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Too Many Options

I have so many writing projects I want to do.

Anyone ever go on that site Quotev? It’s basically a site where one can create quizzes and stories for other people to take and read. One of the more popular options of the site is to create “Choose Your Own Adventure” or the romance-equivalent “Who Would You Fall For” types of story-quizzes. I had a few story-quizzes on there that I haven’t updated in about three years because life happened, but I still get comments and likes on them to this day. Finishing up those little things are on the back of my mind.

I enjoy writing fanfiction, so filling up my Archive of Our Own page is on my to-do list as well. I feel as if fanfiction is less pressure but also still fantastic practice for writing and, perhaps, getting some constructive criticism, and I love the excitement that people share when it comes to common fandoms.

Then there’s Wattpad. I would like to put up some of my original stories there, gauge anyone’s reactions for them. Rachel and I are in a writer’s group, but that usually meets only once a month. The writer’s group is great, don’t get me wrong, but it does take awhile for us to read enough of a story to really garner an opinion on it.

I just want to start sharing my writing and reading others’ works more often. WordPress and Tumblr are great places to start, but in today’s digital age, I do want to reach out more.

Of course, to do that, I need to focus and pick which of my WIPs to prioritize.

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Posted by on August 9, 2018 in Home

 

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Sunday Scribble – “Saucer”

Saucer
First Part | Previous Part

“Your dragon Toasted—”

“Toasty,” the tower man, who had introduced himself as Fraden, corrected Brom as he poured tea for the four of us.

“Whatever.” Brom waved his free hand dismissively. His other hand was holding the ice-encased rock that Luella had spelled up against a nasty bump that he had gotten while chasing down Toasty. The dragon itself was perched back up on the roof, but its snout was nearly poking through the window as it watched us lounge around the small dining table its master had set up in the tower.

Brom continued with, “Your dragon has been terrorizing the nearby village. We were commissioned to slay it and rescue any of its victims that happened to still be alive here in the tower.”

“You’re mistaken,” Fraden said, settling down next to Simon. Simon raised an eyebrow at me from across the table, either at the man’s blunt and confident statement or at me smuggling the tea saucer under my coat.

I figured the fancy plate could earn us a few gold coins since it didn’t seem like we were going to be rewarded for rescuing anyone.

Fraden didn’t notice, as he kept a steady gaze on Brom. “Toasty has never gone near the village, and he certainly hasn’t taken any so-called victims.”

“We smelled burned corpses,” Luella said.

“Toasty likes his food cooked,” Fraden said, “but he doesn’t eat humans. Too sinewy and stringy with muscles.” I clamped my mouth shut, not wanting to ask how Fraden would know that particular detail. He added, “Toasty mainly hunts deer and bear from the forests. Once in a while he’ll head toward the sea to snatch a shark if he feels like seafood.”

“Pretty sure we can tell the difference between cooked bear meat and humans,” Brom said. “That, and the village people have seen maidens getting kidnapped by a large, flying reptile. What’s your answer for that?”

“Have you tried the wyvern caves to the north?” Fraden sipped at his tea, his smallest finger sticky out as he held up his cup.

“Were we tracking down the wrong creature?” Simon deadpanned.

Luella groaned and stood up, her chair scrapping against the floor. “Well, let’s go, then! There’s no telling how many people may be in trouble with these wyverns!”

“Wait.” I stopped her from moving and looked at Fraden. “Why are you here alone in a tower with a dragon?”

“I enjoy Toasty’s company more so than people’s,” he said with a slight shrug. “Besides, there’s not many who wish to get too close to me once they find out how large my guard dog is, you know?”

“Huh. Fair enough.” I got up, my curiosity satisfied for the time being.

“If you four are not frightened off by Toasty,” Fraden said as we straightened out our belongings, “then you are welcome to visit anytime. As long as, of course, you don’t try to steal any more of my belongings. Please return the saucer to the table.”

Simon snorted as I sighed and took out the small dish from my pocket, returning it as requested.

“We apologize for that,” Luella said, and I ignored her narrowed gaze while heading to the door. “Perhaps we will take up on your offer to visit again, Fraden. Thank you for the information and take care.”

“Sorry about, uh, attacking, I guess,” Brom added as we finally left. When we were further down the road, Brom turned to me. “You must be losing your touch if he noticed a little tea cup plate missing.”

