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SOCS/Story a Day: Day 25 – “Do/due”

“Do you really think I give a-”
“I don’t care what you think. You owe me.”
“I don’t owe you a damn thing.”
Angry voices. Harsh words. Isaac stopped right where he was, his breath trembling. Fighting wasn’t allowed here. Not unless it took place in the boxing ring. But, he recognized those two voices. They were always at each other, but it had been quiet for a while. Apparently the truce had lasted long enough, and they were due for another blow up.
He steadied himself. This kind of conflict always left him shaken, but he was pretty sure he was the only one around to step in, so that’s what he’d do. He hurried down the hall to where the two boys had squared off.
“That’s enough,” he said. Then again, when neither even acknowledged him.
“Stay out of it,” they both said. “It doesn’t concern you.”
“As long as you’re here, it does. Either drop it or take it somewhere else. If you both have that much aggression to get out, take it into the ring. Otherwise you’ll end up banned from the center. I doubt that’s what either of you want.”
Neither spoke for a moment. Then, one said, “Let’s go to the ring. If you knock me out, I’ll clear the debt. If I knock you out, I’ll expect my money Monday morning.”
“I told you, I don’t-”
“You do, and you know it. Square up with me, one way or another.”
This hadn’t been what Isaac had meant, but at least in the ring, they’d have gloves and headgear. It was something at least.
He went over to the ring and set out the equipment for them. Looked like he wouldn’t be making it to Jonas’ party. But, what else could he do?

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

Today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt was to use do/due/dew in your post. One or all of them. I didn’t work dew in at all, but I got the other two. This was also combined with the Story a day prompt of “two children are fighting.” These are more teenagers, but it still works. 😉

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Story a Day September: Day 24 – “House Hunting”

Today I used the “a character is trying to sell something to another character” prompt. Since in High on Loving You, Morgan is a real estate agent, this set things up pretty well. Terrall was one of the main characters in an earlier story in the series, Stay a Little Longer. This takes place probably a couple months after High On Loving You.

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Morgan stepped out of his car and waited for the man to join him on the sidewalk. “This is the other house I was telling you about,” he said. “I think it checked off nearly everything on your list. It is near the higher end of your price range, but there’s a nice-sized yard out back.”
“That all sounds a little too perfect,” Terrall said. “There has to be something wrong with it.”
Morgan smiled. He’d been all prepared to hold a grudge against this man. Especially since he’d been behind the damage to a good man. But, seeing that man begin to forgive, had helped ease Terrall’s way to becoming a part of the town.
And he’d seen how he was with Jess’ kids. Morgan could appreciate someone who took to kids not their own and acted as more of a parent than that kid’s own. He’d found that in Anna for his own daughter. And Terrall had done that times three with Jess, plus he’d seen the way Terrall fawned over his heavily pregnant girlfriend. And that baby wasn’t his, either.
Yeah, he thought Terrall was a good man, despite the mistakes he’d made as a younger man.
“It may need a little work inside,” he admitted. “Nothing major. I’ll let you see it for yourself, though.”
He stepped up onto the porch and used his key to unlock the door. The dark wooden paneling in the entryway made it seem darker in here than it should be. But, he flipped on a light and led the way into the kitchen. He glanced back at Terrall and saw his eyes taking in everything. If Morgan wasn’t mistaken, he was already making a list of things in his head. “You can remodel, of course. A lighter wood or even stripping it down and painting would brighten this up. The kitchen was just redone a couple years ago, though. There’s a dining room right through there,” he said, pointing across the kitchen. It would easily accommodate a table for six people.
Terrall didn’t have much to say to that, so Morgan led him in the other direction. He pointed out the other rooms, a bathroom in the hallway, stairs leading down to a finished basement. “That could be a family room, or possibly make it into another bedroom.”
“How many bedrooms are there?” Terrall asked. “We’d like the kids to each have their own if we can. That’s one of the problems with Jess’ current place. I know you rented it to her, but that was before Clay was born. Him and Paul have been sharing a room, but with almost six years between them, that’s getting hard.”
Morgan could understand that. Paul was nearly nine. He’d be on a different schedule than his three-year-old brother. “The master bedroom is this way, and there’s a smaller bedroom on this floor. And two upstairs.” He could see Terrall doing the math there and frowning. “And as I said, the downstairs could be arranged into a bedroom. The living room up here is decently-sized if you didn’t want a separate family room.”
Morgan showed him the two bedrooms on the first floor. “This smaller one would make a nice nursery and it’s not far from the master.” He let Terrall explore for a few minutes then led him up the stairs. The rooms were currently empty, but there was plenty of room for beds, dressers, desks and more besides that.”
“Can I see the basement?” Terrall asked when they were back in the living room.
Morgan led him down those stairs and waited while he prowled around the large space. It was carpeted down here and rather wide open. But, Morgan could see it as a bedroom, too. “This would be nice for Paul,” Terrall finally said. He faced Morgan again and flashed a wide grin. “I like it. I’ll have to talk to Jess and bring her to see it. But, it’s definitely a strong possibility.”
Morgan reached out to shake his hand. “Just let me know when she’s available to take the tour, and I’ll set it up. Hopefully we’ll get you into it soon.”
Terrall nodded. “Yeah. Let’s hope so.”

