Thursday, June 21, 2012

For Your Reading Pleasure

Nope, sorry, not one of my serial stories! I just got the first edit back from the publisher's editor for Pricolici and boy was it informative! It'll take me a few more days of smoothing things out, rephrasing, removing, adding, pasting, coloring in the lines . . . You get the picture, lol!

However, in the meantime I do still have a few pieces of flash fiction you haven't seen. This one was from an exercise in a private writing group I'm part of. I picked 4 numbers and that gave me my main character, situation, conflict... and all that fun stuff! I ended up with this little piece.

Open Mouth, Insert . . .
 My elements were: A new mom in a library after a big meal, and someone has had their pride injured.

Heather rubbed her eyes but the words on the pages stayed a blurred mess. She pushed the psychology book away and rested her head on the worn table. Her hands dangled at her sides; her body heavy and limp. She felt like an overcooked noodle.

A hand on her shoulder startled Heather from the light doze she'd fallen into.

"Hey sis, what are you doing here so late?"

Heather rubbed at her eyes. "Why not? Jake kept me up most of last night; I figured tonight would be the same. Who knew a two month old could be that loud?"

Zeke laughed and they both looked at the baby sleeping peacefully in the car seat. His shock of black hair stood straight up and he kept sucking his little lips in a soft flutter.

"He looks pretty happy to me," Zeke said.

Heather rolled her eyes and then covered a big yawn. "Of course he does. We're out in public where I can't sleep. I just needed to get some studying done, so I gave him a big bottle and he zonked right out. Last night at home I fed him and he got gas. He screamed forever until he finally fell asleep."

Zeke snorted. "Well, give him those gas drops. They worked wonders for Shay."

"I did. I'm not completely inept you know. That's what finally got him to sleep." She stared up at Zeke, taking in his jeans and hoodie. "I still can't believe my little brother, who happens to be gay, is giving me advice on how to take care of my baby."

Zeke's body stiffened, and his hands clenched into fists. "Being gay doesn't mean I never wanted kids. I love Shay, and I'm a good daddy." He ran his hands through his hair. "Look, I just came to get a new toddler food cookbook and then I was going to head home to watch a movie with Carey. I guess I'll see you around."

Heather clapped a hand over her mouth and then jumped up. "Oh god, Zeke, that's not what I meant." Before he could walk away, she reached out and pulled him into a tight hug. She kept her arms around him as she leaned back to stare up into his dark blue eyes. His lips were still tight, and he wasn't hugging her back.

"I know you're a good daddy. I guess I didn't expect you to fall in love with a guy that had a little girl and suddenly become a family man when you were only twenty. You're my little brother; I'm supposed to be the one giving you advice."

"I didn't expect to fall for someone who was just as confused as I was and expecting a little girl to boot. I was scared, but I loved Carey more. When I got to hold Shay for the first time, I just knew she was supposed to be ours and we were a family. I know that sounds corny, but it's true. I know it was weird for everyone. Mom and Dad don't really accept it, but I thought you were different."

Shay buried her face in his chest. "I am, I swear. I don't care that you and Carey are together and Shay's mom lives in the apartment next door. It works for you guys and you're happy. I like seeing you happy. You really weren't as a teenager."

Zeke's arms closed around Heather. "I am happy now, because Carey and I learned we had to be okay with ourselves, and our life, before anyone else could. I'm sorry I got upset with you; I know you didn't mean to say that how it sounded. I guess I'm just a bit sensitive since Christmas."

Heather shuddered. She'd just had had Jake and their parents had fawned over him and basically ignored Shay. As much as she loved them, Heather had backed up Zeke when he'd taken them aside and told them that they could either treat both kids the same or not see Shay at all. She hadn't  hesitated to chime in that it went for Jake too. The babies might not notice it at their age but Shay was almost a toddler. It wasn't fair to the kids to be stuck in the middle of their grandparent's intolerance.

"Since Mom and Dad moved to Arizona you're my only family here. You know I don't care if you're gay or have a baby with your boyfriend; it's just weird to get advice from you. I wouldn't have said it like that if I had gotten any sleep at all and I wasn't so stressed." Heather let Zeke go and sat back down at the table. He leaned against the edge with one hip.

"When does your hubby get home from his convention?"

"Not until Friday." She rubbed her eyes again and yawned. "My test is on Tuesday though," she sighed. "My last final. I can't believe it's finally time to graduate, but I need a good score on this test first."

"You're going to be a great counselor."

She smiled up at him. "Yeah, as long as I get a lot of sleep before any appointments so I don't say the wrong thing."

Zeke snorted. "No kidding." Whatever he would have said next was interrupted when Jake stretched and let out a godawful sound . . . and smell. His little nose wrinkled and Heather and Zeke burst out laughing.

When his chuckles slowed down, Zeke leaned down and started stuffing her books and pens into her backpack. "Look, why don't you go clean him up while I'm getting my book. Then you can come over to our place. Shay's in a toddler bed but we still have the travel bassinet in her room. You can stay over to study, and I'll corral the little stink pot."

"You sure that'll be okay with Carey?"

"Sure, he likes you and he loves babies. Shay seems so big nowadays; it'll be a treat to snuggle a little baby for a while. Besides, we both have tomorrow off."

Heather stood up and hugged him again. "Thanks Zeke. I love you."

"Love you too, sis."

Ha! Bet you thought I'd do something dirty with that title, right? I do so love twisting things a little. Hope you liked it! 

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