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Just Jot It January: Day 26 – “Address”

“Should we address that?” Connor asked Adrian, nodding toward Callum. Kayla had left the room, and they should be finishing getting ready. But, his brother looked like he was about to dig all his tattoos off his skin with his nails.

“Shit,” Adrian muttered.

Connor let out a little snort. “You really need to stop swearing in church, Adrian. What would Mom think?”

“Good thing she’s not in here, then.” Adrian headed toward their brother, and Connor followed. “Will you stop that?” he told Callum. “Unless you want Megan to give you first aid before you put that ring on her finger.”

“What if she changed her mind?” Callum didn’t look at either of his brothers, but his fingers finally stilled. “She’d be smart to. Just take Kaelin and Ayden and leave me before I screw everything up. Again.”

“Stop talking like that,” Adrian demanded.

But, Connor was studying his brother and saw the fear in his eyes. “What’s bringing this on?” he asked. “That woman loves you. She’s not just going to walk away. She promised you she wouldn’t.”

“She promised to stand beside me before and walked away.” Callum closed his eyes. “I don’t blame her. I wanted to walk away from me back then.”

“That was different,” Adrian argued. “You were in prison. She probably was smart to walk away then. You may not have cleaned yourself up the way you have if she didn’t. You aren’t the same guy anymore, though. Why can’t you see that when everyone else seems to be able to?”

“What if I’ve just dressed him up really well but that all ends up falling away now. I don’t want to hurt her, don’t want to hurt any of them.”

“Then, straighten yourself out,” Adrian said firmly, “and get ready to stand in the front of this church. She has faith in you. You need to have it in yourself, too. You’ve been clean for nearly three years. What makes you think that’s going to change now?”

“The thought is always there,” Callum admitted. “I fight it back, but it would be so easy to give in. I’ve done it before. If I did it again, I’d lose everything. But, sometimes I’m afraid that won’t be enough. Why wasn’t she smart enough to just walk away from me?”

“Because I’ve always been stupid about you, Callum Riley.”

“Jesus Christ,” Rian muttered from the other side of the room. “You two aren’t supposed to see each other before the wedding.”

Adrian nudged Connor. “Why aren’t you yelling at him? At least I didn’t take His name in vain.”

“He’s the oldest. He’s always been allowed to do what he wants.”

Adrian snickered, but Connor was watching Megan roll her eyes at Rian. “We’ve been living together for the last year. We have two children together. I doubt your superstitions have any hold over us at this point.” She turned back to Callum. “Yours, however…”

Connor almost thought his brother was going to cry. But, he wrapped his arms around Megan and held on. “I just don’t want to screw this up. And I’m so afraid I’m going to. I don’t want to hurt you. Or the kids.”

“Then, start talking to your therapist again, instead of rescheduling your appointments  all the time. We can go back to joint therapy if that’s what it takes to get you steady on your feet again. All I care about is keeping you here with me.” She pulled back then. “Now, go out there and I’ll see you in a few minutes so we can get this done and get on with the rest of our lives. Together.”

Connor nearly felt his brother’s tension ease with her words. He glanced through the door, but of course he couldn’t see all the way into the sanctuary. Was Ames out there? They said they would come. Did it even matter? What they had together was so new, there was no way to tell if it could be as strong as what each of his brothers, and his sister, had found.

That might be something they just had to address. Soon. But, not today. Today was all about Callum and Megan. Connor would put aside his own worries to celebrate that.

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

Okay, that ended up a lot longer than I’d planned. Today’s Just Jot It prompt was “Address” by John Holton. Callum showed up in the first book of my Flames series(which was Adrian’s story) as the drug addict brother Adrian had arrested. He actually ended up with his own story(which is where he ran into Megan again and found out he had a daughter). He’s made a few more appearances in the other stories as well. But, he’s finally getting married. This follows right after yesterday’s post.

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Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Egg

It’s Saturday again, which means time for some stream of consciousness writing. Today’s prompt is “egg”. So, let’s see where I can go with this. (Apparently I had my BC Security guys on the brain, since they’re the ones who took over. I seriously didn’t know until the third line. This will take place between Protecting the Heart and Defending the Heart. Small spoiler at the end to Protecting…though it’s pretty much a given for me. And Protecting the Heart isn’t even finished it, so that’s the only bit of the end I really know).

