This bonus scene was originally published in my December, 2022 newsletter, and was written using subscriber-supplied prompt words.
Speaking of my newsletter, the February edition is (probably) going out tomorrow morning. In lieu of the usual flash fiction or bonus scene, this month I’m including an exclusive sneak peak at the opening scene of my upcoming novelette (or novella?), Luck of the Draw. So if you want in on that, and aren’t already a subscriber, you can sign up, here:
These are the prompt words that were supplied/used in this scene:
prompt ~ tardy ~ lamp ~ holiday card ~ Brazil ~ tinnitus ~ tangerine ~ frigid ~ umami ~ preternatural
Without further ado…
“Sorry, what?” Gavin reached for a Christmas cookie and rubbed at his ear. The only good thing about the ringing he’d been experiencing since the last perp he’d chased down landed a solid punch to the side of his head was that it was mild, wasn’t constant, and was likely temporary. But when it flared up it was distracting.
Matthew’s brows drew together in concern. “Is that preternatural tinnitus bothering you again?”
“That…” Gavin sputtered, laughed, and pointed toward Matthew’s desk. “Don’t make me burn your darned word-of-the-day calendar.”
Matthew snorted. “You gave it to me!”
“More fool I.” Gavin smirked. He’d wanted to give Matthew a few things to unwrap alongside his main Christmas present, which had been a travel voucher for two for a week in Hawaii innocently stuffed into an otherwise innocuous holiday card. They would both enjoy escaping the frigid winter air in January. “Anyway, what were you saying?”
Matthew stuck out his pinky finger in a mock pretentious pose and took a sip of “tangy tangerine green tea,” one of the selections in the huge sampler box of teas from Umami Gourmet Coffee & Exotic Teas that Matthew’s sister had given him. He raised a cocky eyebrow at Gavin. “I asked you if you thought I should get a Brazilian wax before we go to Hawaii?”
Good thing Gavin wasn’t the one drinking the tea, because he probably would have spurted it everywhere. Instead, he repeated his earlier sputter and rubbed at his ear for effect. “Say what!?”
* * * * *
Victor turned and flashed a grin when Bryan chortled behind him. “Are you going to try to psychoanalyze my story scene choices again?”
Bryan put his hands up as if surrendering to enemy forces. “Would I?” He laughed. “I was just coming to let you know we need to leave for Amelia’s party in about five minutes. But, I guess I get what I deserve for reading over your shoulder.” He laid a hand on said shoulder and gave it a squeeze. “If there’s anything subliminal in that mess I’m not sure I want to know.”
“Babe?” Victor stretched to give Bryan a quick peck on the lips. “Do not…I repeat, do not get a Brazilian, or any other kind of wax.” He shrugged. “Well, not for me, anyway. Only if you’re hiding a secret desire to do it.”
“Hell no.” Bryan shook his head with exaggerated force. “I gotta ask, though. Is that seriously a legit scene for your new Gavin and Matthew novel, or was that one of your weird you-knew-I-was-reading-over-your-shoulder scenes?”
“Neither. It’s a my-newsletter-subscribers-gave-me-a-bunch-of-wacky-prompt-words-and-I-need-to-write-a-bonus-scene-using-them scene.” Victor rolled his eyes. “I trying to work all the words in without an obvious shoehorn, but I’m pretty sure I’m failing.”
He didn’t get to hear the no-doubt gallant attempt Bryan would make at reassuring him it was amazing—even though he’d already been busted calling it a mess—because a crash sounded from the living room, and they dashed to inspect the fresh damage the cats had wrought on the Christmas tree’s ornaments.
As they rounded the corner, Felix kicked off from near the top of the tree and flew through the air to chase Socks down the hall.
“No!” Bryan gasped, and they rushed toward the toppling tree, skidding to a stop as it crashed onto a side table and knocked their A Christmas Story leg lamp to the floor, too.
“Damn.” Bryan heaved a sigh and flopped onto the couch. “I’m not sure what she’s got up her sleeve, but Amelia wanted us there promptly at eight. I just finished telling her we might actually be early.”
Nah, screw the mess. Victor shook his head. He didn’t know what Amelia was planning for her New Year’s Eve party, either, but knowing her, it would be fun, and they would not be tardy. “Let’s just unplug the tree and lamp and leave it until tomorrow.” They’d been planning to take it all down then, anyway. “It won’t hurt anything.”
Bryan nodded, and a corner of his mouth quirked up. He pointed at the leg lamp. “Looks like we need to find a new stocking for our ‘major award,’ but it’s otherwise intact.”
Victor held out a hand, and Bryan grasped it to be pulled up and into Victor’s arms. “Have I told you yet today how much I love you?”
Bryan smiled and planted a quick kiss on Victor’s lips. “Love you too. Always.” He hitched his head toward the door and hollered down the hall. “Felix! Socks! Do not destroy the rest of the apartment while we’re gone!”