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Monthly Archives: May 2014

Fiction: Lazy Saturday In (441 words)

“Oh, Most of the time I have no idea what’s going on,” Chris answered Nathan’s unanswered question.   Lizzy and her closest friends were sprawled around the living room, laughing like they’d just hear the world’s funniest joke.  Chris and Nathan had just been in the next room over when the laughter started, but as far as they could tell, nothing had set them off.  Lizzy herself was laughing so hard that she’d fallen over, and was now giggling half-sprawled on the floor.  “You can ask them to explain if you’d like, but nine times out of ten their explanations just leave me more confused than when they started, so proceed with caution.”

Nathan looked at the women, at Chris, and then back at the women laughing.  “You know what? I think I’m good.”

“Wise choice,” Chris patted Nathan on the back.  “Are you girls willing to let two boys join you on would we be ruining too much of your fun?”

“No, no, please join us.”  Lizzy calmed down enough to pull herself back up into a sitting position, putting the spot next to her on the ground.  Chris sat down behind her, pulling her so her back rested against his chest, dropping a kiss to her temple.  “Guys, you all know Chris.  This is his friend Nathan.  Nate, this is Sarah, Natalie, and Winifred.”  Lizzy pointed to each girl in turn.  “They were my apartment mates in college.”

“Winifred, huh?” Nathan asked, sitting on the couch in between Winifred and Sarah.

“Yeah.  Basically, my parents hated me,” Winifred answered automatically.

“No—I like it.  It suits you.” Nathan said lamely.  Winifred and Natalie shared a look.  Sarah let out a small giggle and Lizzy let out a rather unattractive snort.

“How about a movie?” Chris suggested quickly, cutting it off quickly before the girls could start laughing maniacally again.

“Oo—Avengers?” Lizzy asked quickly.  The girls let out a quick agreement as Chris let out a small groan.  “Please?  Either that or a rom-com?”  Lizzy turned a little in his arms and gave Chris her very best puppy dog eyes.

Chris melted almost instantly.  “Okay, okay, but only if you agree to stop comparing me to Chris Evans.”  Chris got up to get the DVD off the shelf.

“It’s a compliment.  Chris Evans is hot.”  Lizzy protested, with mumbled agreements from the other girls—and Nathan.

There was a second when everyone turned to look at him.  He shrugged.  “He’s a good-looking man.  But sorry, Liz, I don’t think our boy here is quite an Evans caliber.”

“I already regret watching this movie,” Chris muttered good-naturedly, and the girls laughed again.

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Posted by on May 31, 2014 in Stories

 

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Fiction: Ixi Agency Part 18 (987 words)

–Marcy–

Marcy knew something was up as soon as training started.  Hank and Frankie were both strangely subdued.  And when about half way through, Willow showed up looking glum, but trying to smile and ask Marcy if her training was going well, that Marcy decided to call all of them on it.

“So, is someone going to tell me the latest developments, or should I just let my imagination take over and decide what is wrong for myself?”

Hank was the first to talk. “We aren’t really telling the Top Tier Users. It’s being played very close to the chest.”

“Isn’t it also played very close to the chest the true nature of the ixi agency?  It’s not common knowledge that you guys are actually thousands of years old?  Also, I’m the only Top Tier User who is actually training, actually caring about whatever is going on, right? Can someone please throw me a bone?”

They all shared a look; Frankie, Hank, and Willow.  The only one Marcy was really concerned about was the look on Willow’s face.  If Frankie or Hank knew her half as well as Marcy did, then they should see just what that expression on her face meant.  It mean ‘She’s convinced me, so either we tell her as a group here, or I’m just going to tell her on my own later.’

Apparently, they did know her well enough, because Hank sighed and said, “Fine. You tell her. It’ll be on your head if Laurel gets pissed off, okay?”

“Fair enough.” And Willow explained the threat that they had received and the actions they were already making to counter it.  Marcy listened patiently to all of Willow’s explanations, and when Willow was finished talking, she sank down onto the bench along the wall slowly, and just sat there in silence.