I smirked and merely opened my pack while we walked to wordlessly reveal the tea kettle nestled among my other treasures.

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2017 in Scribbles

 

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Sunday Scribble — “Toasty”

Toasty

“Alright, what’s the plan?” Simon asked. We were as dignified as we could be while hiding in the bushes that grew wildly along the path toward the dragon’s tower.

“We kill it,” Brom said. “Who needs a plan?”

“How are we just going to kill it?” I asked. “It’s a flying furnace!”

“Shhh.” Luella held a finger in front of her lips, but her eyes were trained on the dragon resting atop of the tower’s roof. “Perhaps someone can distract it, bring it down lower, then a couple of others can help slay it. The fourth can find a way into the tower and see if there is anyone in there who can be freed.”

“You mean if there’s anyone who is not a crispy corpse?” I asked dryly while holding back a sneeze.

Casually, Luella responded, “That’s right.”

“Well, you have the lock picks.” Simon nudged me. “I vote you do the tower climbing. Who wants to be the distraction?” The rest of us stared at him, and he rolled his eyes. “Seriously, why am I always the distraction?”

“You have the biggest mouth,” Brom said without missing a beat. “Lu and I will be your back-up. Get the dragon low enough so my axe can impale it and Lu’s spells can reach it.”

Simon grumbled even as he unhooked his harp from the back of his pack. “Think it likes folk music?”

“Since when can you play folk music on a harp?” Bard asked.

“Since always,” Simon retorted. “Your uncouth ears just can never tell the difference.”

“Be careful,” I said as Simon left our wayward hiding place. I didn’t take too much longer in leaving as well, taking a roundabout way to reach the base of the tower. Huddling in the shadows of the stone building, I carefully looked up, praying to whatever gods Luella calls on for her spells that the dragon wouldn’t notice me.

Judging by how quickly the reptile’s head spun around when I heard the first plinks of Simon’s harp, I wouldn’t have to worry. While Simon’s music wasn’t that bad, he was a much better distraction than a musician.

I paused long enough to allow the dragon’s wings to stretch out, catching the wind as it brought along snatches of Simon’s song. As soon as the dragon took off from the roof, I circled the tower to find the door by the base and got to work on the lock.

Three lock picks later, I was inside and face with a spiraling staircase. I took them two at a time until I started to get a stitch in my side, and any sense of urgency went out the very few windows I passed.

“This is punishment for not joining the others on Brom’s workout regimen at the last town, isn’t it?” I muttered to whatever god wished to listen.

There was a screech from outside the tower and the telltale sound of shattering ice. Luella must have used some sort of freezing spell, no doubt to counter any sort of fire that the dragon expelled. Brom’s explicit-filled voice shouted with battle cries and rage, accompanied by the occasional crash.

All while some cheery folk music was plucked from a harp.

“Finally.” I reached the landing at the top of the stairs only to face a heavy, black iron door. Jiggling the knob, I hoped that I had enough lock picks to break through the lock mechanisms.

“Who’s there?” asked a voice from inside.

“A rescue party,” I responded. “Don’t worry, we’ll get you out in a few minutes—”

“Rescue party?” The voice was utterly baffled. “I didn’t order a rescue party.”

“The village did,” I said, “and we always deliver. Sit tight, I’ll get the door open soon–!”

The door swung open from the inside and, after regaining my balance from almost pitching forward, I found myself staring at a skinny, dark-skinned man, his eyebrows furrowed as he scrutinized me.

I took a deep breath as realization dawned. “You don’t need rescuing.”

“I do not,” he said with a simple head shake. “If you excuse me, I need to see what is upsetting Toasty—”

“Toasty?!”

“Well, yes, one of the first things he burned was my bread when he was no bigger than us—”

“You have GOT to be kidding me!” I threw my hands up in the air. “The rest of my party was distracting the dragon so I could rescue whoever was stuck here in the tower.”

“I suggest you call them off,” the man said mildly, turning to the large window on the far side of the wall. “I would be very upset if they hurt Toasty, and I’m sure you would be upset if Toasty hurt them.”

