#FlashFictionFriday April 6, 2018 – #BonusScene To Love and To Cherish

Welcome to my (fairly) regular weekly Flash Fiction Friday post, where I take the prompt words left in the comments of the previous week’s FFF post and use them in a new bit of flash.

This one uses the 15 words:

unicorn – piano – earl – infernal – planet – sonnet – flag – game – thesaurus – striped – tower – north – coaster – camera – fan

…that were left in the comments of the March 23 FFF post.

And I found another picture featuring the same model as the book’s cover that works for this scene (heh…well, I made it work 😁).

Man with Wine

Click here for more bonus scenes for To Love and To Cherish.

Check out the menu, above, or click these links for all my bonus scene and flash fiction options.

This week’s scene continues the thread I began last October, which I added to in early March. You can expand the spoiler tags if you missed them or need a refresher of the significant event that has happened in Nash and Emmitt’s life:

Jumping to Conclusions? (Oct. 27, 2017)

Click here for the original post on Oct. 27, 2017.

Uses the 3 prompt words (flow – motivation – missing) left in the comments of the previous week’s Flash Fiction Friday post.

Told from Nash’s 3rd-person POV:

“Huh.” Nash halted in the middle of the walking track and stared at the text message on his phone: Can you cut it short and come back up please?

Grampy stopped beside him and leaned on his cane. Nash showed him Emmitt’s message and asked, “What do you make of that?”

Chortling, Grampy replied, “I learned a long time ago to just take things at face value. Go with the flow and don’t let my imagination get the better of me.”

“You mean you’re not going to help me read between the lines?” Nash put his hands on his hips in mock consternation.

“Nothing’s missing between any lines.” Grampy winked and started toward the exit. “Come on, whippersnapper, before you start jumping to conclusions like you’re prone to do.”

Nash didn’t need any additional motivation to follow. Having his tendency pointed out to him kept him from voicing his concerns aloud, and he at least tried not to picture any worst-case scenarios. Never mind that it was only because his imagination couldn’t come up with anything that made sense.

The elevator seemed slow enough it was easy to fancy a cluster of trolls pulling it up with a rope and pulley rather than the smooth mechanical system his rational self knew was behind it. Although Nash was pretty sure he wasn’t projecting any yearning for Grampy to walk faster once they finally reached their floor, Grampy’s sly grin made him question that.

When they finally reentered their apartment, Emmitt was standing by the kitchen island with a huge wide grin.

“What?” Nash put a hand to his heart. At least it was clearly good news, but still…

“It’s been a while since we talked about it, so I wanted to speak to you before proceeding.”

“Please, just say it!”

“Are you still okay with having older children placed with us, or would you rather hold out for an infant? We got a call. Three brothers need a home.”

Nash had to put a hand on the wall to steady himself. He was incapable of words, but he was pretty sure his beaming smile and frantically bobbing head did the job.

Memory Lane (March 2, 2018)

Click here for the original post on March 2, 2017.

Depositphotos_12250697_m-2015 - 600x440

Uses the 4 prompt words (macrobiotic – ice bag – wheal – gallipot) left in the comments of the previous week’s Flash Fiction Friday post.

Told from Nash’s 3rd-person POV:

After a whirlwind shopping expedition to switch out the spare bedroom’s furniture with a space-saving bunk bed with a trundle, along with a short book case, a rack of bins for small toys, and a toy box, Nash and Emmitt were at least physically ready to welcome the six-year-old, and twin four-year-old boys into their home.

Of course they were both elated at the prospect of welcoming their new sons, but emotionally Nash was relieved to find Emmitt as much a wreck as he was. Meanwhile, Grampy was no-holds-barred thrilled out of his mind, practically bouncing with anticipation. His trip down memory lane wasn’t exactly helping Nash and Emmitt’s predicament.

“If they’re anything like Emmitt, we’ll wish we had eyes in the back of our heads.” Grampy chortled as he shook his head at Emmitt. “Every other time your mother turned around you were earning another trip to the ER.”

