Flash Fiction Friday – To Love and To Cherish – Bonus Scene

Flash Fiction Friday

This week I’m back to using 15 random prompt words for my Flash Fiction Friday story scene. I got one word (patriarchy) from the comments of last week’s post, and 14 words (level – cleanwaitcrimeapparelrocktestyagreeableunhealthyhangchannelbackrelyisland) from a random word generator (got them in three batches, otherwise they’re blocked by ads—screenshots below).

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I should get bonus points this week for getting the word “island” and not using it for a scene from ’Til Death Do Us Part. 😇

“Oh, please. Don’t even try to tell me patriarchy isn’t alive and well.” Nash’s head snapped up as Angela’s voice carried over to where he and Emmitt were arranging a tray of fruit and vegetables to offer their company. “Did you read that idiotic letter to the editor some fool politician in Utah wrote?”

“No need to get testy with me.” Harley put his hands up in surrender. “I didn’t say it wasn’t still a concern, only that my company doesn’t discriminate or pay women less. I run a clean business.”

“Misogyny should be a crime,” Angela grumbled. “And don’t get me started on the sexism rampant in children’s apparel, either.”

“Lock ’em all up,” Harley prodded. “Send ’em all to ‘The Rock.’ Lower level, in solitary.”

Angela’s eyes narrowed. “I can always rely on you to stir in a little hyperbole.”

“I don’t suppose,” Emmitt whispered, “that it would be a good idea to inform her the Utah guy resigned two days later due to the backlash, would it?”

“Go ahead,” Nash snickered. “I’ll hang back here and wait while you go over and point that out.”

Emmitt chuckled and picked up the tray. “Not on your life.”

Nash grabbed a bag of chips out of the pantry since Harley had requested “something unhealthy” to go along with the nutritious stuff he’d known Emmitt would select.

“Or better yet,” Harley said, “ship the offenders off to that little island where Nash’s—”

“How about we change the channel,” Angela’s husband, interjected, “to something more agreeable than the news?”

“Good plan.” Harley’s fiancé, Oliver, picked up the remote and switched to a music channel. “Get us in the right frame of mind before we head out to Winterfest.”

Nash sat next to Emmitt on a sofa, and snuggled up under his husband’s arm with a spontaneous smile on his lips.

Harley raised an eyebrow and smirked. “Honeymoon’s still not over?”

Emmitt’s body shook with restrained laughter. Nash said, “Never. Is yours?”

“We’re not even married yet!”

“But you live together.”

“Not for that long. Not alone, anyway.” Harley waggled his eyebrows at Oliver, then pointed his finger at Nash. “It’s only been a few months since you moved out.”

Nash shuddered. “That was a fateful day.” The injury he’d sustained during the drive to move the last of his belongings to Emmitt’s condo had affected his life in so many bizarre ways.

“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again,” Harley declared. “It’s the best thing that ever happened to you.”

Nash wouldn’t have accepted that statement while enduring the pain and confusion of his recovery, but as Emmitt’s arm tightened around his shoulders, pulling him in for a hug, that familiar warmth spread through his chest, and he knew Harley was right.

Leave a prompt word in the comments, below, and I’ll use it in next week’s Flash Fiction Friday post. One word per commenter, please, up to 15 total.

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Click here for more information, review snips, and  purchase-links for To Love and To Cherish. Information on all my publications can be found in the menu at the top of the page.

15 Random Prompt Words – Flash Fiction Friday – Vows Series

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For this week’s 15 random words I’m using:

sudoku

carrot

lighten – level – self – language – wistful – warn – precede – end – weak – stiff – simple – wobble – fine

Above are screen prints of the words it gave me (I got them in 3 batches because otherwise they were covered by ads).

New rule…up until now I’ve used the words exactly as they show up on the random word generator lists. Starting this week I will only promise to use a form of the word. One issue is I write in past tense, and the verbs on the list are always present tense. That can make for some awkward wording if I’m not allowed to modify the form of the word. 15 words is enough of a challenge…I want a little flexibility overall.

This week I went with a bonus missing scene that would be primarily from ’Til Death Do Us Part, but it could also arguably fit in with Nash’s flashback dreams from To Love and To Cherish. I’m going to include it in the bonus scenes links for both since it features an MC from each and is pertinent to both stories. This scene takes place right after Henry has arrived back home, Sam and Nash clash, and Henry and Buddy are leaving to go stay for a short while with Sam’s parents, so Sam and Nash can have their much-needed discussion in private.

I’d originally included a similar scene in ’Til Death Do Us Part, but ended up removing it in favor of keeping the readers in suspense (along with Henry) as to how things would resolve.