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2017 in Scribbles

 

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Scars

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Posted by on August 17, 2017 in Home

 

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Sunday Scribble – “Blight Part Two”

Blight – Part Two
Previous Part

The Blight was not a friendly part of the castle city, not even to someone in a respectable uniform of one of the noble houses. The alleys stank of piss and sex, the natural musk of those who cared only enough to live in order to survive.

Emery did his best to move out of there as quickly as his dignity could manage.

“There you are.” Ridge let Emery back in through the servants’ entrance of the Harding estate. “You’re in one piece, to boot. How did it go?”

Emery shook his head. “Not too well. Thieves apparently are only interested in their own pockets. They want to be certain they get rewarded no matter what they do.”

“Well, it was a long-shot,” Ridge said, helping Emery shuck off the soldier’s uniform and change into his fitted tunic and breeches. “After all, what could a common foot soldier offer to the scourges of the Blight? They have no idea who you are, right?”

“I used the name Dax Cabot whenever I had been asked,” Emery said. Ridge gave him a quick glance over to ensure Emery hadn’t been looking as if he crawled through the dirtiest part of the city, then led him out of the servants’ area.

“Wasn’t that the name of your old tutor?” Ridge asked.

Emery shushed him, but nodded. Talk of Emery’s trip to the Blight ceased between the two friends as they made their way through the manor. Gods knew Emery didn’t want any gossipy maids overhearing that their prince had tried to make deals with thieves.

Ridge changed the topic to a teasing, “My parents are seating you next to Leandra again at dinner tonight.”

Emery gave Ridge a sidelong glance. “You know nothing is going to come of this.”

“Of course,” Ridge said. “You would never be able to handle my sister. It’s why it’s such fun to tease you about my parents trying to set you up. You can’t blame them for wanting the match, though. I heard they had to petition hard to have the crown prince himself go through his squire years at their estate.”

Emery gave his head a soft shake, finding no words. He had no doubt that once he did return to court there would be women lined up as potential brides, both from his parents and from the other noble houses alike.

“There are times when I wish Leandra and I cared enough about each other to go through that,” Emery admitted quietly. “She would never want to be queen, though, and I wouldn’t want to force her to play the part.”

“As her brother, I suppose I’m thankful you care enough about her to think of her feelings like that,” Ridge said. “That and, let’s be real, she’s not delicate enough to be a queen.”

“I’ve no idea where you’ve come up with that thought,” Emery said. “Queens are anything but delicate.”

“Well, yes, I’m sure,” Ridge said, waving off Emery’s words, “but they need to play that part, don’t they? Your mother is the gentle hand compared to your father’s iron fist. Leandra would end up insulting most of the court. Under her, a rebellion would have happened long ago—”

Emery gave Ridge a hard jab in the ribs with an elbow. Ridge glared at Emery but said nothing, grudgingly accepting the admonishment.

“Come on,” Emery said, quickening their pace through the estate’s hallways. “We’ll be late for sparring practice.”

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2017 in Scribbles

 

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Scribble Sunday – “Static”

Continuation of last week.

Static

The machines were talking to me again. Hooked up to them, I couldn’t get away. Instead, I curled into a ball on the hospital table and closed my eyes tightly, imagining my normal life from before the fire. I was alone in the room, but the doors were not as thick as the staff thought.

“…the trauma awakened some mutation in her genome,” some doctor was telling the Fosters outside of the exam room. “I have a theory that many genomes have the ability to be mutated, granting people with extraordinary talents, such as Ms. Parker’s ability to hear electronics.”

“How did the trauma of a fire mutate her?” Mr. Foster asked.

“The fire was started from the lightning storm that night,” the doctor said. “Perhaps the electricity is what links Ms. Parker to the electronics, not the fire.”

“How can we help her?” Mrs. Foster asked.

“I don’t believe there is a cure,” the doctor said. “It’s quite a scientific breakthrough, actually. Imagine others with the ability to communicate with electronics. We could send robots to join the army with soldiers controlling them from a safe point–”

“We’re talking about a young girl, not a robot,” Mrs. Foster interrupted. “She just lost her parents–”

“Yes, yes, I apologize.” The doctor’s tone didn’t sound that sorry. “You may be doing all you can to help her now. Giving her a roof over her head, people she can rely on…”

But they’re not my family.