“That’s so different from how he is today.” Nash poured a glass of orange juice and turned to face Emmitt. “You’re so careful and precise in everything you do.”

Emmitt opened his mouth to reply, but Grampy beat him to it. “Oh, he was very careful and precise while shoving all those beads up his nose.”

Nash sputtered and covered his mouth as juice spurted out his nose. Emmitt sighed and rubbed Nash’s back. “In my defense, I was three.”

Nash coughed and wiped his face. “Grampy, darn it, I thought you’d spilled all the beans by now. Are you still holding out on me?”

“What did you think all those beads saved in that old ceramic thing on the shelf over yonder were from?”

“You saved them?” Nash laughed. “What ceramic thing?”

“The gallipot,” Emmitt said. “Second shelf.”

“Oh yeah.” Nash had unpacked Emmitt’s knickknacks for him and had wondered about those beads at the time, but he’d long since forgotten about it. “Bet all those trips to the ER are why you got interested in medicine.”

“Probably, although Grampy likes to joke it might have been the other way around.”

“I think those stitches you got on your arm were the turning point,” Grampy said. “You were five, weren’t you? That’s when you turned into a little ghoul, fascinated by anything bloody.”

“I still remember that.” Emmitt pointed out the faint scar on his forearm and looked at Nash. “You know the little wheal that’ll pop up with a local anesthetic injection?”

Nash nodded.

“I was transfixed by that little bubble, then of course watching the doctor stitch up the gash was even more riveting. Grampy’s right. I was hooked after that.”

“Later, you kept removing the ice bag,” Grampy said. “And trying to pull off the bandage so you could ogle those stitches.”

“Well,” Nash said, “I think we’ll be pretty darned lucky if our boys are anything like Emmitt.”

Emmitt grinned. “Careful what you wish for.” He glanced at his watch. “They’ll be here any time. You got everything we needed at the grocery store this morning?”

Nash pointedly hiked up a brow. Emmitt had helped him put the stuff away.

The boys’ birth parents had had their family on a strict macrobiotic diet, and Nash and Emmitt had agreed they’d transition the kids to the same healthy balanced diet they consumed themselves. There were some similarities—they avoided sodas and refined/packaged foods, bought organic, and prepared their meals from fresh, fruits, vegetables, grains, etc., but they included meat, eggs, dairy, and spices in their diet, drank fruit juice, and didn’t totally eliminate sugar. They certainly didn’t avoid chocolate. But Nash had made a point of picking up more fish and beans to help with the diet shift.

“Sorry,” Emmitt said. “I’m just…”

“Nervous?” Grampy asked.

“Your stories aren’t helping any, you know.”

Grampy’s answering grin told them he knew exactly the effect his stories were having. But he relented. “You two are going to make wonderful parents. Quit worrying.”

The buzzer sounded, alerting them that they had someone downstairs looking to make it past the security door. They froze and stared at each other for a moment before Emmitt stood and strode to the console.

They were about to find out if Grampy was right.

This new scene is told from Nash’s 3rd-person POV:


Alton, Bobby, and Clyde

Alton, Bobby, and Clyde. Kid A, kid B, and kid C. Although, since Bobby was short for Robert, it was possible that hadn’t been a deliberate point on the part of their birth parents.

The twins’ names were a bit of unintentional prophesy, perhaps, since Bonnie and Clyde would have been apt, had one of them been a girl. Nash’s chest heaved with a weary (but happy…definitely happy) sigh as the pair rolled a striped ball and a bead-filled polka-dotted cylinder toward a looming tower of wooden blocks.

He winced when the structure tumbled to the hard floor, making an “infernal racket”—the adjective was the downstairs’ neighbor’s word, not Nash’s. They’d had a few more choice (and exaggerated) words, probably pulled straight from a thesaurus—or maybe they had one of those word-of-the-day calendars and liked to put it to good use—but the childless couple below wasn’t home at this time on a weekday, so screw ’em.