Story a Day September: Day 23 – “Security”

I used the “A couple are leaving on their honeymoon” prompt for today’s story. I wrote about Jonas and Isaac heading through the airport for their trip. And the fact Jonas’s pass through security may be more complicated than for others.

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“Are you sure we packed everything?”
Jonas looked over at Isaac. “Relax. We double and triple checked your lists. If we did actually miss something, we probably don’t actually need it.”
“And if we do?”
“We’re not staying out in the middle of nowhere. We can buy it if we really need it.”
And since they were at the airport now, it would be a little too late to worry about it anyway. But, he knew that was one of the things Isaac did. He worried about everything. He tried to keep control of everything in his power. As if that would keep everything else from going wrong.
Usually it was fine, but sometimes it went a little overboard. And that was when Jonas was there to reel him back.
“Are you sure we should have flown?” Isaac asked as they rolled their suitcases through the airport. “We could have driven there.”
They’d had this argument already. “Our parents paid for the tickets. What were we supposed to do, just turn them down? And I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want is to be cooped up in a car for like ten hours.” He wasn’t sure if the trip would have taken that long, but car rides were near torture for him. Especially since he couldn’t break it up by switching into the driver’s seat.
“And what about getting through security?”
Jonas sighed and turned to face him fully. “I checked into it. Stop worrying. I might get a more through pat down.” His lip quirked up. “Depending on the agent, I might enjoy it.”
Isaac elbowed him in the side, but he was laughing. Jonas’ mission was achieved then. He kissed Isaac then took his hand before continuing on to the check luggage line. “I printed out that card from the website to hand to security. They’ll know about my leg. I don’t even have to take it off. And we got bulkhead seating so I’ll have more leg room. It’s going to be fine, Isaac. Stop worrying.”
When they got to the security line, Jonas checked out the security agent. “Oh yeah,” he said, nudging Isaac, “even you wouldn’t mind him patting you down, right?”
Isaac laughed. “You’re terrible,” he said.
“Don’t worry, I still love you. But, look at those hands.”
Isaac bent over, laughing. “I thought you liked my hands.”
“I love your hands,” he said. “They’re the only ones I want on me forever.”
“Good,” Isaac said, sliding one of those hands into Jonas’ hair and pulling him down for a kiss. Then, there was a clearing of a throat.
“Gentlemen,” a rough voice said. “You need to continue through the line.”
Jonas looked up at the security agent and grinned. “Yes, sir.” He handed over the card he’d filled out before they left the house.
The man looked over it then nodded. “I’ll need to see the prosthetic.”
Jonas lifted his pant leg up above where the socket connected to what remained of his leg. His jaw tightened as the man ran the scanner over and around the leg, checking for who really knew what. He’d lost his leg saving other soldiers from the battlefield. But, none of that mattered. And he got it, really he did. But, no matter what he’d said to Isaac, and he’d continue to assure his husband that everything was fine, it was a bit humiliating to be put through more extensive security than anyone else.
“You’re clear,” the man said, finally stepping back.
“Thanks,” Jonas said, forcing his jaw to relax.
“Thank you for your service,” the man said. “My brother was a Marine. He didn’t come back.”
“I’m sorry for that. I’m sure he was a good man.”
“The best,” the man said with a grin, though there was a sadness behind it. “Not that I always appreciated it when he was here. But, your boyfriend’s waiting.”
Jonas glanced up to where Isaac was waiting after continuing through the line. He held up Jonas’ ring, which had gone through on a tray along with Isaac’s ring and bracelets. “Husband,” Jonas corrected the man. “This is our honeymoon.”
The man grinned even wider now. A relief, since Jonas never knew how that would be received. There were still some hate-filled people, even if things were getting better. “Then, you’d really better get going. Congratulations.”
Jonas didn’t waste any more time. Isaac slipped the ring back on Jonas’ finger and pressed a hard kiss to his lips. “Come on,” he said. “We’ve still got to catch the flight.”
Jonas kept his hand in Isaac’s as they made their way to their gate. He tried to push away the lingering feeling of distaste from all that attention paid to him. He’d have to go through it again on their way home, but for now he was going to focus on the time he got to spend with Isaac without work, school, or family pulling either of them away.
He was going to savor every second.