“…However, we would like you to continue bringing her here for testing,” the doctor continued. “We’ll do our best to find a way to alleviate these… uncomfortable sensations that she’s going through, perhaps learn more about it.”

“What about school?” Mr. Foster asked. “We’re still giving her some time off, but eventually she will have to go back. Will she be safe enough to continue at the high school?”

“That is to be determined, unfortunately,” the doctor said. “She’ll have to practice shutting out the electronics in order to function properly.”

Never thought I would want to go back to school, but if it meant getting rid of this damned mutation, then I’d do anything.

“Any suggestions on how she should practice?” Mrs. Foster asked.

The doctor paused before saying, “Just try to ignore them? Meditate? I’m sorry, but this is new to us as well.”

Thanks for nothing, Doc.

The door swung open again and I looked up at Mrs. Foster’s smiling face. I sat up without a word and let her pat my shoulder, resting her hand there while guiding me out of the hospital. My head was low, avoiding the other patrons of the place as we left.

Willow greeted me with homework once we returned to their house.

“I told the teachers you really weren’t up for it,” she said, “but they insisted that I bring this to you so you won’t fall too far behind. Mrs. Davis was pretty nice about it, actually, she said if you could just skim over this stuff, maybe read a bit of A Tale of Two Cities if you’re bored, then that’d be great. If not, don’t worry about it, she’ll get you caught up whenever you get back to school.”

“Thanks,” I said, and abandoned the pile of homework beside my desk and flopped onto my bed.

The mattress dipped down as Willow took a seat. “How are you feeling?”

“Like shit,” I said. I rolled over to look at her. “It’s just… It’s all so weird. At first, being back here, it was like the sleepovers we used to have during middle school. Now, though…” Hot tears prickled at the corner of my eyes. “I’ll never see them again… God, Will, my parents are–!”

My words crumbled with the hiccups and ragged breaths I took while trying to control my crying. Willow moved around the bed, coming closer.

“I’m sorry, Si,” she murmured. “I know that we can’t replace your family… but we’re here for you. You are one of us, okay? We won’t let you go–”

Willow’s hands touched my shoulders and she screamed. I shrieked as static sizzled between my friend and I, and she collapsed off of the bed, electricity dancing in her thick hair.

“What happened—Willow?” Basil was suddenly there, kneeling down by his baby sister. He looked up at me.

“I don’t know!” I had retreated to the very corner of my room, my face soaked with tears. “I don’t know, she tried to put her arm around me, and there was lightning, and I didn’t mean to…!”

My babbling became incoherent as their parents came into the room, and we rushed to the hospital for the second time that day.

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2017 in Scribbles

 

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Sunday Scribble – “Frozen Yogurt”

First Part | Previous Part

Frozen Yogurt

Tradeline was sneaking up on him. Josh had forgotten how quickly the months could go by when preparing for a convention, and he didn’t even have a panel to worry about this year. Yet, this time he had a couple of guests that he wanted to bring along. Rebecca was hoping that she’d be able to join as well amid the wedding events for her friend, and Josh was preparing as if she were a definite yes. Not to mention how his friends from the west coast were going to be flying out and staying with him…

“This guest room seemed so much bigger when I first moved in,” Josh muttered as he stood in the threshold.

A twin bed – currently occupied by Peanut – was perpendicular to the left wall. Nestled between it and the two windows on the far wall was a small desk that Josh couldn’t remember ever using. It was more decorative than functional, and Josh rattled around the drawers to see if he had ever used the space for anything. Other than a few forgotten office supplies, the desk was empty.

A closet took up half of the right wall, one that Josh had used for extra storage, while the other half of the wall had his old entertainment center. Considering he had used it in an apartment, it was more tall and skinny, having only had the room for a television and space to store a few video game consoles below it.

“Maybe Linda and Grace can share this room,” Josh said, using his arms to measure out whether the bed would fit flush against the wall to give more room for an air mattress. “Unless Linda shares with Ethan…”

He was rather proud of himself that his stomach merely tripped rather than tumbled at the idea of those two sleeping together. Apparently time really was helping his crush disappear. He just hoped it wouldn’t come back in full force upon seeing Ethan in his house.