The boys whooped, celebrating their direct hit, and an alphabet block sporting a “u” and a corresponding unicorn adorning an adjacent side rolled to a clattering stop at Nash’s feet where he stood next to the open refrigerator. He nudged the block, sliding it back toward the twins with a smile.

“Thanks, Daddy!” Clyde snatched the block and ran back to the pile where Bobby was already rebuilding.

Meanwhile, Alton painstakingly pounded out scales on the piano—or rather electronic keyboard, so they could control the volume despite the child’s forceful efforts. The commotion didn’t seem to faze the six-year-old at all. No doubt he was used to it. Usually he was in the thick of it.

Grampy raised his phone, clearly accessing the built-in camera as he scanned it back and forth, taking in all the action.

“Not ready to raise the white flag yet, Grampy?” Nash knew the answer, but it would be fun to hear Grampy’s reply.

Emmitt’s grandfather chortled and shook his head. “When to the sessions of sweet silent thought…

He said the words like he was quoting something. It did sound a bit like the beginning of one of Shakespeare’s sonnets Nash had been forced to study years ago. He’d have to look it up later to understand the reference.

Nash placed a fresh glass of juice on a coaster near Grampy’s seat. The old man grinned, reveling in the pandemonium that was their new life. It was no surprise that Grampy enjoyed the chaos. Heck, he fanned the flames every chance he got. But there was a method to his madness, encouraging creativity, sparking their imaginations. And he knew how to rein it in when necessary. He loved to sit at the table playing a board game with the kids as they wound down during their after-dinner quiet hours. All in all, Grampy was an invaluable role model for a new parent who’d been thrown in at the deep end.

Back at the kitchen island, Nash took a deep breath, then a sip of his Earl Grey tea, and tension eased from his shoulders as he the pleasant, citrusy, magical brew did its job.

He didn’t even notice the “music” had stopped until Alton asked, “What’s for dinner?” as he stood right by Nash’s elbow.

“Do you want to help?” Nash asked. Alton’s dark head bobbed. He’d taken over from Grampy as a most-willing sous chef, while Grampy dealt with twin control. “Great! We’re making honey-garlic chicken, rice, sautéed green beans, and glazed carrots.”

Alton dragged the step-stool over, and Nash set the little boy to snapping the beans while he cleaned and sliced carrots. Grampy queued up a string of classic Disney songs, and they bopped and sang “The Bare Necessities” as they worked.

Nash jumped and put a sticky hand to his chest when Emmitt murmured, “Planet earth to Nash,” right in his ear.

“Pops is home!” Alton yelled.

“Aw,” Bobby whined. “Is it quiet time already?”

“Not yet,” Emmitt said. “I’m home early.”

The twins cheered and resumed building a trio of block towers. A Tonka truck stood ready for the demolition phase of the project.

Nash lifted his chin for a kiss, and an eyebrow inquiringly. Surgery days ran late more often than early.

Emmitt delivered the perfunctory kiss. “Had a cancellation.” Which was all the explanation Nash would get, thanks to HIPAA. “But I’ve been free for hours.”

“Oh?” Nash gathered ingredients to make the sauces while Emmitt popped a couple raw carrot slices into his mouth.

“I knew early this morning that I’d have half the afternoon free, so I scrolled through Zillow.”

“Ah.” They’d discussed the possibility—likelihood, really—of selling the condo and buying a single-family home. While they’d originally thought continuing to live in the condo was doable, three children sharing one bedroom was a stretch anyway, and the boys were…well…on the rambunctious end of the disposition spectrum, so it wasn’t really the best environment for them—or the neighbors. “Did you take a preliminary look at some, then?”

“Yes.” Emmitt blew out a breath and leaned against the counter. “Thank you for understanding.”

That Emmitt had looked without him? Nash shrugged. “No biggie.” Considering they would either have to take everyone with them or arrange for Percy and Opal to come sit with Grampy and the kids, it made sense for one of them to narrow it down before a joint tour for the final decision. “Find any with potential?”