Writing Wednesday: Social Recovering

I had a very social weekend. On Friday, my husband dropped the dogs off at a local kennel where they could run and play, since we’d be gone all weekend. Then, we waited for the kids to get home, packed everything in the truck, and took the kids to the campground where my mom and stepdad were staying for the weekend. And we made our way to Seven Springs, a resort south of Pittsburgh. That’s where the regional rally for the motorcycle club we ride with was being held. There were people from stations of the club from all over the country(the furthest I saw was I think Wisconsin). We had pizza Friday night. We didn’t drink, though even if we were big drinkers, at $5 for a little cup of beer, I don’t think we would have anyway. Saturday morning we went on a ride out to the Flight 93 memorial and then to the site of the Quecreek Mine Rescue. Saturday night there was a nice dinner. Sunday we got up, had breakfast at our hotel(we didn’t stay at the resort, which was about 2x the price of our hotel 12 miles away), and headed home. It was a really good weekend, but I may still be recovering from all the social time.

I had a Mellow Monday, but ended up writing a little over 3000 words yesterday. I may not have gotten that if I’d pushed myself on Monday. So, I think Mellow Monday will be sticking around.

And now for WiPPet Wednesday! I’m still sharing from Jonas & Isaac’s story(probably will be for a while at least). This happens shortly after last week’s. Jonas is just getting home, feeling sore from walking to and from the bus stop and his thoughts are spiraling to a not great place. A little context on Jonas & Toby’s relationship. They’re half-brothers, Toby is about 16 years older than Jonas & his twin sister. Their father died when the twins were about 6/7. Toby stepped in to help his mother then. So, that’s what Toby refers back to at the beginning here. I have 36 sentences(9+27) for today.

Toby stepped out of the living room, Catarina on his shoulders. “Where have you been?” he asked.

“Out,” he snapped. “Don’t worry about it. You aren’t my father.”

Toby jerked back at that, but then a smile crossed his face. “Damn, it’s been a long time since I’ve heard that.”

“Fuck you,” he said and started past him.

But his good knee gave out on him, bringing him down hard on the crutch. He cried out then Toby was catching him. “What the hell did you do? Try to run a marathon?”

“Funny,” he said through clenched teeth. “Just need to lay down. Tired.”

“No, you need to take a damn pain pill. When’s the last time you took one?”

