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SOCS/Story a Day: Day 14 – “Vol/Never Believe”

Isaac walked toward the youth center where he had started volunteering on weekends. As long as it didn’t interfere with his college classes, he planned to keep doing it. He recognized some of these kids. Well, not them exactly. But, he saw himself in some of them. The bad home life, some afraid to go back to that home, a few afraid to admit parts of themselves, even in this safe place.
He’d never had this, just that park where he’d often meet Jonas. Thinking about that hurt. But, he’d done the right thing. He couldn’t face how the army might change the boy he’d loved. All he knew was the volatile mess his father had been when he got out. No, he couldn’t live through that again.
It was better this way.
He kept walking, turning down the volume of those thoughts. Even if Jonas didn’t turn into a man like his father, he didn’t know how he could handle the fear. So, he just wouldn’t.
He came to a stop when he saw a boy sitting on the bench outside the center, his knees pulled up to his skinny chest, arms wrapped around them. Isaac thought he’d seen him hanging around before, but he hadn’t spoken to anyone. Isaac didn’t even know what his name was.
Isaac slid onto the bench beside the boy. “You’re not going inside?” he asked after a moment.
The boy didn’t respond, just stared down at the ground. Isaac reached out to put a hand on his shoulder, but he jerked hard away from him. His sleeve rode up, and Isaac saw the line of bruises and old scars running up his arm. The boy pulled his sleeve back down. Still, Isaac’s stomach felt queasy. It was like being tossed back half a dozen years.
He’d been this boy once.
“Have you told anyone?”
“They’d never believe me. Not this time. Not again.”
“I believe you,” Isaac said. “No matter how many times the person who hurts you insists they didn’t do it, even convinces others that’s true, I’ll believe you.” He pushed up the bracelets on his wrists, showing the boy some of his own scars, not all of them put there by his own hands. “I’ll always believe you.”

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

I combined Stream of Consciousness Saturday and Story a Day prompts once again. The prompt for SOCS was to use “vol” in a word somewhere in the post. I found 3. 😀 And I used the Story a Day prompt “They were never going to believe me. Not this time. Not again.” This takes place several years before Jonas & Isaac’s story starts.

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SOCS/Story a Day: Day 7 – “Motive”

“What do you think his motive is?”
Isaac glanced over at Konner, arching one eyebrow. “What are we, staring on a cop show now?”
Konner laughed, a little more than the statement probably warranted. He’d been like that a lot lately. Of course, Konner had always been able to find more humor in every day things than Isaac had. And it wasn’t because he’d had an easier life.
He hadn’t. But he apparently had something that was broken in Isaac. He ruthlessly shoved those thoughts—planted there by his father so many years ago, even though he’d thought he’d uprooted them by now—and turned back to the discussion. “Anyway, I thought it was your brother who was the investigator now.”
Konner snorted now. “I could set Maddix on him if you want. A little surveillance, and we’d have some answers.”
Isaac shook his head. “I’m not setting your private investigator brother on my ex-boyfriend. He hasn’t done anything.”
“Last time I saw him, he looked like he wanted to be your current boyfriend once again.”
“Jealous?”
Something flashed through Konner’s eyes, but he just grinned back at Isaac. “What would I be jealous of? I’m single and loving it, babe.”
Isaac knew when he used that pet name, he was covering up what he really felt. And Konner, single? Yeah, that never lasted long. “You are chronically falling in love, Kon. Single isn’t a state you exist in well.”
“But, it means no one is jealous when I flirt. Well, except that ex of yours. He didn’t look too happy when I flirted with you.”
“You’re being ridiculous. He doesn’t care. He just knows we’re exes, and thinks you might hurt me again.” He paused. “He obviously doesn’t know that you didn’t hurt me the first time.”
Their break-up had been a mutual parting. Konner had seen he still loved Jonas, even when he’d tried to deny it. Like he was still trying to do years later. And Konner had already been falling in love with someone else. As he’d said, it seemed to be a chronic condition for Konner.
“You did say you wanted to know why he keeps coming by, hanging out when you’re not busy. But, he leaves just as that tension starts snapping between you.”
“I don’t need a private investigator for those answers. I don’t need those answers.” Wasn’t sure he wanted them.
“You keep telling yourself that, Isaac. I can see the truth. Hell, everyone around here sees the truth.”
“I will,” Isaac said, ignoring the last two statements. “Thank you very much for your permission.”
Konner snorted again and bumped his shoulder against Isaac’s. Then, he started rambling on about…something. Isaac barely followed the conversation. Because…why did Jonas keep coming by? He shouldn’t care about the answer. But, he did. And he was afraid finding out would destroy him.