“One,” Emmitt said. “And ‘potential’ is certainly the key word, because it’s pretty rough.”

“Sure we want to deal with that?”

“It’s a five-bedroom Victorian with over thirty-six hundred square feet in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.”

“Seriously?” Nash put the bowl he’d been stirring aside to focus on Emmitt’s words. He’d reconciled himself to the idea that they’d have to live in the suburbs. “Capitol Hill?” That was just a bit north of where they were now. Emmitt would still be nearby his office and the hospital, and they would still be close to all the entertainment venues and amenities that had drawn them each to downtown Seattle in the first place. They wouldn’t be giving up anything of value.

“Thought you’d like that.” Emmitt’s grin spread. “It would need repairs and renovation first, though. It’s been converted into a multi-family residence, so we’ll have to hire a contractor to reverse that.” Emmitt shuddered. “Not to mention the landscaping.”

Nash bounced on the balls of his feet. With five bedrooms they could have a guest room again if the twins shared a bedroom. But, he grimaced. “Do I want to know what something that big costs.”

“Probably not.” Emmitt laughed. “It seems outrageous given the condition, but we’d be paying for the location and the space. And really…” He bopped his head side to side. “After rolling in the estimated renovation expenses, it’s on par with this condo.”

“It sounds fantastic. I want to see it.”

“I hope you don’t mind,” Emmitt said. “But I’ve arranged another viewing for us this evening. I’ve already called Percy. He and Opal will be here at six-thirty, and we’ll meet the agent there at seven.”

Mind? Nash threw his arms around Emmitt’s neck. Heck, no, he didn’t mind. The house sounded like it would be the best of both worlds—a big home with a yard for the kids, and gardening opportunities for Grampy, all without giving up everything they loved about living in the city. “I kind of want to crack open a bottle of bubbly.” But that would probably jinx them.

No doubt this’ll be continued someday in the future. 😉

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


To Love and To Cherish

Jilted by his fiancé two weeks before their wedding, Nash Marino’s outlook on life in general, and love in particular, is jaded. After months of couch-surfing, Nash is fed up. He’s sick and tired of his living conditions, worn out by the demands of his nursing job, and despairs of ever finding love again. In fact, he doesn’t think he’s capable of true love. Monogamy, commitment, companionship, and regular sex…that’s all he wants, and the sooner, the better.

When Nash crosses paths with a like-minded man who’s also in need of a live-in nurse for a beloved relative, Nash figures all his problems are solved. Matters are complicated by a freak accident and amnesia. When Nash’s marriage of convenience scheme is muddied by notions of love after his memory reboot, will their plans go awry, or will Nash’s new outlook on life be just what the doctor ordered?

To Love and To Cherish - Cover

10 thoughts on “#FlashFictionFriday April 6, 2018 – #BonusScene To Love and To Cherish

  1. Awwww, I LOVE the kids. And I love Grampy filming them with his phone. Gave me a happy, melty feeling in the stomach!! And good job using all the words, not that I had expected anything else from you by now! 😉

    So, words for next time? Soda, star, sunflower, sad, scissors, sciatica, sambal, sociopath, soccer, and SCOTUS. Have fun 😁😁

    1. Thank you!

      That’s an interesting set of “s” words. I think I can come up with something, but I’m going to have to hold them over for the following week. I got a jump on this coming week’s scene using words from a random word generator, and there’s no way I can shoehorn this set into what I’ve already done. They’re going to need their own story! 💖

      1. Ha! Looks like I need to take that back. I stalled out trying to figure out how to finish the story I’d started, so I took another look at your words and it turns out they were perfect to direct the rest of the story.

        1. LOL, that’s awesome! I hadn’t actually planned on making them S words, but the first 4 I came up with started with S so I just kept going 🙂

          Can’t wait to see what you’ll come up with 🙂

          1. Technically it’s a stand-alone, but it does feature Jonathan who was the POV character in the first two alternate universe rescue scenes for ’Til Death Do Us Part.

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