The truth of the matter was that Marcy wasn’t thinking anything as she sat there.  She started at the point where the mirrors on the wall met with the mats on the floor, and for a good ten minutes or so, she thought of absolutely nothing.  When she finally blinked and looked around the room, she found Hank, Frankie, and Willow were all still standing in there same places, watching her with concern on their faces.  She offered them a weak smile in an attempt to assure them that she hadn’t completely lost it.

“So, if these Big Bad guys got a hold of me, what do you think they would do to me?” Marcy couldn’t help but ask.

“Do you want the honest answer or the sugar coated answer?” Hank asked.

“Honest,” Marcy replied before she could think about whether or not that was what she actually wanted.  Frankie and Hank turned to Willow, knowing she was likely the only one with a strong enough stomach to actually give Marcy a completely honest answer.

“If they got you, well, it’s hard to be one hundred percent certain because we’ve had such little contact with them, and such little communication, but my guess would be that first they would treat you very kindly, and explain their position to you.  They would try to convince you that they are in the right and that the Ixi agency is in fact an evil organization.”

“And if I don’t fall for their bullshit?”

“Then they will get less than friendly.  Potentially, they’ll torture you, anything that they can do to break your spirit and force you to work for them. The most dangerous thing about them is that they believe that they are doing the right thing.  They will probably stop at nothing to achieve what they believe is the right thing for the world.  Partly a blessing, and partly a curse is the fact that they will not kill you.  You are much too valuable to them alive.

Marcy nodded as if she had expected as much. “Okay.”  She said softly.  She pushed off on her legs and pulled herself back up to her feet.  “Okay,” she repeated with a little bit more strength in her voice. “Let’s get back to work.  All this training will do me absolutely no good if I don’t keep working on it.”

“Are you okay?” Hank asked.

It seemed like such a simple questions, one that is usually given a simple answer, but Marcy knew there was so much more to it than that.

Still, she tried to answer Hank as honestly as possible. “No, I’m not really okay.  I’m terrified. And I mean that for the first time to the fullest extent of the definition.  However, there is really very little I can do about it right now.  If this group comes for me, then they come for me.  The best thing for me to do right now is to train and try to make sure that if they do come for me, I am ready to kick their sorry asses, or at the very least give it my very best fighting chance.

Marcy crossed back to the middle of the mat and waited for everyone else to react to her little outburst.  Hank was the first to figure out what to say.

“All right. Let’s keep working. Willow, are you sticking around to train as well?”

“Great.  Frankie, you teach willow what you’ve been working on.  Marcy, you try that pin on me again.   Getting Frankie is one thing.  Getting me will be something entirely different.  Let’s go.”

Marcy looked at Hank with an over whelming wave of gratitude, and almost wanted to kiss him.  He wasn’t dwelling, or forcing her to deal with her feelings, but just moving on and letting her work it out.  Pushing down the urge to kiss him, she let everything wash out of her mind.

Hank was a hundred times right.  Pinning Frankie was absolutely nothing.  Pinning Hank was going to take all of her strength and all of her concentration.

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2014 in Ixi Agency

 

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Fiction: Accidents (184 words)

Lydia couldn’t die.  That was all that Tristan could think about right now.  If had never been so important that something happen, or not happen, in the history of the world. Lydia could not die.

“Come on,” Andre placed an arm around Tristan’s should and tried to steer him away, but Tristian remained stubbornly rooted to the spot. “Come on, man, let’s go sit down.”  Andre tried again, but Tristan still refused to move.

“Lydia cannot die.” Tristan finally managed to say it aloud, and Andre gave a little sigh.

“I know, man, I know.  But standing here is going to nothing but hurt your knees.  Let’s go sit down. They’ll come and get us when we can go see her, okay? I promise they’ll get us the moment we can do anything for her.  Lydia can’t die.”

Slowly and stiffly, like a man in a trance (or perhaps because he was a man in a trance) Tristian allowed Andre to lead him to some chairs, where he slowly sank down into them.  Both men—in that moment–thought the exact same thing.  Lydia could not die.

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2014 in Lydia's Stories

 

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Fiction: Boredom (617 words)

Michael almost walked past the girls’ room, but then he had to double back because something didn’t seem quite right. On second glance, he found it was because Joanna was upside down.

