#FlashFictionFriday – Cultivating Love – Alternate Universe 1 Part 7 #FlashFic

Flash Fiction Friday

Today’s Flash Fiction Friday scene uses the words left in last week’s post: pink bubbly 😁

This is a continuation of Alternate Universe #1. You can find the first six installments on the Cultivating Love Bonus Scenes page.

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 the “Alternate Universe #2” scene (also found on the above reference bonus scenes page).

Told from Fred’s 3rd-person POV:

Cultivating Love – Alternate Universe #1 – Part 7

“Say what?” Ed sat, blinking rapidly. His expression was otherwise blank. No anger at least. Confusion, perhaps. Possibly wondering whether he’d heard right, or maybe trying to process and make sense of what Fred had just told him.

Fred had thought about this moment often enough over the years, but the possibility that Ed had been told he’d died had never factored into the scenarios that had played out in his mind. He had no idea what emotion to expect out of Ed. Obviously something well short of busting out a bottle of pink bubbly, but with any luck it would be better than resentment and accusations. Was understanding too much to hope for?

When Ed’s face reddened and his body tensed, Joe’s hand lightly touched his shoulder. “Remember, they mentioned a letter they thought was from you but was probably sent by your mom. You know darned well what she might have written.” Joe hitched his head toward Fred and Bill. “You know…considering.”

Considering, apparently, that one wouldn’t exactly need finely-tuned gaydar to see that Fred and Bill were a couple since they’d dropped the ball when it came to maintaining their usual carefully honed public body language. A simple deduction from there would be that Fred was gay. Joe apparently knew enough about Susan—Ed’s mother—to know how vitriolic her opinion of LGBT people was.

Some of the tension in Ed’s face subsided as he sorted through that bit of information. “What about before this letter?” His words were still terse.

“You thought I was dead,” Fred replied. “That tells you everything you need to know about the lengths she went to, to keep me from you.”

“You never tried to get shared custody?”

“Of course he did!” Bill’s tone wasn’t as unruffled as Fred would have liked, but at least he kept the volume down. Fred placed a calming hand on Bill’s thigh.

“I feel like anything I say will come off like I ‘doth protest too much,’” Fred said. “I’ve got boxes filled with paperwork in my basement. I’d love nothing more than to show you the evidence of everything I’ve done.”

Which would have the collateral benefit of spending more time in each other’s company and getting to know one another. Bill lifted the hand Fred had placed on his leg and pressed it. No doubt he knew what Fred was trying to do.

Ed didn’t reply right away. Instead, he turned to peer at Joe.

“Whatever you want to do,” Joe murmured.

“What about Denver?” Ed asked.

“We’re not going to enjoy Denver if we leave things hanging here, right?” Joe shrugged. “Not a big deal if our plans get delayed…or change.”


Joe simply nodded, and Ed turned back to Fred with a more thoughtful expression on his face. “Okay. Let’s go see this paperwork.”

Leave as many prompt words as you like in the comments, but I’ll only promise to use one from each contributor in next week’s post (although I’ll try to use them all).



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.

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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).

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Flash Fiction Friday

5 thoughts on “#FlashFictionFriday – Cultivating Love – Alternate Universe 1 Part 7 #FlashFic

  1. Awwww, I love when you surprise me. I didn’t think I’d be pampered with Ed&Joe when I gave you the words. Thank you ❤️ Poor Ed and Fred. I wanna bash Ed’s stupid mother over the head with a fictional baseball bat for doing this to them!

    And I sort of already gave you a word on Twitter, didn’t I? Glabrous. But to make it fun, I’ll add “hairy” 🙂

    1. (And it seems only fair to surprise you with an out of the blue extension of this thread after torturing you by dragging the scene out before this.) 😉

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