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

This week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt was to use “motive” in any form. Combining it with the Story a Day challenge. Used the prompt to go for emotion(was going for laughs, though may have fallen short there, though Konner always is a riot to write).

SOCS/Story a Day September: Day 2 – “Birth”

“When I was born, my mother had been clean for less than four years. Before that she had struggled for nearly twenty years with addiction. She abandoned my oldest sister when she couldn’t take care of her. My brother was taken from her custody several times, and by the time she finally started getting clean, he had started down his own bad path. She was in and out of rehab for the next few years, but she was trying her best to stay clean.”
Jonas felt like such a fraud right now. This wasn’t even his story to tell. But, it was important back story to his own story, as Carisa would tell him.
“I didn’t know that mother,” he said. “Not the one my sister came to resent even though she never really knew her. Or the one my brother always loved despite how rough his earlier life was. I knew the mother who put us first from the moment of my birth. The one who worked hard at her office job and loved my father until the day he died. And well after that as well.” In fact, a dozen and a half years after his death, he was pretty sure she was still in love with him. “But, she also never kept that other life a secret. So, there was always the fear it might be what was in store for me as well.”
Now, they came to it. The whole damn reason he was here. Why wasn’t this any easier to talk about it now? “I thought I was good. I made it through high school without ever trying anything, even alcohol. I joined the Army. I was on the right path.” He took a deep breath. “Then, the helicopter I was in got shot down. I was the only one who survived the crash.” He had to stop again. Make sure he didn’t flash back to that moment, like he usually did when he spoke of this. “I lost my best friend in that crash. And even more than that.” He lifted his pant leg up so the people in front of him could see the metal that had become his new leg. “For a while I thought I’d lost everything. And it was a close thing because I was so sure I could face everything on my own. It took almost losing the person who matters the most to me, for me to see that wasn’t the case.”
He looked around at the faces in front of him, all of them looking so young, though he was sure some had been through even more than he had. “I obviously don’t know each of your life stories or who you have in your life to support you. It’s important you find those people, though. Let them help you when you’re struggling. Trust me, it’s worth it.”
He turned and headed toward the edge of the room, where Isaac sat, an empty chair beside him. He dropped into it and Isaac wrapped an arm around his shoulders. “Quite inspirational, that speech.”
Jonas groaned and dropped his head into his hands. “It was cheesy, wasn’t it. I suck.”
Isaac chuckled and brushed his lips over Jonas’ cheek. “You didn’t. You can later if you’d like, though.”
Jonas laughed and twined his fingers through his husband’s. “Thanks for the offer. I’ll keep it in mind.”
Isaac laughed and rested his head on Jonas’ shoulder while Carisa and Jayla took over the floor. He’d almost lost all this once, but he wouldn’t trade anything that had brought him here. Not if it meant giving this up.

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Today’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday was to use “birth/berth” in the post somehow. This fit with one of the prompts for the first week of Story a Day September, too. So, I combined them. This will take place a while after Jonas & Isaac’s story, so I guess you’ll figure how that ends(I write Romance. How would you think it ended?) 😉

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: “When”

When Toby dropped him off at Cristine and Roman’s house, Jonas hadn’t expected for Isaac to be the one to answer the door. he should have at least thought of the possibility. He knew Isaac still lived there. Still hearing his voice had thrown him back more than five years. Maybe that’s why those teasing words had been the first to slip out.

As if they could pretend the last five years hadn’t happened.

Jonas looked down at what was left of his right leg. He could never pretend that again. He shook his head and picked up another balloon. his face warmed a bit remembering what he’d said to Isaac. He’d need to keep the sexual innuendos out of the rest of their conversations. They couldn’t go back to where that came so easily for them.

Hell, Isaac was going to graduate school, and Jonas didn’t have a clue what his own future held anymore. Still on such different paths, there was no way they could walk them together.

Jonas didn’t even know why he wanted so much to do that. They’d been high school sweethearts, that was it. That didn’t mean they were meant to be together.

“How are those balloons coming?”

He jerked his head up at Isaac’s voice. “You okay?” Isaac asked. “is your leg hurting?”

Jonas shook his head and wiped his yes. He needed to get control of his emotions. he’d been better at that before. Now they seemed to be everywhere. So much for leveling off. “I’m fine,” he said.

“You’re not,” Isaac said, dropping into another chair at the table. “And that’s okay. I know the feeling,” he said. “It’s been seven years since I’ve had to live with my dad. You know I still wake some mornings afraid of leaving my own room, thinking he’ll be waiting to knock me around. I don’t think I’ll ever be okay. And that was when he was still in prison.”