Joanna was hanging off the top bunk of the bunk beds she shared with Charlotte. She was wearing a pair of what looked like Samuel’s pants, belted tightly at the waist with her shirt tucked into them.  She’d hooked her ankles up around the guard rail, and was letting herself hang freely, her blonde hair falling in one ponytail-ed curl away from her head, the tip dusting the ground gently as she swung.  Michael took a second to properly take her in before he laughed.  “What in the world are you doing up there?”

“I am so bored,” she complained, twisting in a way Michael couldn’t quite follow so that she ended up landing softly on the ground on her hands and knees.    She stood up and dusted off her hands and knees, she fixed Michael with a glare like it was all his fault she was bored.   “I mean, I’m really glad that the last job went well and that we all have a little extra jingle in our pockets. But I get so bored when we’re not working.  There isn’t even a decent Hall in this town so I can go make a little more with my extra money betting against big strong men who want to teach me how to play pool.” She crossed her arms and pouted a bit.

“You would be bored because there is nothing threatening our life, security, or freedom at the moment.” Michael sighed, running a hand through his hair.  “Might I suggest that you relax during our downtime?  Or would that be too much for you to handle?”

“I did relax, Mikey. I relaxed and rejuvenated and slept and made fun of everyone on the team for their different relaxation techniques, and now I’m bored.” Joanna skipped over and slid her hands into Michael’s swinging their arms back and forth in between them.  “Come on, now, there has to be something you need to be done.  Some task that can eat up some of my time before we’re moving on.  Anything.

“I’ve got nothing, Jo. We’re on downtime.  We’ all relaxing while we got the luxury to do so.”  Michael gave her arm a big swing, lifting it up above his head so Joanna had to go up on her tiptoes to keep the grip.

“Well, where were you going when you came back here?  What do you have there?”  Joanna pointed at the folded letter in Michael’s other hand. “How come,” Joanna turned her head to see Ash’s name written on the front, “Ash gets a job?”

“That’s not a job, it’s a message. It’s between Ash and myself and you will not worry about it or go poking around in business that you should not be poking around in, do you understand?”  Michael’s voice was firm, and Joanna looked appropriately ashamed of herself as she dropped his hand and gave him a little nod.

“Yes, sir. Sorry, sir.”

Michael looked down at Joanna and softened a bit.  “I really don’t have anything for you. Have you tried asking Kingsley? Or your brother?”  Joanna scoffed and Michael raised a defensive hand.  “Okay, okay.  Then try asking Samuel.  I’m sure he could create a challenge for you even if he doesn’t have one on hand.  He’s a creative little thing.”

Joanna considered it for a moment before smiling.  She popped up and gave Michael a quick kiss on the cheek.  “Thank you,” She skipped out of the room and Chris laughed as he watched her go.

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2014 in Stories

 

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Fiction: Family Way (Part 18) (480 words)

Marta ran really hot and cold with the idea of Bradley and me adopting her baby.  Flipping back and forth between the opinion that it was the best plan we’d ever come up with and the worst thought to ever have crossed our minds.  I couldn’t get her to sit still and have a proper conversation with me about it either, which I think was in a large part due to the fact that she didn’t really know why she was thinking whatever it was she was thinking on it quite yet.

I told her to think it over.  To plan, to really consider her options, and to reassure her that I did think that it was a good plan.  I told her we’d sit down after her next doctor’s appointment, and we’d come with a solid agreement then.

I’d been going to Marta’s doctors’ appointments with her since the beginning.  I was better with the lists and remembering the details, and I’d always wanted to make sure that there was nothing that Marta had forgotten.  We’d created a very strict stay near the head rule so no one saw anything they didn’t want to see, and we’d gotten along well.  The OB-GYN was a little confused, at first thinking we were lovers that looked eerily similar (that gave Bradley a good laugh) but once it was explained, Dr. Janet was more than friendly to the both of us.   More friendly than the receptionist, at any rate, who didn’t say anything out right, but it as easy to tell that she didn’t approve of how young Marta was.

Still, once we were in the screening room, we were fine. Dr. Janet went through her checklist, and we got back a whole list of “excellent” and “Very goods” which was very reassuring.  At the very least, it didn’t look like we were going to do any damage to this kid before it was born.  But then Dr. Janet peered up at us from behind her ultrasound monitor.  “Well, there we are.  Ladies, do we want to know the gender of our little peanut today?”