It’s told from Sam’s 3rd-person POV.

Flash Fiction Friday

Sam would’ve rather been anywhere, doing anything, than staying where he was, watching Buddy precede Henry as they walked out the front door with Harley. He’d rather stand in front of a classroom full of incoming freshmen and use the words “epic fail” to describe his recent actions—or lack thereof. He’d rather have his career depend upon the outcome of his entry in a timed Sudoku contest against the math department professors. Hell, he’d rather get his balls waxed. In other words…anything.

If he needed a carrot on a stick to motivate him to turn around and face Nash, he supposed it could be the promise of getting Henry back after he’d suffered this long-overdue conversation.

Henry had been correct. Sam needed to do his level best to handle this properly. Much as he’d love to lighten the mood, to do so would be unfair to everyone involved. Sam straightened his shoulders and cast one more wistful glance out the window as Harley’s pickup backed out of the driveway, then turned to face his now-former fiancé.

Nash still stood with his arms stiff at his sides, his fists clenched as if he’d like nothing better than to unleash his admittedly righteous fury on Sam.

“I’m sorry,” Sam said, hoping a simple, sincere declaration would be a good start.

But, Nash’s face grew even redder. “Fuck you!” he shouted. Shrieked, really.

Sam wobbled on weak knees. Where the hell had that come from? Sure he’d known Nash was upset, as he should be, but they’d never raised their voices, let alone shouted at one another. That had come out of nowhere, with no warning. Language deserted Sam as his jaw dropped.

“First you couldn’t make a straightforward decision. Him or me? Do I stay or do I go? Then when you finally fucking did you couldn’t even pick up the goddamned phone and call me? Fuck! You!” At least Nash wasn’t yelling anymore, but his voice was cold and hard as he bit out the words.

What Nash said wasn’t entirely fair. Nash had contributed greatly to Sam’s indecision. He was the one who’d made the point that Henry would certainly have changed in five years and might not even want to get back together with Sam. It was almost as if Nash had seen the writing on the wall and actively lobbied to sway Sam’s decision.

But Sam didn’t want to make this about himself. This needed to be about helping Nash cope with the abrupt end to their engagement.

“I am sorry,” Sam whispered. Tears threated to fall as he ran a hand through his hair. “I do love you. Please remember that. You deserved better than a breakup over the phone, but I should have thought about how that reunion scene was being broadcast on TV.”

Nash stared at him for a moment, then his eyes became unfocused, and his gaze dropped.

“I didn’t want to hurt you,” Sam continued. “I would never have caused you pain deliberately.”

Nash sniffed loudly and lifted his gaze. The torment in Nash’s eyes ripped through Sam’s heart. Sam stepped forward instinctively to offer a hug, but Nash put up a hand, palm out. “No.” Nash shook his head. “That won’t help me anymore. It would hurt.”

Sam stilled, and his arms dropped. “What can I do to help.”

Rolling his shoulders and clearing his throat as if consciously trying to pull himself together, Nash looked around the room and said, “You know what? I’ll be fine. The sooner I clear out of here and move on with my life, the better off I’ll be. If you want to help, take a pass through the house and see if there’s anything I’ve missed packing.”

“Of course.” But Sam couldn’t bring himself to move his legs.

Nash wiped the back of his hand across his wet eyes. “I want to be ready to leave when Harley gets back.”

Stomach clenched, Sam nodded and stepped away. Nash might not want a hug, but Sam needed one desperately.

“Sam?”

Sam turned at the sound of the softly spoken word.

“I…I love you, too. That’s why…” Nash snuffled. “You know.”

“I know,” Sam murmured.

“Maybe…maybe one last hug for the road. I don’t want to end things like this.”

Sam’s hands trembled and one of the tears that had been threatening finally traced down his cheek. He opened his arms, and Nash stepped into them. “Thank you,” Sam whispered into Nash’s hair.

As always, because I can’t resist a good challenge, I’ll take the first 15 prompt words given to me in the comments, below, for next week’s Flash Fiction Friday post. One word per commenter, please. I’ll make up the difference using a random word generator site if I don’t get 15 here.

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Quick links to my website pages with buy-links, blurbs, excerpts, review snippets/links:

’Til Death Do Us Part

From This Day Forward

To Love and To Cherish

15 Random Prompt Words – Flash Fiction Friday – Dec 16, 2016 – To Love and To Cherish

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For this week’s 15 random words I’m using:

obfuscate

cool – retain – rubbish – indication – sip – communication – heart – chart – fantasy – relinquish – ritual – spine – cell phone – nervous

Below is the short-short I wrote using these words. This week I turned the words into a continuation scene for To Love and To Cherish told from Emmitt’s 1st person POV.

