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Stream of Consciousness Saturday: “Man”

This was actually a perfect Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, “man”, for the dialogue that popped into my head the other day between a few characters. This will come near the end of Heart of Christmas, which I’ve been plotting.

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“Why would you want to do that?” Caelen asked Alaina. “What if I turn out like him?”

“Why would you? That man isn’t even your father.”

The words were soft, gentle, but he still flinched away from them. Just as he always had from the man himself. “Maybe not, but he’s the one that raised me. I don’t even know who my real father is because he had no interest in me. Just like my mother. Just like everyone in my life.”

Alaina opened her mouth as if to argue, but a voice behind them said, “That’s not true, little brother, and you know it.” Braeden stepped into the room, carrying something under one arm. “Not all the way true, at least. Not everyone has walked from you. I never did.”

The heat of shame flushed through him, leaving his face stained red, he was sure. “I’m sorry, Brae. I know, but-”

“But nothing. And you were too young to know everything going on in this house before she walked. I saw what he did when she told him she was pregnant with you. She left then and only came back then because the man she was with, your father, was being deployed, and she was afraid she wouldn’t be able to make it on her own. And Da was cruel to her, Cae. Every moment of every day. I’m surprised she managed to stick it out for five years.”

He saw Alaina’s brother, Declan, lift his head at the other side of the room at the mention of the man being deployed. But, Caelen couldn’t think about that. There was too much emotion rushing through him.

“She could have at least taken us with her.”

Braeden shook his head. “He never would have let me go, and she didn’t know if she could take care of herself, let alone either or the both of us.”

“How can you just forgive her?” He wasn’t sure he ever could. “She left us at his mercy. He beat you, too.” Usually because Braeden stepped in the way when he’d wanted to hurt Caelen.

“I’ve spoken to her. The day after I turned eighteen, in fact. He couldn’t do anything to me then.”

Caelen could only stare at him. Why hadn’t he known his brother had gone to the woman who had abandoned them? He was about to ask but Braeden continued before he could get a word out.

“She wasn’t in a good place, Cae. She’d been living with your father, but he’d been killed in action a little more than a year before that. She still wasn’t in a place to take care of any one but herself. I told her what life had been like for us, and I know she felt terrible, but she couldn’t face it. I did what I could to make him leave you alone because she couldn’t, Caelen.”

“Why didn’t you tell me before?”

“Because I didn’t want it to hurt you anymore. And you never showed any signs of being ready to forgive her for getting out of  a cocked up situation.”

“Why now then?”

“I visited her for Christmas. She gave me this for you. Even if you don’t want to speak with her, she wanted you to have something from him.”

Declan had made his way over to stand behind Alaina. Caelen flicked open the latch on the box Braeden set on the table. On the top sat a photo. He reached for it, ran his thumb over the woman, one he hadn’t seen in nearly two decades. He couldn’t bring himself to look at the man.

“Can I see that?” Declan asked.

“I don’t even know who he is. Having his picture won’t help.” But, he handed it over.

“I do,” Declan said softly. “I thought there was something familiar about you.”

Caelen’s head jerked up, and he stared at Declan. “What do you mean?”

Declan tapped the photo. “Caelen Mulroney. My father served with him. He wasn’t happy when Da decided to leave the army and move us to Texas to be with Mom and Alaina, but they stayed in touch. And we came back here for his funeral. I remember Da speaking to her. She’d started living with him about the time we left.”

“I remember,” Alaina said. “I was so angry they let you miss a week of school, but I still had to go.”

Declan’s mouth ticked up at that, and he handed the picture back. Caelen couldn’t look away from it. There was so much he wanted to know, and yet he was afraid to find out. Alaina seemed to sense his mixed-up feelings. She brushed a kiss over his cheek. “We’ll leave you alone to look at this.”

