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Fiction Friday: Midas’ Daughter – Flip

Last week I shared the first scene of Midas’ Daughter. Today I have the next one. Here you’ll get to meet Flip, who was mentioned in last week’s scene. And if you missed starting this last week, you can read it here.

“You must be kidding me.”
A part of Flip Castellan wanted to shrink away from the angry man. The same part that always had from the time he’d moved here with his father as a just barely sixteen-year-old. Six years later, and he still hated it just as much. So, he shoved it away and stood a little straighter. “I’m not, Mr. Midas. I told you when Mr. Dobrin called the other day, that he didn’t want to go through with the deal any longer.”
“What the hell did you do to make him change his mind?”
Of course, it was his fault. Everything was always his fault. Even when it wasn’t. “I didn’t do anything, Mr. Midas. He-”
“Maybe that’s the problem. Your father never would have let this happen. Letting him put you in charge was a mistake.”
Flip’s hand tightened into a fist at his side. His father had needed to step back. His health had been declining. It had improved once he was away from the stress of dealing with Dario Midas’ temper tantrums. Flip had been picking up the slack for him even before he’d taken that step back. Who was Mr. Midas to tell him he couldn’t do the job when he’d been doing it all along?
But, he didn’t bother trying to interrupt his boss. He’d learned long ago, that there was no point in that. He’d just keep railing on, and it could very well cost Flip his job. He couldn’t let that happen. For more than just the money it brought him. But, he didn’t let his gaze go anywhere near the main house. Near Calla. That would give everything away.
He was still ranting along, but Flip barely heard anything he said. It wasn’t important what he said anyway. He was laying all the blame for what had gone wrong on Flip’s shoulders.
“You better fix this,” Mr. Midas said. “You have until the end of the week.”
“But, that’s tomorrow,” Flip said. Then added quickly, “Sir.”
“Then, you’d better get on the phone and figure out where you went wrong. And be quick about it.”
He turned and strode out of the barn, leaving Flip standing there. Flip fisted his hands a couple times, trying to let go of the anger as well. That man didn’t know just how much he did around here, while he was shut in his office or meeting with his fellow rich men. And he didn’t get, probably never would, that it was his own attitude that tended to lose him deals. Not anything Flip did or didn’t do.
He left the office in the barn and headed down the aisle to the only occupied stall. He reached up and petted the mare’s face. “He doesn’t even see, does he? Not what he does to himself. Not what he does to you or Calla, either. Not that I think he’d change if he did know.”
The horse snorted and nudged his shoulder. As if she agreed with him, or maybe it was just the mention of her mistress’s name. He dug a carrot out of his pocket and offered it to the mare. “I’m sure she’ll be to see you as soon as she can.” And it would probably be best if he wasn’t around when did come. He couldn’t risk Mr. Midas seeing them together and making assumptions.
He patted the mare’s neck. “I better go start making those calls. If I get canned, I won’t be able to take care of you or her.”
And that was something he couldn’t let happen.

 

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Fiction Friday: Midas’ Daughter

I’m back with Fiction Friday again. And with another story I’d submitted to World Unknown Review last year that wasn’t accepted(that sounds a lot better than rejected, right? 😉 ). I’m taking some of the comments I got on it and fleshing it out. Not entirely sure what I’ll do with it once it’s done, but for now I’ll share it scene by scene here. So, today you get the first scene. As usual, any thoughts and feedback is welcome.