Flash Fiction Friday

“Hey, Emmitt,” Nash said, looking up from the bench in the dressing room. He bit his lip. Was he nervous? Troubled?

I’d put a bottle of champagne into a bucket of ice to cool, strategically placed on the other side of the huge round tub in the bathroom. I didn’t think Nash had seen me put it there, but why would he be uneasy even if he had? Maybe he wasn’t in the mood and was concerned about hurting my feelings.

There was no doubt he generally loved it when I injected a little fantasy role-playing, or even just an extra heavy dose of romance into our love life. It wouldn’t bother me if he didn’t want to play tonight. It would trouble me if he humored me when he didn’t feel up to it.

“What’s the matter?” I asked.

“Nothing’s the matter,” he replied. “I was just thinking about stuff, and wondering…”

I approached and knelt next to him and picked up his hand. If I knew anything, it was that the cornerstone of a healthy relationship was about keeping open the lines of communication.

“Tell me.” I brought his hand up to my lips and lightly kissed the palm.

Nash’s mouth quivered, and the dilation of his pupils was a good indication that I’d distracted rather than encouraged him. I nodded reassuringly to prod him to get it off his chest.

“I…uh…was thinking about when we first got together. What do you think we’d be doing right now if I hadn’t lost my memory and assumed we must be a love match?”

“We are a love match.”

“Well, yeah…now. But when we first agreed to get married we both said we didn’t believe in love.”

“Physically, we’d probably be going through the same evening ritual we are now. Emotionally? I’m sure I’d be a mess.”

“Yeah, me too.”

Because we’d have fallen in love despite our misguided attempts to obfuscate the reality of our natures by telling ourselves love wasn’t real. We’d each have hidden our feelings, assuming they would be unwelcomed by the other. My heart would have broken. Instead I’d managed to retain it intact. It had thawed when Nash had looked up from the hospital bed, a weak but open and natural smile on his lips, and said, “I can see why I fell in love with you.”

“We’d have gotten here eventually,” I said. “I was already halfway in love with you when I first asked you to marry me. I just wasn’t able to acknowledge it to myself.”

“We talked ourselves into believing a bunch of rubbish,” he said.

“That we did.” I nodded. “But we figured it out. I love you, Nash, more than I ever thought I was capable of loving another human being.”

“I love you, too.” The smile that spread across Nash’s face could have lit the room, and the hunger in his eyes told me I’d been way off base thinking his issue might be that he wasn’t in the mood. I quickly stripped and joined up with my husband in the tub.

“First things, first.” I popped open the champagne and poured two flutes.

“To love.” Nash raised his glass. I tapped it lightly with my own and echoed his toast.

I took a single sip before putting it down and reaching for Nash. He swallowed a couple gulps and placed his glass next to mine, then melted into my embrace.

We were well-matched in that I enjoyed taking control for our sexual activities, and he liked to relinquish it. We shared a kiss, then I began to chart a course along his collarbone, licking and nipping before heading south to one of his nipples.

A delicious shiver ran down my spine at the sound of my husband’s soft groan, then we both stiffened at the sound of Nash’s cell phone. I quickly recognized the Scooby-Doo theme song, which was the ringtone Nash had assigned to his best friend Harley.

“Fuck ’im,” Nash muttered. “I’ll call him back later.”

I smiled and moved back to his mouth for another kiss. “Don’t want to fuck him,” I teased. “Want to fuck you.”

Nash’s body vibrated beneath mine with his suppressed laughter. “Good.”

“Or…” We hadn’t switched things up, yet. Nash had once indicated that he was versatile, although he’d never pushed to top. Perhaps he was waiting for me to say something?

“Or what?” Was that a spark of hope in Nash’s eyes?

“Or you could fuck me.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah.”

The Grinch himself would have been envious of the sly grin that spread across Nash’s face.

#sorrynotsorry for ending it here. 🍾

 0zhzhee

Once again, because I can’t resist a good challenge, I’ll take the first 15 prompt words given to me in the comments, below, for next week’s Flash Fiction Friday post. One word per commenter, please. I’ll make up the difference using the random word generator site if I don’t get 15 here.

Follow the links in the menu at the top of the page for information on my published works.

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Random Prompt Words – Flash Fiction Friday Nov. 25, 2016 – To Love and To Cherish

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For this week’s 15 random words I’m using:

avocado

large – vegetable – rich – quantity – flash – bulb – second – position – tax – scratch – money – ranch – define – grow

Below is the short-short I wrote using these words creating a scene using the characters from To Love and To Cherish. Unlike the book, which was written entirely from Nash’s POV, this scene is from “Grampy’s” POV. Like today, this scene takes place the day after Thanksgiving (USA), which is also the day after the book ends.

