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SOCS/Story a Day: Day 27 – “Romance in the Air”

Fadil walked down the sidewalk, pushing his mom’s chair ahead of him. He knew she could do it herself, she’d told him plenty of times, but he liked being out here with her. It gave him something that made him feel useful at least.

“You’ve been quiet lately,” his mother said suddenly. “Ever since you got back with my medicine yesterday really. Did something happen?”

A snorting laugh nearly escaped him at that. Did something happen? Yeah, something had certainly happened. He wasn’t sure he really wanted to talk to his mother about that, though.

“It was fine. I told you about it.”

“Yeah,” she said, and he could hear the tension in the voice. “I still want to call my sister and have it out with her. She promised she’d take care of everything so you wouldn’t have a problem picking things up for me.”

“Aunt Janine has never liked me. That’s not your fault.”

“It isn’t yours either, my sweet boy.”

Fadil did snort at that. It had been a long time since she’d called him that. A long time since he’d felt he deserved it. His mom chuckled then and it took him a moment to realize her amusement wasn’t over their conversation but something that had caught her attention in the park.

He turned his gaze that way and nearly stopped breathing. A man had his head thrown back, a laugh bursting out of him. Even from this distance, Fadil could hear the joy in it. He licked his lips, but his tongue and mouth and throat felt suddenly dry. Then, the little girl jumped up from the ground where she’d fallen in the middle of a cartwheel and put her hands on her hips.

What had Mike called her the day before? Right. Alexa. He couldn’t hear what she said to her father, but her face was fierce. And Fadil’s mother was still chuckling. “We should go over and say hi to them,” she said.

“No,” he answered automatically, his face already feeling warm.

His mother tipped her head back so she could look up at him, and he averted his gaze. He didn’t want to know what she would see there. “Fadil,” she murmured, “my sweet boy. What do you seem to think you have to be ashamed of.”

“Nothing,” he lied. He hadn’t given voice to it since those first days after the accident. When his father was being buried and his mother was still laying in a hospital bed. When the guilt and grief were ripping him apart.

“Fadil,” she said again, tapping her hand on the arm of the chair.

He came around and knelt beside her. “I wasn’t here,” he said, the word torn from him. Dad died, you were hurt, and I didn’t even know for hours because I was with…someone.”

He felt her fingers trail through his hair. “A boy,” she said. “You can say it. He was your boyfriend. We thought he was a nice boy, but he didn’t stick with you when you were hurting.”

“I was an asshole,” he said, wincing slightly at the term. He’d always been careful not to curse around his parents, but it was the only way to describe how he’d acted back then. “He was right to leave.”

“You were grieving. He should have understood that.”

He shook his head but didn’t know what else to say about that. There had been more to his actions than grieving, but he couldn’t find the words to explain it to her. She lifted his chin. “You haven’t spoken of any relationships since then, but you deserve to be happy just as much as anyone else.”

He hadn’t had any relationships to speak of in that time, but he wouldn’t mention that. It would likely only worry her more. But, he lifted his gaze and saw Mike watching them, his hand wrapped around his daughter’s. Fadil’s mother glanced that way then back to Fadil. And a smile curved her lips up.

“Do I smell romance in the air?”

“No,” Fadil said sharply, standing up and brushing his knees off.

“Mike’s a good guy,” his mom said. “I think-”

“No, Mama,” Fadil said, taking the handles of the chair and starting on their way again. “Just let it go.”

Her shoulders slumped, and she heaved a sigh. “Fine. Have it your way.”

He figured that was best. No matter what else he might want. Taking what he wanted only ever seemed to bring sorrow his way.

No, he thought this was definitely better.

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I combined prompts for Stream of Consciousness Saturday and Story a Day again. For SOCS, it was to use smell any way you want. And for Story a Day, to write a non-traditional love story. In a way, this is a love story between mother and son, her offering him forgiveness she doesn’t even think is necessary. It’s also the start of a romantic relationship between Mike & Fadil(shh, don’t tell Fadil he’s already a goner). Which is also non-traditional according to Julie’s tips(Mike is black & bisexual, Fadil is of Middle Eastern descent & gay/bi –he hasn’t told me exactly).

Story a Day: Day 4 – Suspicions

Today’s prompt for Story a Day is a sort of fill-in-the-blank thing.

Mx [1. a non-gendered title, in case you’re wondering. Now I’m wondering how to pronounce it…].___________ in the _________ room with a __________.

So, mine will be Mr. Fadil Asker in the pharmacy with a suspicious pharmacy tech. This is for little novella I’m working on for side characters in one of my novels.

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Fadil walked into the pharmacy, taking in the surroundings with a quick glance. It had been a long time since he’d been here. In this town at least. He couldn’t ever remember being in here. If he had, it would have been when they’d first lived in Kurztown, before his dad’s first transfer when he’d returned to active duty. Fadil didn’t remember that time at all He’d been maybe three years old. He was sure the pharmacy had changed since then.

It may not have even been a pharmacy back then.

A man came out from the back room, smiling, his teeth white against his darker skin. The smile faded away as he looked at Fadil. He was used to that. Probably thought he was a terrorist. He’d gotten plenty of  those comments in high school and through  college. They didn’t care that he’d been born right here, or that his father was a veteran.

“What can I do for you?” the man-Mike, the gleaming tag pinned to his shirt read–asked.

“I’m here to pick up prescriptions for Layla Asker.”

Mike’s gaze had started to soften, and Fadil almost thought there’d been some interest in them, but at that, they sharpened again. “We’re only authorized to release them to her sister, Janine Ferguson. You obviously aren’t her, so I can’t help you.”

“I was supposed to be added to that list.”

“Nothing’s been put into the system saying that. I’m sorry.”

Fadil wanted to bare his teeth and snarl. Not at this man, he was just doing his job. But, at Aunt Janine. She had never liked him. Sometimes he wasn’t even sure she liked his mother. They were only half-sisters and had never been close. He figured the only reason she’d stayed the last five years was out of some sense of obligation. But, now her health was deteriorating, too. At least that was the excuse she gave when she told him he needed to come home.

“Aunt Jan said she was going to take care of it before she left,” he said. No need to show this man all their family drama. “My mom needs that medication.”

“Layla’s your mom? You’re Fadil?”

He didn’t know why that seemed so surprising to the man. “Yes. Aunt Jan was moving to some community because she couldn’t take care of herself and mom anymore. So, I moved back here. But, how am I supposed to take care of her when I can’t do something basic like get her medicine. It’s not like I’m going to build a fucking bomb with it.”

“All right,” Mike said. “Calm down. I think we got off on the wrong foot here.”

“You think?” Fadil snapped at him. “I know what you’re thinking.”

“No,” he said, his voice soft. “I’m pretty sure you don’t. Look, I know what it’s like being judged without someone knowing you, so  try not to do it myself. Trust me, being black, bisexual, and the son of a drunk is enough in this town to get you eyed warily. Let me talk to my boss and see if we can call your mom. If everything checks out, I’ll get you authorized, and you can take her stuff with you. Just give me a couple minutes.”

“Thanks,” Fadil said,surprised he could get that much out. What Mike had said still bouncing around in his head.

Maybe that had been interest he’d seen in his eyes.

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This knocks two things off today’s goal list, since I planned to write 100 words on Mike & Fadil’s story. I well exceeded that one!

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