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Posts tagged ‘Patrick’

Story a Day: Day 29 – Memorial Day

Toby stepped out of his car, leaning back in to grab the bag off the passenger seat. He locked the car and walked deeper into the cemetery. This had become routine. Not just today. He came here at least three times a year, to lay flowers on Edward’s grave.

Marrying Toby’s mom hadn’t meant Edward had to take him on as well. He could have just been a stepfather, but he’d been so much more than that. He’d saved Toby, and he wasn’t sure he’d ever thanked the man while he was living for doing that.

It wasn’t the main reason he was here today, but still he knelt in front of Edward’s grave and set the vase he’d brought long against the base of the headstone. “Thank you,” he said softly. “Not just for your service to this country, but for taking on a punk kid like me. You taught me everything I know about honor, integrity, and duty. I’m not sure I ever said thank you for making me the man I am. If I didn’t, I’m sorry.”

He stood there in silence for a moment then stepped back and retrieved his bag. He had a few other stones to visit. He headed toward a section of the cemetery where he knew too many of the people who were buried. As he approached, he saw another figure kneeling in front of one of the stones. It took him only another moment to recognize the man. he was a little surprised to see Patrick here. Maybe he shouldn’t be. The man was a veteran, too, and would likely want to honor those who had fallen just as Toby did. But, if he was visiting graves, he’d thought he’d do it back in New Mexico where he’d moved from recently.

He saw which grave he was kneeling before and took another step forward. He would have left the man alone, but it was one of the ones he’d come to visit anyway. “I served with him,” he said, taking another step toward the man and the grave.

Patrick looked up at him, and Toby had the feeling the other man had known he was there. “I went to school with him. He was a year ahead of me, but he was still a good friend. His parents moved up here right after he graduated. I heard about his death just as I was being deployed the first time.”

Toby could still remember that day. He didn’t think he’d ever forget. He’d lost many friends in one single ambush. “He was a good man,” Toby said, setting one of the small wreaths he carried against the stone.

“Yes,” Patrick said, “he always was.”

They started walking off together, and Toby glanced over at Patrick. “I figured you’d be going home for the holiday.”

Patrick glanced back at him and smiled a little. “This is home now. But, I get what you mean. I’ve said good-bye to the ones I’ve lost enough times. And the doctor put Kellie on bedrest. I didn’t want to leave town and leave her alone.”

Toby had heard Kellie was pregnant but not that she was having any issues. He needed to get out of his head and back to his friends. Especially those who were still living.

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

For today’s Story a Day, I went with a story specifically written for Memorial Day.

Fiction Friday: Patrick & Sarah

As I said last week, I’ll be sharing scenes from the four back story novellas I’ve been working on. First up is Patrick & Sarah, from my Stained series.

Patrick Bailey pulled back hard on the reins for the team of horses hitched to his wagon as the little boy dashed out in front of him. “Woah,” he called, when he was afraid his touch wasn’t enough to bring the two farm horses to a halt. The boy scrambled back from the large hoof that had nearly caught him in the shoulder. Patrick jumped down from the seat almost before the horses had come to a stop.

“You all right?” he asked the boy, reaching out for his arm to steady him.

The boy looked up at him, eyes wide in his small face. His mouth fell open, but no words came out as he kept staring up at Patrick. “Were you hurt?” The boy shook his head, but he still didn’t say a word.

“William!” a woman screeched, and Patrick turned his head that way.

The boy hunched his shoulders, drawing Patrick’s attention back to him. “I wasn’t s’posed to leave,” he said quietly. “But, Tommy was mean.”

“Will,” the woman cried again, her voice rising with desperation. “Where’d you get to?”

“That your ma?” Patrick asked, looking back at the boy.

He dropped his gaze to the ground, and Patrick just squeezed his shoulder. When he looked back up, the woman was looking around frantically and about to dash into the street herself by all appearances. There were more wagons rolling into town, though, and he wasn’t sure they wouldn’t hit her. He couldn’t let that happen.

Patrick straightened and raised his hand. “Ma’am,” he called out to her. “Ma’am, your boy’s over here.”

Her head jerked toward him, and Patrick’s throat went dry. She was beautiful. Likely the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. And he shouldn’t be thinking like that. She was a mother, which meant she’d have a husband as well. That went several levels beyond what he believed to be wrong.

He kept his hand on the boy’s shoulder as she turned and started stalking their way. He heard the boy gulp beside him, and he gently squeezed that hard knob under his hand. “It will be fine, William, wasn’t it?”

He nodded jerkily. “Yes, sir,” he whispered.