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That turned out longer than I expected. And I’m sure there’ll be more to this when I put it with the rest of the story that’s still to be written.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: “Project”

“Is that what I am to you?” Caelen asked from the doorway. “A project?”

Alaina spun to face him, her mouth hanging slightly open. “What…what are you talking about?”

“I heard you talkin’ to your sister-in-law. About your latest project. Is that why you’re here. To make the poor, sad, lonely Irish boy feel better ’bout himself. Then, you’ll go back home to America.”

It wasn’t guilt that flashed into her eyes, but anger. “Is that really what you think of me, Caelen Dougherty? That I’d just string you along then cut the line. I’m not like that.”

“I heard what you said,” he replied stubbornly.

“You heard what you wanted to,” she retorted. “I know you’ve got abandonment issues, and I get that. I’ve got a set of my own. It doesn’t mean you need to project your fears onto me and think you know what I’m thinking.”

Shame washed through him. Maybe she was right. About his fears and taking it out on her. He wasn’t sure which one made him feel worse. “Alaina-”

“No,” she said, slapping a hand against his chest. “You don’t get to accuse me, then try to just smooth things over. If you really want to know, I was talking about a project. Something I’m making. That I was going to give you for Christmas. But, if you’re just going to be a donkey’s ass about it, I just may have changed my mind, and I’ll just scrap the whole thing.”

He just stared at her as she stomped out of the room. She was making him a gift? He hadn’t even gone out and bought her anything yet. Well, now, didn’t he feel the idiot? And still, he wanted to follow her. Lord knew it would probably be a mistake in her current temper. And that temper only drew him to her more. And he wasn’t sure what to do about that.

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I can tell you, Caelen! haha. Anyway, this is my sacrifice to the gods of Stream of Consciousness Saturday…oh, wait, there are no gods of SOCS, you say? My bad. Sorry, I seem to be in a goofy mood this morning. No idea why. Anyway, I’ve shared a few other pieces that will likely make it into Heart of Christmas, but I haven’t had anything from Caelen’s pov yet. I think these two should be interesting to write.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: “How”

How are you doing on this lovely day?”

Alaina glanced over at Caelen who was leaning in the doorway to the kitchen then back out the window. Where the sky seem to be pouring down buckets of water. “Is this really what you call a lovely day in Ireland?”

He let out a long loud laugh. God, she really loved to hear his laugh. “You’d think you’d be used to it after the more than year you’ve lived here.”

She loved listening to the way words rolled off his tongue, too. Sometimes she wished he talked more, just so she could hear it.

He brushed his dark hair away from his face and moved over to the table. He’d been out working in her uncle’s barn most of the day. Now, she scooped some of the stew she’d been cooking into a bowl for him. He smiled up at her as she set the bowl in front of him. “Running through the rain may well have been worth this.”

“My stew or getting to see me?”

She watched his face flood with color then just winked at him. Then, she turned back around. “Are you flirting with my sister, Dougherty?”

She rolled her eyes at her older brother’s question, but she heard Caelen choke a little. “No. No, I…I just came in for some stew.”

“Relax, Caelen,” she told him still not turning around. “Declan likes to think he’s a badass, but he’s really a softie.”

Her brother wrapped an arm around her shoulders and pressed a kiss to the side of her head. “I am a badass. Retired, but still a badass.”

She laughed. “I didn’t know badass and Marine were synonymous.”

“Then, you weren’t paying attention.”

She laughed again, harder this time. She’d missed his brother and hated not knowing exactly what was going on with him. Especially when he’d gotten hurt over the summer. So much for being retired from anything. She was glad he and his new family had at least been able to make it over here for the holidays. She wasn’t looking forward to when they left again, though.

Even if her brother did try to butt into her private life.

“Maybe it’s him I should be worrying about,” Declan murmured. “Are you going to break his heart?”

“I don’t think that’s possible,” she said. She’d have to have it first, and it was something Caelen seemed to keep well-guarded. If only she could get through those defenses. She just didn’t know how.