Flash Fiction Friday

“What are you two up to?” I startled a bit at Emmitt’s words. I hadn’t heard him enter the condo.

His practice wasn’t holding office hours today, since it was the day after Thanksgiving, but he’d been on call and had rushed out to take care of an emergency this morning. I laughed, because it was wonderful to see my grandson smiling so widely. He and Nash grinned at each other like a couple of loons. Ha!

Emmitt kissed my cheek while Nash replied. “We’re making a vegetable guacamole.”

Nash’s kiss lasted longer than the chaste one I’d received. I chuckled again, thinking about the role I’d played in bringing those two dunderheads together. Not that they weren’t both plenty book-smart. You just wouldn’t know it judging by how they’d run their personal lives before I’d stepped in to sort things out for them. I sure wouldn’t have bet good money on their chances without my so-called interference.

When they came up for air, Emmitt glanced over my shoulder at the TV. The second half of the Washington, Washington State matchup was on. The Oregon game would be starting at four.

Nash held out his hand, and I plopped the final avocado into it. Emmitt nodded toward it and said, “Those are rich in fiber, Grampy.”

My grandson never missed an opportunity to push anything high in fiber on me. Just to be contrary I replied, “I’m kinda in the mood to dunk my chips in a ranch dip. Do you think we could make some of that, too, Nash?”

Emmitt snorted. He knew I was messing with him. Nash grimaced at first, but I knew the moment the figurative light bulb lit up over his head as he realized I was just having a little fun with them. The eye roll was a dead giveaway. It only took about three seconds, so it didn’t tax his brain too much.

“I’ll be back in a flash,” Emmitt said. He darted toward the stairway leading to the master bedroom.

He’d said the same thing this morning. Maybe he needed to define “flash” for us.

“Since Emmitt’s home,” Nash said, “let’s get these tortillas fried up.”

We had a large quantity of corn tortillas already cut up into chip-sized wedges. Nash spread a little grapeseed oil on the preheated griddle then began to position the tortilla wedges, carefully spacing them out.

“I’ll get out the sandwich fixin’s,” I said. I wasn’t overly steady on my feet yet and still used a cane. Probably would for the rest of my life, for the added stability. But the refrigerator was just across from the island where we would set up our little buffet line, so I could handle transporting the bit of leftover turkey Gil and Julia had so kindly sent home with us, along with some lettuce, onion, sliced tomatoes, and mayo to the countertop.

In no time at all, the buffet line was ready to go, and a freshly showered Emmitt rejoined us, passing out another round of kisses. A collateral benefit of Emmitt wanting to smooch on Nash all the time was that I got bonus kisses to my upturned cheek. Not that Emmitt had ever neglected me in the past—on the contrary, he’d always been very attentive and loving toward me—but I wallowed in the extra attention I was reaping now. From Nash, too. I couldn’t have asked for a better grandson-in-law if I’d picked him out myself. Which, of course, I had done.

We settled in the living room so we could watch the football games while we ate. Emmitt sat next to Nash on the sofa. I kept my eyes on the TV to give them a little privacy (or at least the appearance thereof). Couldn’t close my ears, though. I let my imagination have a little fun trying to figure out what was causing the scritchy-scratch noise coming from their direction.

Nash had announced this morning that he might try to grow a beard, so he had a face full of stubble. It wasn’t too much of a stretch to picture Emmitt running his fingernails across it. The added unmistakable sound of lips smacking confirmed that to my satisfaction.

“Are you two going to make another attempt to go see The Little Mermaid?” I asked, partly to save them from getting too worked up over there, but mostly because it would be fun to see if I could make them squirm. They’d never given me a complete explanation for whatever had happened when their recent date night at the 5th Avenue Theater dissolved with a bit of drama.

I turned around at the sound of Nash falling into a coughing fit. Emmitt raised a feigned censorious eyebrow at me, but I knew he was enjoying Nash’s equally affected discomfort. When Nash caught his breath, he bit his lip and turned cow eyes toward Emmitt.

Emmitt grinned and snickered. “Of course we can still go see it.”

Yeah, Nash already had Emmitt wrapped around his little finger. After all, he was learning from a master, so I expected no less.

Once again, because I can’t resist a good challenge, I’ll take the first 15 prompt words given to me in the comments, below, for next week’s Flash Fiction Friday post. One word per commenter, please. I’ll make up the difference using the random word generator site if I don’t get 15 here.

Click here for more information and review & buy links for To Love and To Cherish.