The woman reached them, and her gaze took in Patrick quickly, and he saw her swallow hard, her hands trembling slightly as she grabbed the boy’s arm. “Come here, William,” she said sharply. “I told you not to leave the house.”

“Sorry, Mama,” the boy said quietly. “Tommy was bein’ mean again.”

That was the second time Will had mentioned that. It worried something in Patrick’s mind. Who would be mean to such a little boy?

The woman’s nose wrinkled. “That’s enough, Will. Your brother is not mean. He is just teasing. It doesn’t give you cause to take off.”

But, something in the boy’s face told Patrick it was more than that. “Can I walk the two of you back to your house?” he asked her. “Make sure your boy doesn’t take off again.”

The woman took her gaze off the boy and looked back up at Patrick. “That won’t be necessary,” she said. “I can take care of my sons. I have to get back to work before we can go home anyway.”

A jolt went through him at that. “Your husband makes you go out and work? What is he doing?”

All of the color drained out of her face, and he could have kicked himself. But, before he could make his apologies, even though he wasn’t sure exactly what his misstep was, she had squared her shoulders and lifted her chin.

“My husband doesn’t make me to do anything. It would be difficult as he’s been dead three years now.”

His stomach twisted up at that, and the flash of pain he saw in her eyes. Then, his gaze flicked down to the boy. He didn’t look much more than three years old.

“No, sir,” she said, “he never knew his father. Will was only a little over a month when I got word my husband had fallen in battle.”

“I’m sorry, ma’am,” he said, and he truly was. He could not imagine how it had to be for her, raising two boys with no man in the picture. “Do you need help with anything?”

“And what would you expect in return?”

The question took Patrick aback. “What is that supposed to mean, ma’am? I expect nothing. I just want to help.”

Her face was still drawn in hard lines, but he thought her eyes had softened with…confusion, maybe. Just how had people been treating her in the years since her husband had died? Patrick had fought in the war, too, and had seen plenty of men fall. Men who had left widows and possibly even orphans. He’d never worried about helping any of them before. But, something about these two pulled at him. He couldn’t explain it.

“I don’t need any help,” she said, raising her chin.

He wanted to argue with that. After all, her boy had just run out into the street and nearly been trampled. Instead, he took a step back. “Whatever you say, ma’am.”

She seemed startled by his response and stared at him as he backed away. But, he could not force his help on her. Or at least he wouldn’t. “Good day, ma’am, Will,” he added tipping his hat and heading back to the wagon. He’d get the supplies and be on his way back to the farm again.

 

A-Z Challenge: P is for Patrick Williams

P

Patrick Williams bent over the table, the pencil tight in his fist. He wanted to snap it in half. Wanted Sophia to just stop talking at him, nagging him. “I hate you.”

If he hadn’t cut his gaze up to her as he said the words, he wouldn’t have seen her face pale. But, he did, and it had a strange ache splitting through his chest.

“I know you don’t mean that, Patrick,” Sophia said. “You’re just upset right now.”

He didn’t understand these feelings roiling through him. So, he lashed out again. “You make me upset. All the time. Every day. I hate you.”

“That’s not true.” She still kept her voice calm.  “You just need to calm down.”

“I don’t hafta do anything. You can’t make me.” He crossed his arms over his chest and leaned back in the chair.

She took a step back and over to the high chair where the infant was starting to shriek. “No, I can’t,” Sophia said. “But, you are starting to scare Alison. You don’t really want to scare your baby sister, do you?”

Guilt crept in, but he still said, “Half-sister. She’s your little brat.”

“Now, that is enough, Patrick.” Her mouth had turned down, her face settling into hard lines. Sophia didn’t look like that very often. “I know you love your sister. I don’t know where this tough act is coming from, but it’s not you.”

“You don’t know anything about me. As soon as you got my dad, you stopped pretending to care.” His chest ached. She was going to walk away. Any minute now, she was going to give up and walk away.

“You know that isn’t true either. I love you, Patrick, as much as I do your dad or Alison.”

He jumped up from the chair. “Heard that before. Why don’t you just skip out now? I know you want to.”

She lifted Alison our of the high chair. “Sit down, Patrick.”

“Why should I?”

“I’m going to put Alison down for a nap then we’re going to talk.”

“I don’t wanna talk to you.”

“Then, I’m going to talk, and you’ll listen. Now sit at the table.” He watched her walk out of the kitchen the  dropped back into his seat. As much as he wanted to take off out the door, he knew that would just get him into more trouble later.

When Sophia finally walked back into the kitchen, he glanced up from the toes of his shoes. Her face was still tight, but the corners of her mouth briefly flicked up. “I’m a little surprised you listened.”