The day before, after his physical therapy session. But, he wasn’t going to tell his brother that. Toby put an arm under his shoulders. Catarina was scampering into the living room, so she must have gotten down at some point. “Come on,” he said. As he guided Jonas toward the den, he said, “I get it. I really do, Jonas. I grew up with an addict for a mother. You only got the cleaned up version of her. So, I get not wanting to risk that. But, all you’re doing is hurting yourself. And Mom, too. She sees what you’re doing and don’t think she doesn’t know why.”

Jonas cringed at that. He didn’t want to hurt her. But, there were already times he could hardly think about anything except taking the next pill. Anything to make the pain go away.

He dropped onto his bed in the den, burying his face in his pillow. “I should have just died with them.”

Oh, Jonas. Just want to dive into the notebook and hug him. Though, this is a bit of a turning point for him, when he realizes he might just need to ask for some help.

Plotting:

  • Primary: Green Hills & Smoky Fields: Book 1 – Story Toolkit – finished the third character arc worksheet  8c/18
  • Secondary: Plan out weekly Story a Day offeringsPlotted 20/20 so far. On target.

Writing:

  • Primary: Write 45000 words on 5 main projects(one almost complete) – 24289/45000 words Off target
    • Still Burning – 1704 words
    • Whatever It Takes
    • High on Loving You
    • By the Gun
  • Secondary: Write 10000 words on 10 side projects – 5306/10000 words A little off target
    • Tavin & Haiwee – 52 words
    • Roman
    • Dougal & Shae
    • Jacob & Matthew – 185 words
      • At this rate, he wouldn’t even be able to hold the cards tonight. But, he didn’t really care.
    • Mike & Fadil
    • Hawk
    • Sean & Braeden
    • Melanie & Garren
  • Stretch: Write 50 pages on Jonas & Isaac project – 23/50 pages Off target

Editing:

  • Primary: Edit Stained Blood as I get chapters back – edited 3/3 scenes from Chapter 2. Found out OK has been in use since about 1839, but it wasn’t spelled out as okay until about 1929, so had to rephrase something. 🙂 Added 560 words.
  • Secondary: Edit Flames of Renewal when I get it back
  • Stretch: Edit Preggers short story – Polished 9/49 items

Reading:

  • Primary: Read 30 books – 24/30 Fell Off Target
    • Of Dreams and Rust(Sarah Fine) – Started this Monday(9/4) morning. At 14%. Not sure if it’s because it’s been so long since I read the first book or what, but I find myself not really caring. So setting this aside until I finish the other books on this month’s list(or at least for the week). Then, I may try to pick it back up.
    • When Skies Have Fallen(Debbie McGowan) – Started this Friday morning. Finished it Sunday morning. Loved it.
    • The Melody of You and Me(M Hollis) – Read this Sunday. It was short, and I had some issues, mostly it felt really passive, but it was a sweet, cute story, and I enjoyed it.
    • Virgin River(Robyn Carr) – Started this Sunday afternoon, finished it Sunday night. This one felt like a lot of nothing happened. I wasn’t sure about adding the next book, but I decided to anyway. Though I’m surprised my eyes didn’t roll out of my head with ever use of ‘fanny'(seriously, what is so wrong with saying butt. It’s a freaking body part), or the fact that apparently the hero has a magic penis(or magic sperm, I guess), since the heroine couldn’t get pregnant after 3 years of trying with her late husband, but magically the first time they’re together, she does. If I have similar issues with book 2, I won’t be continuing the series.
    • Into the Night(Suzanne Brockmann) – Started this Monday morning. Finished it Monday night. Enjoyed it.
    • Marian(Ella Lyons) – Started this Tuesday morning. Finished it Tuesday night. Enjoyed it.
    • Out of the Blue(Jill Shalvis) – Read this Tuesday night. This was a shorter one(category length) and older one(from 2000), so it had a few eye-rolling moments, but it was a fun, sweet read.
  • Secondary: Listen to 6 books – 5/6 Close to target
    • Hold Me Close(Rosalind James) – Started this Monday morning. Finished it Tuesday afternoon. Really enjoyed it.
    • Girl in the Shadows(Gwenda Bond) – Started this Tuesday afternoon. On Chapter 5/47.
  • Stretch: Read 1 craft/research book – I did read a little more of The Story of the Irish Race for GH & SF.