Jonas closed his eyes against the ache of that thought. Then, he felt a hand on his knee. He opened his eyes and saw that Isaac had scooted his chair closer. “It’s all right, Jonas. He hasn’t even made contact with me. He’s not supposed to, but we know he doesn’t care about that. I’ve got Toby’s number on speed dial if he does approach me.”

Jonas couldn’t help but smile. Toby had promised to do whatever he could to make sure Isaac stayed safe. “My brother,” he said, “the protector of one and all.”

Isaac laughed at that. “I’d say that’s the perfect description of him. Do you need any help with these?”

Jonas shook his head. “Just a couple more to finish.” But, he couldn’t take his eyes off Isaac’s mouth. God, what was he even thinking? He couldn’t go there again. Hadn’t he already told himself that? “Is there anything else we need to do to get ready?”

Isaac shook his head, but he still hadn’t moved. “I’ve got the living room decorated. Cristine decorated the cake before they left this morning. I’ll get the rest of the food out while you finish those.”

When Isaac stood up, Jonas should have been relieved. So what was with this overwhelming sense of disappointment? He pushed it away and grabbed one of the last balloons. It was nothing. Maybe if he kept telling himself that, it would become true.

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

Today’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday was to start the post with “When”. I ended up ending it with it too(at least at the beginning of the last paragraph). I wasn’t sure exactly where this was going to go after that first sentence. But, I did want to get Jonas & Isaac to a point where they’ll be able to come back together.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: “Pant”

“Just keep your pants on,” Isaac said. “I’m on my way.”

“I’m pretty sure that’s the first time you’ve said that to me.”

Isaac looked up from the phone in his hand and saw Jonas standing on the other side of the screen door. “What are you doing here?” he asked.

“Luis is my nephew,” Jonas said. “I told Tereza I’d help set up for his party. I thought I’d be helping Cristine though.”

Isaac’s foster mother–adopted now, though even after nearly six years, he had trouble just calling her mom, it felt disloyal to his birth mother who had loved him even if she couldn’t live with his father anymore–and her husband, Roman, had gone out for the morning. They said they’d be back in time for any last minute details. “Sorry. It’s just me.” Now he wondered if they’d done that on purpose. She’d told him Tereza’s brother was going to come over and help. Silly him had assumed she’d meant Toby.

“I don’t know if that’s something to be sorry for,” Jonas said.

Isaac closed his eyes, wishing he could let it feel as if the last five plus years could just be wiped away. As soon as he opened them, he knew that wasn’t possible, though. The Jonas who stood in front of him, still on crutches, wasn’t the same one he’d walked away from the day of their graduation from high school.

“Are you going to let me help, or are we just going to stand here until everyone else arrives?”

Isaac stepped make so Jonas could come in. He searched through his mental list, even though he had it right in front of him on the phone too, to come up with something Jonas could do off his feet…foot, he corrected himself. “Balloons,” he blurted out. “Can you blow up balloons?” He could do that sitting down.

Jonas arched an eyebrow, and Isaac was sure that was a smile twitching his lips. “Have you forgotten how good I am at blowing things…up. At least that’s what you used to say.”

Isaac didn’t miss the innuendo laced in there. And, God, he’d tried to forget. He turned away before Jonas could see the way his words had him reacting. What were they doing? He grabbed the bag of balloons and carried them over to where Jonas dropped into a chair at the kitchen table. He was rubbing at the end of his right leg through his pants, and it made Isaac freeze.

“Are you okay?” he asked. “Is it bothering you.”

“It’s fine,” Jonas told him.

“You didn’t walk all the way over here, did you?” It was in a different neighborhood than where Jonas’ mother lived. it would be a trek on two feet. using crutches wouldn’t be easy.

“I made that mistake already. The day I saw you at the center. Toby dropped me off today.”

“About that day–”

“No,” Jonas said. “We went over it once. Just, let’s not today, okay. I didn’t handle things well then. I already wasn’t in a good place. Today is my nephew’s fifth birthday. I just want to celebrate that. Anything else can wait.”

Isaac blew out a breath. “We can do that,” he said. Waiting meant they had a chance to make things right again. He could definitely do that. For now, he had some dinosaur cupcakes to decorate. But, he took a moment to watch Jonas put his mouth over the end of a balloon. Yeah, looked like he was still good with his mouth.

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This week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt was to use pant, either on its own or as part of another word. And again, the first line of dialogue(really 1st 2 lines) popped into my head. I was looking forward to a more playful moment between these two, though it did get serious in there, too. But, looks like they might finally be able to come back together. We’ll have to see. 😉

Stream of Consciousness: “Guess”

Guess you must be Jonas, then.”

Isaac watched Jonas’ gaze shift beyond him to Konner. “What gave you the first clue?”

