickening in her chest. She never got like this. And they’d only exchanged a total of two emails. She shook that off and stepped inside.
The other girl turned her head and grinned. “You must be Arcelia. I see you brought your stuff up already. Where’s your family? Did they come with you?”
Arcelia smiled at the way her questions almost seemed to run together. “So, you’re Maribel then. And they were here. My mom and brothers.” Her half-sister hadn’t, but that wasn’t a big surprise. Tereza never had a whole lot to do with them. “They took me to lunch then headed back home.”
“Mine did, too. Both of my parents and my big brother. My sister’s still in New Mexico. No reason for her to come just to move me into the dorm.”
They hadn’t exchanged too many details about their families in their emails. “So, you’ve got a big brother as well? I’ve got two. Well, technically one is my twin brother, and he was only born a couple minutes before me.”
The other girl laughed at that. “I always thought I wanted a twin. Allison’s like three years older than me, and she always had her own thing going. And Patrick’s like fourteen years older than me. He was practically out of the house when I came along.”
“I never thought we’d have so much in common. Toby’s about that much older than me. When Dad died, he stepped in, though. So, we’ve always had a unique relationship.”
“I’m sorry,” Maribel said.
Arcelia shook her head. “Don’t be. It was a long time ago.” Nearly a dozen years. Something caught her attention over Maribel’s desk, and she took a step closer. “How come you have a picture of Jason and Connie up on your wall?”
“You know them?” Maribel asked, stepping closer.
“My brother works with Connie’s brother. We know them pretty well.”
“Well, Jason used to be married to my brother’s half-brother’s half-sister.” Her mouth twitched, then she added, “Well, technically Patrick’s my half-brother, too. I know it’s confusing. There’s a lot of halves. Allison’s my full sister, though.”
“And I thought my family was confusing. Toby’s my half-brother, and I have an older half-sister. But, my mom abandoned her when she was little, and she still holds a grudge for that, so we don’t see her much. She spends more time with the couple who adopted her when she was a teenager. And they just adopted my brother’s boyfriend, too. They’d been his foster parents for a couple years before that. And he’s actually Jonas’ ex now. The stupid jerk.”
“Your brother or the boyfriend?”
“Ex-boyfriend,” Arcelia reminded her. “He dumped Jonas at graduation, in front of our whole class. And I’d always liked him, too.”
“Well, he sounds like a fool, then. Is your brother going to school here, too?”
Arcelia shook her head. “He joined the army. He’s a stupid jerk, too. Making me worry about him.”
Maribel laughed and gave Arcelia a quick hug. And there went her heart again. What was wrong with her? It was just a hug. But, if her body was going to keep shorting out on her, this was going to be a long semester. Maybe by the time it was over, she’d have this under control. Or she could find a new roommate.

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Story a Day: Day 14 – Arcelia

Today’s Story a Day prompt was to write 1 of 4 different types of stories: Milieu, Intrigue/Idea, Character, or Event. Most of my stories are dominantly character stories, and that’s what I wrote here. If you follow my WiPPet Wednesday posts, you’ve met Jonas, and through him, his twin sister, Arcelia. She’s at least being less demanding than Jonas(& Isaac) have been, but I’ve had some sparks of ideas.

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“What is wrong with you? That boy is hot, and you haven’t given him a second glance.”
Arcelia nearly cringed away at the question. She was sure Maribel didn’t mean anything bad by it, but she’d been asked that so many times since she was a teenager. “I suppose he’s physically appealing,” she admitted.
Maribel just looked over at her. “Physically appealing? That’s all you’ve got?”
“Hey, if you like him, you go talk to him.”
Mari blew out a breath. “I’ve tried. Your dad’s my boss. That’s all I ever get from him. Anyway, he’s always looking at you.”
“Because I present a challenge.” She was used to guys thinking of her that way. Like if they were charming enough, she’d realize she was actually attracted to one of them. Yeah, that wasn’t going to happen. “He’s a nice guy, but there’s just nothing there. There never is.”
It was the first time she’d admitted that to anyone but her twin brother. And to her surprise, it felt good. Especially when Maribel nudged her with her elbow, and Arcelia looked over to see her friend smiling at her.
“That’s okay, you know. Not everyone has to be completed by some love of their life. It’s okay if that’s not what you want. Being asexual or aromantic doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you.”
“Or both?” Arcelia asked, even though she knew the answer. Jonas had said it enough times when they’d discussed this. But, it was hard to accept when the rest of society insisted she must be missing out on something.
“Or both,” Maribel confirmed. Then, she tugged on Arcelia’s arm. “Come on. Let’s get some air. I can only handle watching him so long before I feel like I’m going to combust.”

Fiction Friday: “So Fired”

“All I’m saying, is that if you blow up the house, you’re going to be so fired.”

Maddix glanced over at the girl standing in the doorway. Maribel. And not really a girl. She was just as much an adult as he was. Still, he’d avoided her as much as he could since the first day he’d come to her father’s office for work. It wasn’t easy when the office was at their house.