Social Media:

  • Primary: Post weekly Writing Wednesday, Fiction Friday, SOCS, WeWriWa, & Sunday Summary posts –  On target
  • Secondary: Write & Post 25 Story a Day pieces – 22/25 written. 18/25 posted On target
    • Changing History
    • Birth – takes place after the end of Jonas & Isaac’s story
    • Dazzling Sunset – a bit with Ian and Aidan, from my short story, Hang On.
    • Looking Up – a bit of a “meet cute” for 2 new characters.
    • Moving Forward – a bit of ‘after ever after’ for Jonas & Isaac(though it comes before ‘Birth’.
    • Not Twins – continuation to my Preggers story, not posted
    • Motive – More Jonas & Isaac, combined with Stream of Consciousness Saturday
    • Breaking Rules – A quick 100 words of dialogue without quotation marks(prompt was to break some rules).
    • Konner & Derek – Wrote this by hand then dictated to my phone(both methods I don’t typically use).
    • Rapunzel, Rapunzel – a bit of a gender-bent modernized version of Rapunzel, featuring Konner & Derek.
    • A Good Sign – more with Konner & Derek, something that happens off page in Jonas & Isaac’s story.
    • Like This Forever – more of Jonas & Isaac’s story, a bit emotional
    • Slanting Sunlight – continuation of Looking Up
    • Never Believe – a bit with Isaac shortly after him and Jonas break up.
    • End of the Party – more with Jonas & Isaac
    • The Monster – A really short one(125 words)
    • The News – more with Jonas & Isaac, this would be after the end of their story.
    • Protect You – Continuation of The Monster. Another attempted drabble(that went over 100 words again).
    • Aiding and Abetting – Happens either during Whatever It Takes or sometime after. Jared breaks a law, but with good reason(at least to his thinking).
    • Last Minute Sitter – Lyndi & Marika (from Preggers short story) getting ready to leave on their honeymoon. Not posted.
    • Just Sibling Stuff – more with Jonas, probably takes place during Jonas & Isaac. Toby is watching his brother’s kids and has to deal with a situation(which seems to be a common occurrence in our house).
    • Discrepancy – Anna finds her boss acting suspiciously, then a discrepancy in funds.
  • Stretch: Post to Patreon 4x – 2/4 – posted a monthly writing update & posted Chapter 2 of Patrick & Sarah’s story. On target

Story a Day September: Day 22 – “Discrepancy”

I used the “a character’s boss is doing something illegal” again for today’s prompt. This one is with Anna, from High on Loving You, one of my current WiPs, who comes on her boss acting rather suspicious.