Marta looked up at me, chewing on her lower lip.   “Do we, Ave?”

I tried to keep a straight face, but I’m afraid I was grinning like a little kid at a fair ground.  “I kinda want to know.  I mean, if you want to.”

Marta matched my grin and turned back to face the doctor, “Yeah.  Tell us.”

Doctor Janet readjusted the ultrasound and turned the screen to show us.  “There you are, ladies.  You’ve got a healthy little boy Andersson in there.”

I covered my mouth and said “Oh, my.”  But then I turned to look at Marta, but she was focused on the screen.   I’d never seen my sister look at anything like that.

I had a sneaking feeling that we’d be keeping the baby.

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2014 in Avery and Marta

 

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Fiction: Bliss (99 words)

“He doesn’t know,” Sylvia told Marie as they watched Tim sleep.  “What do to protect him.” Sylvia sighed and shook her head.  “He knows that he wouldn’t be the same person without our protections.  But he doesn’t know the details, and we’re happier that way.”

“Sorry, Ma’am, but you don’t look happy.  How many blows have you taken for the boy?”

Sylvia gave Marie a patronizing smile.  “Oh, it’s the ones you take but the blows you deal that weigh on you.  But, Tim is happy and intact.  There is nothing that makes us happier. Understood?”

Marie bowed her head.  “Yes, Ma’am.”

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2014 in Stories

 

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Fiction: Recruitment Demonstration (539 words)

Colin was vaguely aware that his mouth was hanging open as he watched them, but he couldn’t help it.  Mara didn’t even flinch as her brother went towards her eyebrow with a needle.  When Andy was done with the stitching, Mara looked at herself in the little hand-held mirror.  “Not bad, Andy. Your stitches are getting neater.”

“Hey, it’s not my fault you never get injured so I can practice,”  Andy countered, cleaning up the supplies and old gauze.  “And—actually, let’s keep it that way.  You can be the surgeon of the family. Never get hurt again.”  Andy headed out with all the trash without waiting for a response.

Mara admired her stitches for a moment longer before smiling up at Colin.  “Come here for a second would you? Hold the mirror for me?”

Almost unaware of what he was doing, Colin slid into the chair opposite Mara and held up the mirror at her eye level.  When she started braiding her hair carefully down the side of her face, he found his voice again.  “What are you doing?”

“I’ve got to come up with a hairstyle that looks cute and somewhat casual but still covers up the stitches.  My homeroom teacher likes to ask a lot of questions when I have visible wounds.” She brushed a few more pieces into place and tied it off with a small ribbon.  “There. What do you think? Does that look cute enough to distract from the wound?”

“Does this happen often? Changing your hairstyle to cover up injuries from your vigilante runs?”

“I wish you wouldn’t call us vigilantes.  Something just sounds so vicious about that.  I don’t like to think of us as vicious.”

“What do you prefer to be called then?”

“Hm.  I don’t know.  I didn’t give too much thought to it—to be honest.  Maybe we’ll ask Andy when he comes back in. But: to answer your question: I’d say ‘a bit’ not ‘often.’  Like, you remember that summer that all the girls thought colorful tights were fun under sundresses—Bruise on my thigh the size of a cantaloupe that took forever to fade away.  Or that fall when Andy decided that fingerless gloves would be worn all the time?  Nine stitches along the back of his left hand.  That was a tricky one because I was so sure he was going to pull the stitches and bleed through the glove. Andy’s not very good at being cautious, you know?”

“Yeah—“  Colin replied distracted, think back to the fashion statements she’d mentioned.  “My Goodness—how long have you two been doing this?” Colin dropped the mirror to the table, “that was like—three summers ago.”

“A while,” Mara answered vaguely.  “Andy’s got the records if you want to read them before signing up.”  Mara turned to look at Colin and raised her unstitched eyebrow.  “You are still thinking about joining up, right?  One little bleeding eyebrow isn’t enough to scare you away.  Because I’d really like to have you one the team.”

Colin gave a breathy laugh.  “I must be insane to even be considering this.”

Mara smiled and patted him gently on the arm as she got up to put the mirror away.  “Join the club.”

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2014 in Stories

 

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