“There’s really no reason to egg him on.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, brother.”

Declan eyes his old friend. “Piers, come on. You know Xavier never turns down a dare. Especially when it comes from you.”

Piers turned away from him. “You don’t know what you’re talking about, Dec. Just leave it.”

“Granted, I do talk a lot,” Declan said as he fell into step beside Piers as they headed across the ranch yard. It had been transformed for the day. Tables and chairs setup, a dance floor improvised in the middle of the yard. “So, occasionally there is something I don’t know about. But, this isn’t one of them.” Piers didn’t respond, so Declan continued. “I saw you slip him that ten to cut in on Emelyn and Casey. What was the dare? To see if he could get decked by the groom, or to see if he could do it without a punch?”

Piers threw his head back and laughed. That was good to see. Declan had been worrying about his friend lately. He insisted nothing was wrong, but there was something missing. A light that didn’t shine in his eyes anymore. Except the occasional time he caught him glancing at Xavier. What had happened between those two?

Declan knew some of it, or had put it together at least. But, he wasn’t sure what had broken both of them.

The laugh died off when Xavier glanced back at them. He was nearly to the dance floor, where the bride and groom, and several others, were dancing. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d seen Casey so happy. It was good to see, after everything the man had been through. He deserved this happiness now.

Xavier smirked at them, but even rom here he could tell it didn’t match the look in the man’s eyes. They were shadowed, as they had been for a while now. Almost since Declan himself and Piers had joined up with Casey and Alex’s security company. He wished he could figure out what was wrong and somehow fix it.

“Like I said,” Piers said, his voice low and rough now. “You don’t know what you’re talking about. There’s at least one dare he refuses to take. He won’t-” He broke off on a curse and stuffed his hands in his pockets. “Never mind.”

Declan wasn’t sure what to say to Piers, but he still wanted to make things better. Before he could, Piers let out another laugh. “Leave it to him,” he murmured. “Only one who could get away with that.”

Declan glanced back to the dance floor, and saw Xavier swinging Emelyn away from Casey, and she was laughing as they went. Casey just stood there, shaking his head at them. Piers clapped Declan on the back. “I’m going to get a drink. Want to join me?”

Piers was trying to act like nothing mattered, but Declan could see under that. But, there was nothing he could do if his friend wouldn’t let him in. “No,” he said, “I’ve got to get back to my girls.” he glanced back toward the table where Eva and Dani sat. His girls. He’d never thought he’d say that or still feel so protective of them. But, he’d nearly lost them once and would never chance it happening again.

Piers squeezed his shoulder then stepped away. When Declan reached Eva, she grinned at him. “You’ve got a bunch of colorful friends, Mr. Portor.”

He grinned then leaned over to kiss her. “That’s a nice way of putting it, Mrs. Portor.” That still felt so shiny and new, it gave him a thrill to say. “We’re a bunch of colorful eggs, aren’t we?”

Family Friday: 5 Years

Five years ago today, I held onto my stepdad’s arm and walked down the aisle to marry the man I love. It’s still hard to believe it’s been five years all ready. In that time, we have had two kids, got two cats(and lost one), got a second dog, and bought a house.

I can still remember riding up to the church and how foggy it was when we first left my friend’s house(where I stayed the night before). And just before we hit town, it suddenly cleared and the sun came out. That’s how I knew my father-in-law was there to see us even though we had just buried him a little more than a week earlier. Ask me about any other details of that day though, and I’d probably be at a loss to tell you. I don’t remember who all was there, what the preacher said at the ceremony or most of what happened at the reception. I barely remember what we ate except that I helped make the meatballs we had. And it’s not just me, my husband says it’s all a blur to him as well. I do remember going back to our apartment and ordering pizza(since we didn’t have time to eat at the reception) and opening all our cards that night. He didn’t have any vacation time yet since he had started a new job in February, so we didn’t go on a honeymoon, he only took the Monday after  the wedding off. We thought about going away on our 1st anniversary, but by then we had a five week old. We never did get the chance to go away.

It has been a good five years, and I can’t wait to see what the next ones bring.

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