Isaac twisted his head and saw Konner grinning. Of course. Very little kept him from doing that. No matter how rude someone got, Konner just kept grinning away. It had a tendency to disarm people.

“Well, you did basically just announce it,” he said. “And you look a lot like your older brother, so that doesn’t hurt.” He looked back to Isaac. “I get it now.”

“Get what?” Jonas asked, but Konner kept his gaze on Isaac.

“Why you still haven’t been able to get over him. It bothered me back when we were dating, but I get it now. He’s a fine specimen. And all that emotion simmering under the surface. Yeah, I get it.”

Isaac caught a flush of color in Jonas’ dark cheeks, but he turned away. Isaac just shook his head at Konner, who chuckled and moved away. Isaac faced Jonas then. “What are you doing here? I didn’t think you’d want to see me. Tereza said you’re living at that center near the base.” Which had at least meant some distance. Even if it was only about a half hour drive.

“Yeah. Not for much longer, though.” His jaw tightened, and he looked away. There was pain in that gesture, and it hurt Isaac, too. But, he didn’t say anything. What could he say? If the Army was moving him somewhere else, it wasn’t like he could do anything about it.

“You want to sit or something?” Isaac asked. He didn’t think keeping himself up on those crutches could be that comfortable.”

“I’m fine,” Jonas said, though his jaw was still tight. “Toby came to bring me home for the weekend,” he said. “He told me, Isaac.”

“Told you what?” He kept his gaze on the floor. He wanted to look Jonas in the face, but it hurt. Not just seeing the scars there, but the pain that was evident in the rigid line of his jaw and in those dark eyes he’d always loved looking into.

“About your dad. That he’s about to be released. Are you okay?”

Isaac’s head snapped up at that. “That’s why you’re here? The only reason you’d come to see me is because you think I’m falling apart because my asshole father is getting out of jail.”

“I was worried about you,” Jonas said.

“Well, don’t be. I’ve got it handled. There are people who never left me who will stand around me.”

“You broke up with me,” Jonas reminded him. Like he really needed to.

“Because you were already planning to leave. Why don’t you just go back and do your soldier thing.”

“I can’t,” Jonas said then that jaw went tight again. “Never mind. I don’t know why I bothered to come. No matter what your boyfriend said, you obviously moved on a long time ago. You’re right. You don’t need me worrying about you.”

Isaac didn’t say a word as Jonas turned and used his crutches to move out of the room. No matter how much he wanted to call him back, what was the point? They’d only keep hurting each other. Konner came over to stand in front of him again. “Damn, but you’re an idiot, friend.”

Guess so,” Isaac muttered.

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Well, that didn’t go too well. 😉 This week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt was to use ‘guess’ any way we wanted. So, of course, the first line popped into my head. This would come right after last week’s. I didn’t expect it to go so wrong, though. Ah well, I’ll eventually bring them back together.

 

Stream Of Consciousness Saturday: High/Low

High enough for you?”

Isaac turned from the art supplies he was sorting at the back of the room. And burst out laughing. “Konner, put your shirt down. That is not the kind of model we’re using for this class.”

His ex-boyfriend, and still current best friend, let the hem of his t-shirt drop back down. “Well, it’s good to see you laugh again at least. Its been too long. Ever since he came back to town.”

“It hasn’t even been a week,” Isaac argued. “And Tereza said he’s not in town. It was just for the weekend. He’s staying at some rehab hospital.” His stomach did a hard twist at the reason for that.

“So, that’s it? He’s not coming back.”

“I don’t know, ” Isaac admitted. “She said it’s not far away. He might come around on the weekends, but he has to have someone pick him up, so it depends.”

“He can’t drive?”

“Not without his right leg.” He dropped the paint brush he’d just picked up and pressed the heels of his hands against his eyes as he swore.

Then Konner was there, an arm around Isaac’s shoulders. “It’s okay, ” he said. “He’s still alive. He can adapt.”

“I don’t want him to have to adapt. I don’t want him to have to hurt like this.” He rubbed the moisture from his face. “Why am I so stupid to still love him?”

Low, Isaac,” Jonas’ voice came from the doorway behind him. “You broke up with me. And while you’re in another man’s arms, you claim to still love me. That’s just really low.”

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

Today’s Stream of Consciousness prompt was to use High/Low somewhere in your post. And the first line popped into my head. I took it from there. What’s going to happen here next? Will Jonas be the one to walk away this time? Will these two boys ever make things right between them again?

Confession time: I actually wrote this last night on my phone while going to get groceries(no, I wasn’t driving) because I didn’t want to lose the idea, and we have a busy day today(vet, motorcycle ride & after party then baking cake & zucchini bread for daughter’s party tomorrow). So I wanted to get it done.

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