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Anna couldn’t believe she’d left her gloves in the office. She’d thought she left them in her coat pockets, like she usually did. But, had been halfway down the street before she realized they weren’t there. She could have just finished walking home. She had another pair of gloves there. But, these were new, and her favorite pair.
Morgan had gotten them for her for Christmas.
She stepped through the back door and into the kitchen. Their evening cook whipped his head up and around to look at her. “Anna,” he greeted. “You know you are allowed to stay away for more than ten minutes.”
She flashed him a grin. “But, whatever would you do without me?” He laughed, and she said, “I just realized I left something in the office. I’ll be out of your hair in just a minute.”
He rubbed a hand over his gleaming head. “Not much room to hide up there.”
She laughed again then headed out of the kitchen. There was a light on under the office door. That wasn’t right. She knew she’d turned it off before she’d left. And she could have sworn she’d locked the office door as well. Only one other person should have the key to that door.
She turned the knob. Unlocked. But, she clearly remembered locking it. And Nora hadn’t had plans to come in as far as Anna knew.
She pushed the door open and sure enough, Nora sat there at the desk. She glanced up, her eyes wide. “What are you doing here, Anna?” Nora asked. “Your shift was over like fifteen minutes ago.”
She didn’t need her boss to tell her that. Anna was the one who made up the schedule. “Left my gloves here, I think. Was just coming back for them.”
“Okay then,” her boss said, relaxing a little. “Why don’t you just get them and go. You already spend more than enough time here.”
Someone had to be around to manage the place. And Nora had put most of the responsibility for that on Anna’s shoulders. Not that her pay had been adjusted to reflect that. But, that was fine. She liked the work anyway.
Anna cast another look at her boss as she bent to pick up the gloves laying on the floor. They must have fallen from her coat at some point. She could see Nora’s foot tapping under the desk. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d seen the woman so agitated.
“Something wrong?” she asked when she’d straightened again. “I didn’t even think you were coming in today.”
“I can come in to check on my own business without being questioned, can’t I?” Nora snapped.
“Of course,” Anna said. “I was just surprised to see you.”
“Well, you shouldn’t be. I don’t completely ignore this place.”
“Of course not,” Anna said. Except most of the time, it seemed that was exactly what she did. “I didn’t mean anything by it. I’ll just get going.”
***
Something wasn’t right. Anna looked over each of the columns again. This definitely wasn’t right. She knew she’d put these numbers in correctly. She always wrote down how much was in the bank bag before she locked it in the safe for the night.
But, their deposits for the last month were off. Totaling a couple hundred dollars in discrepancy.
She was the only one who handled that money. And she knew she couldn’t have screwed up this badly. She must have made a mistake somewhere with the numbers.
She pulled out her calculator and ran the numbers again. Everything came up the same. So, it wasn’t her calculations that were off. And she was always so careful about writing the numbers down right.
But, obviously she hadn’t. She just couldn’t come up with another reason for this money to be missing. She and Nora were the only ones with the key to the office or the combination to the safe. There was no other explanation.
She’d just have to figure out where that money had gone.

Story a Day September: Day 21 – “Just Sibling Stuff”

Today I used the “Two children are fighting” prompt. This is a rather familiar occurrence in our house(though my kids have a slightly bigger age gap than the two in this scene).

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“I told you to leave me alone. Why do you always have to follow me around?”
Jonas came around the corner just as a sharp cry sounded. “Why’d you pinch me?” his niece, Adriane asked her brother, Edward.
But, the boy spotted him, and he glanced away. “I didn’t touch you,” he said.
But, as Adriane was rubbing her arm, Jonas didn’t believe it for a second. “What’s going on here?” he asked.
“Nothing,” Edward said. He wouldn’t meet his uncle’s eyes.
“I was just trying to play with him,” Adriane said.
Edward groaned. “Isaiah’s coming over. I don’t want to play with you.”
Jonas had to fight to hide his smile. This scene certainly brought back memories. Adriane and Edward might not be twins, like him and Arcelia, but they were only about a year apart, so he imagined it was similar. And there were times he hadn’t wanted her pestering him, especially if he was having a friend over.
But, his brother had left him in charge while he and Denise had gone to her doctor’s appointment. Catarina was taking a nap, not that she gave him much trouble even when she was awake. But, this meant it wasn’t the time to reminisce. “Edward,” he said, making his voice firm. “You don’t pinch your sister. You should know better.”
“She was being annoying,” he whined.
“I don’t care. You don’t put your hands on her like that. I can tell Leo and Bryan to just turn around and take Isaiah back home.” The boy’s lip stuck out as he pouted, but Jonas turned to his niece. “Adriane, if Edward asks you to leave him alone, you should leave him alone. You should respect his wishes.”
The smirk fell away from her face at that, realizing her brother wasn’t the only one getting in trouble. “That’s not fair, Uncle Jonas.”
“Yes, it is. He has the choice whether to play with you or not. If he chooses not to, you need to respect that. Just like he needs to respect you by not touching you.”
“Sorry,” Edward muttered, even though Jonas wasn’t going to force that. What was the point in making the kid apologize when he didn’t mean it. That didn’t seem like the right lesson to teach, rather than just respecting each other’s boundaries in the first place.
The doorbell rang, and Jonas made his way slowly to it. At least he was down to using a cane for balance as he got accustomed to the prosthetic leg. His physical therapist assured him he’d be walking completely on his own soon.
He opened the door to see Leo and Bryan standing there with their son, Isaiah. Jonas smiled at the two men then down at the boy. “We had a bit of a situation, but I think it’s sorted out. Go on in, Isaiah.”
“Everything okay?” Leo asked when the boy had jogged inside.
“Yeah,” he said, “just sibling stuff. Nothing Arcelia and I didn’t go through.”
Leo laughed softly at that. “Oh, I know how that is. My brother and I were constantly at each other when we lived in the same house.”
“I just hope I handled it right. Toby left me in charge. I wouldn’t want to let him down.”
Leo set a hand on Jonas’ shoulder. “I don’t think it’s possible for you to do that.” He glanced at his husband then back to Jonas. “We’ll be back in a couple hours to pick Isaiah up.”
They turned to leave, and Jonas stepped back inside. He so wished Leo was right. But, it felt like lately he was letting everyone down. He just wished he knew how to change that.
He needed to figure out how to change that.