“I’m not going to blow the house up,” he said, trying to hold onto his scowl. That was damn near impossible when he saw the way her eyes were twinkling. She was laughing at him.

That shouldn’t make him want her more. He turned back to the counter, studying the machine in front of him.

“It’s not that hard,” she said, coming up behind him. “And it’s not a bomb. If you hit the wrong button, it’s not going to explode.”

“Then, why did you think I’d blow up the house?”

That laugh left her eyes and flowed right through her. And into him. Her arm brushed his, and he thought he would explode, bomb or not.

“You were concentrating so hard,” she told him, “I thought your head might burst. Who knows what might go with it.”

Then, he couldn’t help but laugh, too. Until she brushed against him again. Why did she have to keep doing that? Didn’t she realize what it did to him? Judging by the glint in her eyes, she did. But, all she did was press one of the buttons on the machine. “If you’re making coffee for Dad, that’s the one you want.”

Then, she turned and walked back out of the kitchen. He barely mumbled a thanks before she was gone again. Maybe he should turn in his resignation, and save his sanity, before her father really did fire him.

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Yeah, Maddix, that’s so not going to happen. I wouldn’t make it that easy on you. I will be getting around to writing Mad and Mari’s story eventually. I have a few more to go before that, though.

 

Fiction Friday: “Broke Him”

“I think I broke him.”

Her father laughed from the other side of the room. And still Maddix just gaped at her. What was wrong with him? All Maribel had done was walk into the room. At least she thought that was all she’d done.

She glanced over to her father and saw his eyes were twinkling. “Is he always like this? He can’t be too good at surveillance if he stares so obviously.”

Her dad chuckled, and Maddix finally snapped his mouth shut. “No,” her dad said. “I think you broke him, Mari. Are you going to fix him?”

Warmth filled her at his easy acceptance of what she wanted. He wouldn’t stand in her way. Maddix seemed to be the only one holding that position. She looked back at him. “If he’ll let me.”

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I’m back with Fiction Friday again! I took most of November off, since I was putting most of my words to NaNoWriMo(which I finished a day early!) This piece comes sometime after “You’re Drunk” and “Psst”. And is basically my response to all those fictional fathers/big brothers that are all “stay away from my baby girl/sister” even when she’s all grown up and can make her own decisions.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: “Psst”

“Psst.”

Maddix glanced over to the next rack of clothes from what he was pretending to look through. And there stood Maribel . Looking as bright and sweet and pretty as always. Damn it.

“What are you doing here, Mari?” he asked in a whispered hiss. “I’m on a stakeout.”

She covered a giggle with her hand. “And here I thought Dad had just sent you to try to figure out what Mom wants for Christmas.”

His lips were tempted to pull up into a smile. She always made him feel like doing that. But, it was a mistake. He knew it was. Going after the boss’s daughter would never be a smart decision. And Mark had done so much for him, he couldn’t betray him like that. “Like I said, I’m on a stakeout.”

Her eyes were still dancing above her hand. “If that’s what you want to call it, Mad. You know, you could have just come to me to get your answers. I actually talk to Mom. I know what she wants.”

Except talking to Maribel always led him to thoughts he knew he shouldn’t be having. Boss’s daughter. Keep your hands off your boss’s daughter. He could do that, couldn’t he? “I could have done that,” he finally said. “Why don’t we do it now. Want some coffee.”

She dropped her hand and he saw the grin that spread across her face. “That sounds wonderful, Maddix.”

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Today’s Stream of Consciousness prompt was to use “psst or any other attention-getting word or sound”. Maddix and Maribel pushed their way into my head. if you’ve read some of my Jonas & Isaac pieces or snippets(on Wednesdays), you might recognize Maddix as Konner’s brother. Maribel has shown up on the edges of one or two earlier stories in the series. Her father(and older half-brother) is a private investigator and by Jonas & Isaac, Maddix has started working for him. I don’t know when I’ll get to their story, but they have been murmuring to me.

Fiction Friday: “You’re Drunk”

“I think you’re beautiful.”

“You’re drunk and not going to like you said that in the morning.”

“I’m not that drunk,” Maddix said, though he was careful to make sure his words didn’t come out slurred. “And it’s true every time of day.”

Arcelia rolled her eyes and leaned back against the counter. “You’re being ridiculous. Just like always.”

“Like never. Why do you always have to argue with me?”

Arcelia tossed her head back and laughed. She really was beautiful. Why did she always think he was lying about that? “Because it’s so much fun,” she said. She looked beyond him and a smile spread over her face. “Oh, here comes Maribel. I think she’s the one you really want to call beautiful.”

The pleasant buzzing in his blood turned to something else. He couldn’t turn around, though. He’d likely make a fool of himself if he did. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time.

As her soft voice drifted toward them, he was pretty sure it wouldn’t be the last.

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A really short one this time. I’m still trying to figure out what’s going to happen between these characters, but I think it’s going to be fun.

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