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Another Stream of Consciousness Saturday, today’s prompt: “how.” Start your post with the word “How.” Bonus points if you end with it too. Enjoy! Another dip into the novella I’m planning to write in my BC Security series. This one is tentatively titled “Heart of Christmas”. The others all have heart in the title(Guarding the Heart, Protecting the Heart, Defending the Heart) and this one does take place around Christmas. I got it mostly brainstormed this week, so I’ll be moving on to writing back stories next week. I already know most of Alaina’s from writing Declan’s for Protecting the Heart. So that shouldn’t be too hard.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: “So/Sew/Sow”

So, when are you moving back home.”

Corrin glanced over at her brother. “Who said I was?”

“Well, you finally told us the truth about getting kicked out of school. What else are you going to do?”

“Exactly what I have been doing. Working for Gio at the pub and staying at the apartment with Jer and Silas. I don’t see why anything has to change just because you know what’s going on now.”

Neil frowned at her. “That’s not right, Cor. You shouldn’t be staying with those two guys. What if-”

“What?” she interrupted him. “You think they’ll take advantage of me?” She actually laughed at that. “Yeah, I don’t see that happening.”

“You never know. I know how guys think. You’d be better off at home.”

“You’re such an asshole sometimes, Neil. I think you’ve been spending too much time around Cormac.”

“What does our cousin have to do with anything?”

“You reap what you sow. That’s what he’s always saying. Because everything that happened is of course my fault.”

“I don’t know if that’s true,” Neil said. “Because you won’t tell us exactly what happened.”

And she didn’t plan to now. Not when she felt so much judgment from her brother already. “And you don’t have to worry about the boys. If there’s a man as honorable as Jeremiah, I’ve never met him. And Silas is gay. He doesn’t have any interest in taking advantage of me. Why do you think he never comes with Jer to any of our family things? He’s sure they’ll judge him.”

Neil scoffed. “Our family isn’t like that.”

“And yet you’re judging them for letting me crash on the couch for the last month and not asking anything in return. I’m just trying to sew the pieces of my life back together.”

“A little dramatic there, aren’t you? Come on. They’re going to wonder where we’ve gotten to.”

She pasted a smile on her face as they headed back to the gathering. If only a happy mask could make it so.

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It’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday again, and I spent it with Corrin. I wasn’t even sure I’d come up with something for today than Corrin and her brother started talking. So, I threw this together. Pretty sure it will take place before Playing with Fire starts.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: “Hair”

“Your boys are here.”

Corrin glanced over at her cousin, Gio, also her boss. His light red hair was pulled back from his face, and his blue eyes twinkled as he grinned at her. Then, she looked in the way he gestured. And saw Jeremiah and Silas sitting at one of the tables. She looked back at her cousin then. “You don’t seem to have a problem with our arrangement,” she said. “You don’t think it’s wrong?”

One corner of his mouth lifted a little higher. “Do you really think I, of all people, would judge?”

“My dad does,” she said softly. It still hurt that her dad couldn’t accept that she was happy.

Gio gave her shoulders a quick squeeze. “He’ll come around. Even Cormac has started to with me and Cam. And you know how easy it is to bring Cormac around to anything not originally his idea.”

Corrin laughed at that. He did have a point. She just wasn’t sure if it was true.

“Go see your boys,” he said, squeezing her shoulders once more before heading back behind the bar.

Corrin headed toward the table and caught Silas’ eye first. His smile spread and he shoved some of his dark hair back from his face. Jeremiah looked over his shoulder, and his grin joined Silas’. “What can I do for you boys?” she asked, trying to smother her own grin.

“Well, now,” Silas said, I could tell you, but I doubt your cousin would like any of those suggestions. Ow!” He reached under the table, likely to rub the leg Jeremiah must have kicked. “I was just teasing.”

Corrin couldn’t help but laugh. “What can I get you to eat or drink?” she rephrased her question.