“Then where would Grace go? Doubt she’d wanna bunk with Calvin and Chris in the living room.” He looked at Peanut as if she would have an answer. She meowed at him when they locked gazes, but it wasn’t very helpful.

Still, Josh continued to talk to her. “It’d make sense for the girls to have the room, if the guys decided to be gentleman, but I have no idea how far along Linda and Ethan are together… I mean, they could suck it up if they weren’t together for a few nights, I’m sure. Maybe I’ll just throw a couple of air mattresses around the house and let them sleep where they want. I bet you a new catnip toy that Calvin will ask if he can move his air mattress to the bathtub.”

Peanut purred.

“Alright, well, assuming that an air mattress will go in here…” Josh braced himself and pulled the small desk out of its corner. He grimaced at the sound of it scrapping against the floor, but at least the old legs didn’t leave any marks. Peanut ran as soon as he started moving furniture, which was a blessing in disguise, for as soon as the desk was hauled into the hallway and out of the way, Josh began to shove the bed flush up against the windowed wall. It just barely fit without touching the edge of the entertainment center.

He sneezed and realized that he probably should dust the guest room more often. Glaring at the dust bunnies that had populated under the bed when he wasn’t looking, Josh trudged back downstairs to get some cleaning supplies.

His phone buzzed in his pocket as he rummaged in the closet. Deciding it was much more important to answer a call than to clean his guest room that wouldn’t be used for another month or so, Josh dumped the cleaning supplies on the counter and picked up.

“What’s up, Bec?”

“Sarah wants to try this new frozen yogurt place in the town’s center,” Rebecca said. “Wanna come?”

Josh glanced at the broom set up against the counter and said, “I’m in. What time?”

“In a few minutes?”

“Perfect. I’ll walk down to your house.”

After ensuring that the cleaning supplies were put enough away and shutting the door to the guest room so Peanut wouldn’t get into anything – for he really didn’t want to come home, see his cat covered in dust bunnies, and attempt to give her a bath – Josh jogged his way down the street and met with the girls just as they were coming out of the house.

Sarah was all but bouncing in the front seat of the car. “This frozen yogurt place better be good, I mean, they got rid of that other shop a couple of years ago, so it’s about damn time they put in another frozen yogurt shop…”

“I thought you were more of an ice cream person,” Josh teased, poking the back of the younger sister’s head.

She swatted at his hand, missing completely. “Oh, ice cream is amazing,” she said, “but frozen yogurt tastes better at this time of the year.”

“Oh, okay,” Josh said, his nod serious, but his smile trying to hide his laughter. “It’s a seasonal thing.”

“That’s right.” Sarah gave a decisive nod. “Remember that for next time. There’ll be a quiz.”

“You two are ridiculous,” Rebecca said, her eyes on the road as she tried to find a parking spot in the lot that she had turned into.

“But you love us,” Josh said.

“For some strange reason, yes,” Rebecca said. Her tone was resigned, but she had a gleam in her eyes when she glanced at Josh through the rearview mirror. He merely grinned.

The frozen yogurt shop – Sprinkles on Top, it was called – was a nestled little spot on the corner of a shopping plaza in the middle of town. Rebecca parked in what Sarah affectionately called “No Man’s Land,” an area in the far section of the parking lot without too many other cars around. Josh didn’t mind the walk with his friends, taking the extra time to continue to tease them and discuss frozen yogurt flavors and toppings.

“You’re both wrong,” Rebecca was saying as the three reached the shop. “Chocolate is always the best flavor.”

“Chocolate is fine once in a while,” Josh said, “but a nice fruity flavor really cleans the palate, like strawberry.”

“You’re both crazy,” Sarah said, bouncing ahead of them. “You can’t do anything without a little coffee in your system!”

“You have too much coffee in your system,” Rebecca remarked, giving the amused employee behind the counter a nod for a greeting. “I think you should just get a small cup of basic vanilla.”

Sarah turned back to her sister, her nose scrunched and her tongue sticking out. “No way, that’s probably one of the most boring flavors.”

“I resent that.”

Josh glanced behind him at a smiling black young man lounging at one of the tables by the windows. His hazel eyes were darting around at all three of them, lingering the longest on Josh, as he pulled his dreadlocks into a small ponytail.

Sarah backtracked to stand next to Josh and, with her hands on her hips like Wonder Woman, stared at the guy and asked, “You dare to challenge me?”