Calla Midas laughed as she ran the rolling pin over the dough. She hadn’t come down to the kitchen in a couple days. Her schedule had been packed with parties and charity functions, which barely left her any time for the needed shopping and appointments leading up to those functions. Let alone any time to just relax.
Karoline leaned across the counter and whispered, “Have you seen Flip? When he’s working one of the horses. Those muscles…”
She sighed and Calla laughed again, even though the heat burning through her didn’t come from amusement. Yeah, she’d seen him. And promptly turned away so she wouldn’t stare.
“I thought you girls were making cookies, not gossiping about the other employees,” Nita, the head cook for the kitchen said.
Calla was about the farthest thing from an employee here, unless you counted her father. But, she was still glad Nita had included her. She felt much more at home here, or even in the stable, than she did in any of those ballrooms or social halls her father was always sending her to.
She apparently hadn’t been made to be a society darling. Even though that seemed to be all her father thought she was good for.
“Hey, now,” Karoline said. “Scowling will only leave these cookies with a bitter taste.”
Calla rolled her eyes toward the ceiling but couldn’t quite help smiling at the cook who was barely any older than her. “How many times have I told you? My mood isn’t going to infuse any taste into the food.”
“Keep believing that if you wish. I know the truth.”
Calla laughed once more, and it felt so good. She was never like this with her “peers”. Couldn’t just let go and have some fun. Not when it felt like every move was judged, every word weighed and found wanting.
They’d just filled the first tray with cut out cookies when the butler came to the kitchen doorway. “Miss Calla, your father is looking for you. You have a few minutes before he gets here.”
Crap. She didn’t want her father catching her here in the kitchen. He would have a fit, and she did her best to head those off any way she could. She dusted her hands on her apron then untied it and handed it over to Karoline.
“Don’t worry,” Karo said, “I’ll take care of it. Just go.”
The kitchen staff would bear the brunt of her father’s anger if he found her here. And she didn’t want them to suffer because of her. It wouldn’t be the first time, but she’d do her best to make sure this wasn’t the next time, either. She was just glad they didn’t all hold her father’s attitude against her.
She went out through the back of the kitchen, taking the stairwell up to her room. Once she made sure all the flour had been cleaned from her arms and face, her hair fixed into place, and a clean outfit put on, she headed for her door. Just as her father came storming down from the other end.
“Where have you been?” he demanded.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Father. I’ve been right here all day.”
He narrowed his eyes as he took in her appearance. She wanted to fidget but knew better. He’d never believe her if she acted nervous. It wouldn’t matter if she was telling the truth, he still wouldn’t buy it. So, she had to act sure of herself.
“I already checked in your room,” he said, stepping forward and reaching for her arm. She took a quick step back to avoid him, but that put her with her back against the wall. Not a good place to be when her father was in a mood.
“I must have been in the bathroom then,” she said, trying to grasp the first reasonable explanation she could find.
He didn’t buy it. That was obvious from the look on his face. He stepped forward again, but before he could grab her, the phone on his waist buzzed. He grabbed it and brought it to his ear. “What is it, Flip?”
She could hear the sound of Flip’s voice through the phone but not any words that he said. Finally, her father said, “I’ll be right down. Keep him on the phone.”
He put the phone back on his belt and looked at her. “Stay here. And out of the damn kitchen.”
Her hands shook as he strode down the hallway and the stairs. She slumped back against the wall, happy that she’d managed to escape his temper this time.
Just barely. And only thanks to a fortuitous call from Flip. It had just been luck, right?

Stream of Consciousness Saturday – “Pretty”

Today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt is to use “pretty” somehow in the post. I was trying to figure out how to use it toward one of my current project, then another character started waving his arms around. I wrote “Midas’ Daughter” back in May for the Story a Day challenge. Then I revised it and submitted it for the World Unknown Review. Well, I heard back about that on Monday, and it wasn’t accepted(neither was my other submission unfortunately). But, I decided to take her comments on it and flesh it out some more, maybe even add in POVs from the other characters, and possibly turn it into a novella(maybe novellete if it falls short of novella length). Then…I don’t know. First, I have to rewrite it, then I’ll decide what happens next. but, today, I’ll be looking at events from another character’s perspective(without looking back at the original. right now, I just have the first line in my head).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Yeah, pretty girl,” Flip said, rubbing a hand down the mare’s neck. “I miss her, too.”

He’d seen Calla walk past the stable not too long ago. Of course, she hadn’t even looked in here. He’d only been able to sneak peeks of her the last several days. She wouldn’t stay away by choice, so he knew exactly who was making it this way.

Not that he could ever have her. Old Man Midas had made that clear the first time he showed interest. He was just a stable hand and would never deserve her. Neither did that creep her father was currently pushing at her. The mare nudged his shoulder as if she sensed his mood. He patted her neck once more than moved toward the door to the stall. He had more chores to see to.

But, he’d barely made it halfway through the next stall before Ariadne pawed at the stall and snorted. she wasn’t usually high-tempered, so he knew something was up. He moved back toward her then heard the raised voices outside. He couldn’t make out any of the words, but he recognized one of the voices. Calla. He closed his eyes and leaned against the wall. He wanted to do something, wanted to make everything better for her. But, what could he do? He knew what would happen if he made a scene out there. He’d be fired, and if she needed him he wouldn’t be here any longer.

He needed to be here just in case things went bad. And he couldn’t see them going good with the direction they’d taken.

The other voice rose even more, and Ariadne’s ear went back flat. His own chest felt tight, claws digging deep into him. “I know, pretty girl,” he said, trying to soothe the animal. “I don’t much care for him, either. But, the important thing is if Calla does.” He rubbed her neck, taking as much comfort from her as he was giving. This pain in his chest was almost too much to bear. But, he’d known for a long time that Calla was the only one who could take it away. “We’ve already chosen her. She just has to choose us back.”

And he was afraid that was never going to happen. It would mean fighting back against her father. And she’d never done that before. He’d offer her whatever strength he had to make sure she could do that. It just meant he had to stick around as long as he could. He wouldn’t give up yet. He would never give up on them until she made that choice.

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