Silas still waggled his eye brows at her, and she laughed again, but he behaved this time as they orders drinks and dinner. As she turned to leave, she saw Silas lean across the table and kiss Jeremiah. There was no jealousy when she saw the two of them together. Just an eagerness to be able to join them. A couple more hours of work, and she’d be able to do just that.

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This week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt was “hair”. I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to work that in. But, I decided to visit with Corrin and company from Playing with Fire. This will come after the actual story.

SOCS/Just Jot It: Day 28 – “Wood/Would”

Would you come over here?”

Corrin looked over at Jeremiah. “What?”

“Just come here.”

She stood up and moved over toward him. When she reached him, he pulled her right up against him. “I thought we were taking a vacation,” he said. “And yet, you’re still up early working. Silas claims you have a dictionary in your head. Doesn’t it have the definition of vacation?”

She laughed and smacked lightly at his shoulder. “I just wanted to get a little work done. You and Silas were still sleeping when I came out here.” She glanced around. “Where is Silas? Still sleeping?”

Jeremiah shook his head. “He’s outside.” He pressed his mouth to hers, his hands sliding up her back. Neither moved even when the door swung open.

“if you two want to stop making out, I could use some help with this wood so we can get a fire started.”

They’d been together for several months, so Silas’ teasing shouldn’t still make her blush. But, she moved away to save what she’d been working on as Jeremiah moved toward the door. He paused by Silas for a moment, their mouths meeting for a brief kiss, before Jeremiah shrugged on his coat and went out to haul in the rest of the wood.

Silas looked over at her and smiled. She knew people, particularly her family, didn’t understand how they could work together. But, they just did. And she was very happy for that.

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It’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday and Day 28 of Just Jot It January. Today’s prompt was to use wood/would, one or both, in any way we want. This would take place after the end of Playing with Fire. Just a little look into where they might go after the “happy ever after”.

SOCS/Just Jot It January: Day 21 – “Glass”

“Can you hand me that glass if you’re done with it?”

Corrin glanced over at Silas, standing at the sink full of soapy water. How long had he been washing the dishes? She’d barely noticed him getting up from the other side of the table. She’d finally broken through the block she’d had on this story and had obviously gotten swept up in it.

She passed the glass over to him and returned her gaze back to her computer screen. She was getting close on this one, just a few more threads to pull together, and she’d know how to end it. As long as she didn’t get in her own way again.

“You ever going to tell us the rest of what happened in January?”

She was almost distracted enough that the words were close to pouring out of her. But, she snapped her mouth closed at the last minute. “I already told you,” she said.

“Not everything. I can tell you’re still holding something back. Even Jer thinks you are, but he’s not going to press you on it.”

“Then, why are you?” Her fingers trembled as she set them back on the keyboard. She didn’t want to talk about this, didn’t really even want to think about it.

He finally turned and leaned back against the counter. “Because I can see it still eating at you. I may not feel the same way he does,” his lips tilted up slightly at that, “but I still care about you. What happened, Corrin?”

She shook her head and even though she kept her fingers on the keyboard, she couldn’t type anything. She didn’t want to go into it. Didn’t want them to see her that way. Especially not Jeremiah. He wasn’t here right now, but she knew he and Silas shared just about everything. Still, if anyone, Silas was the one she could be open with. Her relationship with him was different than what she had with Jeremiah. “This stays between us?” she asked.

“If that’s what you need. I promise.”

She nodded. Silas had never made a promise he hadn’t kept. So, she started talking and felt some of the weight she’d been carrying these last couple months melt away.

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Today is Day 21 of Just Jot It January and also another Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Today’s prompt for both was “glass”, either using the word in the post or finding something made of glass and using that. This is going to happen sometime during Playing with Fire. I know what happened with Corrin, but I’m being evasive about it for reasons. You may just have to wait until I finish writing the story to find out. 🙂

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