“Took you long enough,” he muttered.

Her smile was firmer this time. “You know your sister always wants just one more hug. Hard to deny that sweetness.” She pulled one of the chairs closer to him and sat facing him. “Look, I know I’m not your mom,” she finally said.

“Thank God for that,” he mumbled dropping his gaze back to his shoes.

“Why…I know you’re upset, but why would you say that, Patrick? What have I done to you?”

He looked up and saw tears welling in her eyes. The ache in his chest turned to a hard throb. “Don’t cry. Sophia. Jeez, I’m sorry.”

“You told your dad you didn’t care if I joined your family. What’s changed your mind, Patrick?”

“Nothing.” He still couldn’t meet her eyes, though.

“Then, why are you so angry with me all the time? Why don’t you want me to be here?”

“Didn’t say that.”

“You just said you don’t want me to be your mom. What else could that mean?”

He looked up at her and saw her eyes were still wet. That had it all ripping out of him. “That I don’t want you to be her. I hate her. I hate her so much it hurts. I hate her, hate her, hate her!” He yelled it the last time then his shoulders slumped forward.

“Don’t say that, Patrick. She’s still your mom.”

“She left us,” he cried. “Said she’d come pick me up later, and she never came back.” His own eyes burned, but he wasn’t going to cry. He was nearly twelve years old. He wouldn’t cry.

“You were three, Patrick. I’m sure-”

“That doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten. I know what she did. I’m the one who was there, not you. She didn’t come back, she didn’t want me.” No matter how much he fought it, tears started to spill over. How long ’til you don’t want me either? I don’t wanna hate you like I hate her.”

“I’m not leaving, Patrick. I’m never going to leave you and your father. There will never come a time when I don’t want to be a part of your family. I promised your father forever, and I don’t break promises. Do you understand?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Good.” She handed him a tissue and gave him a moment before asking, “Now, how about we finish this homework? Your teacher said you were struggling with it, but I know you can figure it out.”

***

Patrick looked up at the knock on his door. “Come in, Dad.”

The door swung open, his dad standing there, his uniform shirt wrinkled but still buttoned. “How’d you know it was me from just a knock? And do not roll your eyes at me, Patrick.”

Patrick stopped in the middle of the eye roll. How did he always do that? “You’re the only one who knocks like that. And dinner’s not ready yet, so it wouldn’t be Sophia.”

“She said you two had a discussion today.” He sat down on the edge of the bed.

“Sure, just sit on my bed, Dad. Not like I’m on it or anything.”

His father’s mouth thinned into a firm line. “Enough with the smart mouth, Patrick. Tell me what’s going on.”

“Nothing. She kept on me about doing that stupid assignment Mrs. Archer gave me. I’m the only one who got it. I didn’t wanna do it, and I got upset.”

“That’s not it, Patrick. Sophia told me what you said.”

“Snitch.” He couldn’t put much heat behind the word, though.

“She’s a lot prettier than most of the snitches I deal with.”

He couldn’t help rolling his eyes again. “That’s not funny, Dad.”

“Sure it is. When you’re a cop. Look, Patrick, I know-”

“You don’t know anything,” he snapped out. “You’re not the one she got tired of.”

“Your mother walked away from me too,” he said, putting a hand on Patrick’s knee. “And I was angry for a long time. I almost didn’t give Sophia a chance because of it. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be angry with her. You have every right to be.”

“I’m not angry. I hate her.”

“You shouldn’t.”

“But,-”

“I’m not saying she doesn’t deserve it, or that you should just forgive what she did. But, carrying that hate does nothing to her. The only one it’s going to hurt is you, Patrick. You need to stop letting her do that.”

“How?” He wished it was as easy as his father made it sound. But just thinking about his mother had all that anger boiling again.

“God, I wish I could give you an easy fix for it. You just have to move on. Let Sophia in. She wants to be a mom to you, Patrick, not just your stepmom. It doesn’t mean she’ll leave you, too. You need to put that out of your head. And you know you’ll never be rid of me, right?”

“Yeah, Dad, sure.”

His father stood up from the bed. “I saw those eyes rolling again. Come on. Dinner should be ready soon.”

Note: If you read Olivia’s story yesterday, Patrick is (one of) Rylan’s half-brothers. They share a mother, who abandoned them both. I have Patrick’s own story written, though I don’t know when it will be released. Probably not until at least next year.

Note2: If this dialogue looks familiar, it’s because it’s from one of my Story a Day pieces from last year, a dialogue only story.

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