Today’s Flash Fiction Friday scene uses the words left in last week’s post: tease – taunt – torture.
This is a continuation of the “ALTERNATE UNIVERSE #1” scene for Cultivating Love that I first posted back on June 2 (if you haven’t read it, consider clicking this link to do so before reading this week’s continuation of it).
NOTE: The action in this scene takes place prior to the published story.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The action in this scene is NOT consistent with the published story, and CANNOT be considered a true prequel. If this scene had happened, the book would be entirely different. The action in this scene is also unrelated to that other “What if?” scene I posted on June 30 (alternate universe #2).
Told from Fred’s 3rd-person POV:
Fred’s phone vibrated on the diner’s tabletop, and he smirked at Bill after looking at the screen. “It’s Ruby.” She’d probably noticed his truck here and was going to tease him some more about his recent wardrobe malfunction.
He swiped and put the phone to his ear. “Don’t worry, I checked my jeans for awkwardly located holes before putting them on this morning.”
Bill shook his head and grunted. “Saw an unfamiliar truck pull in front of the store a few minutes ago.”
Ah, fresh gossip, then?
“I figured.” Ruby laughed. “No, I want to give you a head’s up. A couple out-of-towners are walking your way.”
“What’s wrong with them?” Fred picked up his water glass and shrugged when Bill quirked a brow.
“Nothin’. Though I suppose some would consider one of ’em being the spittin’ image of you to be a drawback.” Fred’s hand stilled with his glass halfway to his mouth. “Anyway, he’s a Jamison and was surprised to hear he potentially had a living relative in Mayfield.”
“He’s a Jamison?” Bill’s eyes widened at Fred’s words. “Got a first name?”
Fred carefully placed the glass back on the table before his shaking hand dropped it. Why would Ed come to Mayfield? To taunt him? No, Ruby’d said something about him not realizing he had living relatives here. How could that be?
“Ed? He’s here? He’s coming to the diner?” Fred swiveled in his seat as Bill leaned for a better look out the window. A blond man and another who did indeed look a lot like Fred tossed a couple bags into the truck Bill must’ve been referring to earlier, then the blond smiled and placed a hand on the doppelganger’s shoulder before hitching his head toward the diner and saying something.
“Recognize the name do you?” She made a sound that Fred couldn’t quite interpret. Not quite derision, but possibly disappointment. Yeah, she’d feel let down about Fred keeping her in the dark about something like this. “He said his dad had been from Mayfield, but died before he was born. They figured you might be a cousin or something.”
Fred swayed in his seat as the blood drained from his face. Of all the ways he’d imagined meeting his son for the first time, a no-notice public confrontation had never entered his mind. Ed had told her his dad died before he was born. Did he actually believe that, or was it one of those “you’re dead to me” things?
The two men slowly ambled toward the diner. It was pure torture waiting…wondering. Why had he decided to seek Fred out now?
“Fred? You still there?” Ruby’s voice sounded distant. Probably because he’d unconsciously lowered the phone.
He brought it back up. “Yeah. Sorry. I’ll call you back, okay?”
“Lookin’ forward to it.” She clicked off without another word.
Fred placed the phone on the table and half stood before dropping back down. Bill patted his hand, which told him how panic-stricken he must appear, because he and Bill avoided anything even remotely resembling affectionate physical displays in public.
“Want me to head them off?” Bill sidled to the edge of his bench seat ready to act.
“No. They look…friendly. Not hostile anyway—like they’re here to stir up trouble.”
Bill’s head tilted to the side as he continued to stare at the approaching figures. “Maybe. Want me to make myself scarce?”
Fred shook his head. “Not if you can play nice.” Hell, he could use the moral support. But… “I know this is a sore subject for you.”
“Can’t think of any good reason for him to be here—not with his history.”
“I don’t know why they’re here right now—don’t even know who the other guy is. But from what Ruby said, that shit might’ve been all Susan’s doing. He might not even know I’m alive.”
“Nope.” The two young men were almost to the diner’s door. This was it. The moment he’d been anticipating for the last twenty-odd years. Good, bad, or ugly, it was about to go down. He took a deep breath, slid out of his seat, and stood to await his son’s long-anticipated arrival.
I know, I know…I’m doing it again. Ending it right before they meet (again). 😁 Guess I need some more words to drive this alternate universe story onward. #SorryNotSorry
A man of few words, Joe is a hard-working farmhand who likes his simple, uncomplicated life. Ed is satisfied with his existence as an auto mechanic, but thrilled when an unexpected development in his life allows him to help Joe realize a dream.
It forces them, however, to reevaluate the casual, undefined nature of their relationship. They’re too macho to speak of love, and neither would acknowledge he doesn’t really mind when it’s his turn to bottom. When life throws them a curve ball, and the rules of their game get old, Ed tries to take every aspect of their relationship up a notch. Can Joe adapt to the open sentimentality Ed’s injecting into their relationship, let alone the new spice in their bedroom activities?
This is a previously published story that has been rewritten, expanded, and re-edited.
As with all my books at JMS Books, LLC, Cultivating Love is available for #FREE download with your #KindleUnlimited subscription (as well as available in other formats at all the usual distributors).