“Oh, I dare.” A chuckle accompanied the reply and the guy stood up from his seat – all six and a half feet of him, Josh was sure – to give Sarah a little bow. “Vanilla, while basic, is the best flavor as a base for your frozen yogurt treat. Everything goes with vanilla. The gummy worms, chocolate chips, raspberries, pistachio nuts—”

“Pistachios?” Rebecca echoed incredulously from just behind Josh.

The guy either didn’t hear or didn’t mind the interruption and continued talking. “Vanilla is the perfect canvas in which to paint your frozen yogurt masterpiece.”

“Ah, but coffee, or anything with an actual flavor,” Sarah countered, “can create a more in-depth picture, one with more meaning and taste. There’s an art to crafting the perfect blend of harmonious flavors to set your test buds into a delighted frenzy—”

“Alright, what’s with the art metaphors?” Rebecca asked, cutting Sarah off.

“I was interested in them, actually,” Josh said.

“And I’m interested in meeting the friend of my friends,” the guy said smoothly. “Bec, Sarah, either of you going to introduce us?”

“David, this is Joshua Kent,” Rebecca said. “Josh, meet David Fletcher. He was in the graduating high school class in between Sarah and me. He was on the yearbook team with me during my senior year, and Sarah joined the yearbook team during his senior year.”

“Nice to finally meet you,” David said, extending his hand to Josh. “I’ve heard about you from the girls. Shame we haven’t met up until now.”

“Likewise.” Josh hoped that his palms weren’t sweaty with nerves as he looked up at David. Josh himself was taller than the girls, with Sarah barely reaching his shoulder blades. To see them standing next to David was rather comical. “So, uh, what do you do–?”

“We’ll socialize in a few minutes,” Sarah said, running by the rest of them. “But first, frozen yogurt!”

David chuckled and made room at the table he had claimed, shoving a shoulder bag under his chair and tossing out his trash, as the other three went to get their cups of frozen yogurt. Josh opted for a simple strawberry frozen yogurt with M&Ms and chocolate sauce, while Sarah went crazy with coffee frozen yogurt, peanut butter cups, crumbled bits of s’mores, and pieces of cookie dough. Rebecca was a bit in between the pair, with her chocolate frozen yogurt, brownie bites, chocolate chips, and a little caramel drizzle.

“What brings you here, David?” Rebecca asked as they all joined David at his table.

“Just relaxing after work, really,” David said with a half-shrug. “The office was a little crazy today, what with bills being due and all this week, so figured I deserved a treat.”

Rebecca paused. “Did I pay the tax bill?”

“You did,” David assured her, another chuckle escaping him. Josh enjoyed how often he seemed to laugh and smile. Turning to Josh, David added, “I work right in City Hall in the building department. Help out with the contracts and building permits and things like that. Contractors can’t get building permits if the owners still owe taxes, so many of them were trying to come in and pay. I should just post a sign on the door with the directions to the collectors department.”

With David’s physique, Josh would have guessed that David was a contractor himself rather than someone sitting at a desk all day.

“What about you?” David asked, keeping his focus on Josh. “The girls mentioned that you write?”

“Yeah.” Josh nodded, probably a bit too quickly. “I write for a few gaming websites, mostly on a site called Boss Mode.”

“‘Fraid I only know that site because of the girls,” David said, gesturing to Rebecca and Sarah. “I usually get my gaming news from the magazine and site Warriors and Mages. It caters to sci-fi and fantasy outside of gaming too.”

“That’s one of my favorite sites,” Josh said, glad that there was something he had in common with David.

“Really?” David angled his body more toward Josh. “Have you ever read the articles on tabletop gaming? Like Dungeons and Dragons and shit?”

“Uh, a few,” Josh said, making a mental note to do so later that night. “Do you play D&D?”

“I used to play it a lot more in high school.” David turned and gave Rebecca a grin. “Even got her into it during her final year there. Sarah played a little, too, when I was a senior, but I ended up getting too busy with college prep and stuff to keep up with it. I’d love to get back into it, but not too many people I know around here would be willing to play again.”