Story a Day September: Day 19 – “Aiding and Abetting”

Working with the final set of prompts for the month. Today I used “One character’s boss is doing something illegal”. I actually had two ideas sparked for this prompt. So, this is just one of them.

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Jayla stepped into the back room. She hadn’t been able to find Jared anywhere else in the clinic. Even Kellie hadn’t known where he was. But, this was really the last place to look.
She heard voices before she’d even made it all the way into the room. “I’m so sorry, Doc.”
“Don’t even think about it, Durant. I told you after Damon died, that you could come to me for anything.”
“But, I don’t wanna get you in trouble, too. I should just turn myself in.”
“No,” Jared said harshly. “I didn’t just dig this bullet out of your shoulder for you to go throw your life away. Those men got what they deserved, but not everyone will see it that way. What you need to do is get out of town.”
Jayla stayed where she was near the door, barely able to believe what she was hearing. She knew Jared didn’t have respect for more than a handful of cops. But, she’d never known him to advocate blatantly breaking the law. She wasn’t sure what to do.
“Those antibiotics will help prevent infection. Use the pain pills as you need them. Please don’t sell them, Durant.”
A heavy silence fell then. “I haven’t done that since right after Damon was killed. You helped me then, too. I don’t understand why.”
“Because your brother was a friend at one time. Here’s some money for a bus ticket. Now, you really should go.”
Jayla heard the back door open and close and finally made her feet move. Jared was washing blood from his hands when she finally spotted him. “Your bleeding heart’s going to get you in trouble one of these days,” she said.
He barely jumped. Had he known she was there the whole time? Or was he that controlled even after so many years of being off the streets? “He saved a girl from three men,” Jared said without looking back at her. “Not quite sixteen. And one of those men had connections to city government. Nothing would have happened to him. Durant made sure justice was served.”
“Not everyone would have your same view of justice. Some would call it aiding and abetting.”
His nose wrinkled at that. She nearly laughed at the expression. “He didn’t do anything I wouldn’t have done in the same situation. Now, what did you need?”
She’d almost forgotten why she’d come looking for him. “You’ve got a patient who will only see you,” she said. “No one was sure where you were, though.”
He nodded. “I’ll take care of it.” He headed past her. “And Jayla?”
“Yes?”
“None of this leaves this room. You didn’t see me treating him or giving him medicine. If he’s caught and it comes back on anyone, it will be me alone.”
Jayla didn’t like it, or the sense of unease his words brought. But, she nodded. Jared really was determined to save them all. No matter what the cost to himself. Sometimes she was afraid that cost would be too high.

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