Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Fish Stories

"I'm telling you, it was this big." Kicked back in the battered recliner, Tick holds his hands about a foot apart.

Jason laughs and pops the top off his beer. "To hear you, all the ones that get away are that big."

The Muse walks by, ethereal robes fluttering in her wake. Jason's eyes widen. "Was that . . ."

Tick nods, brows lifted in surprise. "Yeah. Been awhile since we've seen her out of sweats."

"Amazing she can eat that many Cheetos and still look that-"

"Man, I'm telling you it's my damn turn!" The basement door, flung open with irritated force, slams against the wall. Troy Lee bursts into the room and flounces onto the couch.

Tick rolls his eyes. "Didn't you read the handbook? Heroes don't flounce. Or pout."

Troy Lee glares at him, blue eyes narrowed to slits. "Shut up."

Jason smothers a laugh. "What's your problem?"

"Him." Troy Lee jerks a thumb toward the open door and the blond, blue-eyed man leaning negligently against the jamb. "She's supposed to be writing my book, and he won't go away and leave her alone."

"Kid, I've seen part of what she has in store for you. It ain't pretty." Tick shakes his head. "You might want to-"

"Fish?!" Jason laughs. "Buddy, what are you doing here?"

The two men meet in one of those weird half-handshake, half-hugs women don't understand. The Muse, primping before a dusty mirror, gives them a glance, shakes her head, and returns to her makeup.

Fish chuckles. "I don't know. One minute She's working on edits on your book, the next Angie and I are, well, you know."

"You and Angie?"

"Yeah, man, surprised the hell out of me, too." Fish rubs a hand over his jaw. "She's hot, though. Angie, that is."

A wide grin creases Jason's face. "Oh, man, this is too cool. Your own book."

"Yeah." Troy Lee drops his head against the back of the ragged sofa. "Imagine that."

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Aftermath: Three A.M.

In the real dark night of the soul, it is always three o'clock in the morning.
-- F. Scott Fitzgerald


She should have felt safe, with the comforting smells and sounds of her childhood home around her. With her feet drawn up beneath her and the lights blazing to keep the shadows at bay, Caitlin refolded Lanie's letter and trailed her fingers over the sharp creases in the paper.

Let Lanie in? Open up the pain and the fear?

She shuddered, drawing her robe more tightly about her. She slipped her cousin's letter under the small stack of folders lying before her on the padded window seat. Lanie would just have to understand. It was too soon, the wounds and loss too fresh, the demons too strong, to open the door of what had happened.

Ignoring the way her fingers trembled, she lifted the topmost folder. Work. Immersing herself in work could keep the fear at bay.

It had to.

She flipped the file open, reading the background report on the young agent she would help prepar for a deep cover assignment. Georgia. She traced a fingertip over the letters. He was going to south Georgia. Other, bittersweet memories shivered over her, and she smothered them. That was all over now.

It had to be.

She frowned at the agent's assignment. He would have to give up his identity, take on a persona she was sure he'd never wished to wear. Her job was to help him learn to subjugate his true self, to hide who he really was. A bitter smile twisted her mouth. That shouldn't be too hard.

She did it herself every single day.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Aftermath: Letter #1

Dear Cait,

You know why I'm writing. I can't believe I'm having to do this, but I can't see any other way. You won't take or return my calls, whenever I've dropped by, you've had Rosa tell me you were sleeping or not feeling well. Vince says you won't talk to him or Dennis either.

Come on, Cait, this is me, Lanie. I know you, I know how much you're hurting but shutting us out, shutting me out isn't going to change anything. I want to help you. I love you and can't stand to see you hurting this way.

Please. Pick up the phone. Call me. Let me in.

Please, Cait.

Love always,