“Ever been to Tradeline, David?” Rebecca asked. With a nod in Josh’s direction, she added, “Josh is hosting a few of his friends from the west coast and they’re planning on going. Sarah’s going to tag along, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to as well after Wendy’s wedding. Tradeline’s only a day after it.”

“I haven’t been to Tradeline in years,” David said with a deep sigh. Biting his lip, he paused in thought a moment before saying, “Maybe I’ll go again this year, assuming I can still get a ticket.”

“I have a couple of extras,” Josh said. “I bought about a dozen because I wasn’t sure how many of my friends were flying out here, plus the girls, and… Yeah, you want one?”

“Shit, really man?” David laughed. “Yeah, why not? Bec, what time is the wedding? It’s right in the next city over, right?”

“It’s in the afternoon,” Rebecca said, “around three if I remember correctly. Think the reception starts at five-thirty, so I have no idea what time I’ll get home. I know Josh, Sarah, and company are heading to their hotel for Tradeline that night, so I don’t know if I’ll be able to meet them the next morning.”

“I’ll drive,” David said. “I’ll pick you up bright and early the day of the convention and you can sleep in the car. We’ll meet up with Sarah, Josh, and Josh’s other peeps at the hotel before Tradeline officially opens.”

“That sounds great!” Sarah said. “That way I won’t have to worry about Rebecca falling asleep at the wheel.”

“Way to be optimistic,” Rebecca said dryly. To David, though, she nodded. “That does sound like a great plan. I’ll help pay for gas for the trip.”

“Oh, please.” David scoffed. “It’s not that far and how many times in high school did you haul my ass around to meet up with everyone when I didn’t have my driver’s license yet? Considering this payback. Speaking of payback, though…” He glanced over at Josh and added, “What do I owe you for the ticket?”

Josh briefly wondered if it would be weird for Josh to say that the ticket was his treat since David seemed like such a nice guy, one who was obviously good friends with the girls, and one who had a fantastic smile, but figured since the pair just met, Josh would be honest. “It was seventy-five dollars. No rush, of course.”

“And the hotel room? Is there room for me to bunk with anyone?” David asked.

Josh tried to figure out how they had split up the rooms. “Think we booked three… You’ll be the ninth person… I’m sure we’ll find room for you somewhere.”

“You can just bunk on the floor of our room,” Sarah said. Turning to Josh, she asked, “Unless our room is going to be all the gals? Linda and Grace won’t mind, right?”

“I’m really not sure yet,” Josh said.

“We’ll figure it out,” Rebecca said. “Besides, David and I won’t even be there for the first night.”

“Yeah, if anything, Bec and I will bunk together on someone’s balcony.” He nudged Rebecca’s arm with his elbow, chuckling.

“Sure,” she agreed. “Only if you’re willing to snuggle.”

“But of course. I’ll snuggle with anyone!”

Josh chuckled and Sarah from across the table smirked at him. Josh glanced down at his half-melted bowl of frozen yogurt and occupied himself with taking another bite.

“That was really good,” Rebecca said, indicating her empty frozen-yogurt cup.

“So was mine.” Sarah stuck her tongue out at David before adding, “So much better than boring vanilla!”

“You’d change your mind if you would try it,” he said, giving her a crooked grin.

“Nope.” Sarah shook her head and gathered up her empty cup and Rebecca’s to toss into the nearest trash can.

Rebecca stood up as well and said, “I’m going to go wash my hands. Got a bit of caramel sauce on them, I think. You coming, Sarah?”

“Yep!” Sarah led the way over to the restrooms, Rebecca murmuring that they’d be right back.

As soon as the girls disappeared, David sighed. A light smile was on his face and he was shaking his head in what Josh could only guess was fond exasperation. Suddenly, David asked him, “So, you interested in guys?”

Josh nearly choked on an M&M.

David laughed. “Shit, sorry, man. You okay? Didn’t mean to shock you like that. It’s just that the girls up and leaving me with a new person usually indicates that they think I should try to make a move. They’ve been doing that since I came out as bi.”

“O-oh.” Josh coughed and caught his breath, hoping his face wasn’t too red. “I didn’t realize that they would be that interested in setting you up with someone.”

“I don’t really know if they are, to be honest,” David said with another chuckle. “I think it started as a semi-joke once when I was moping about breaking up with someone back in high school.”

Josh paused before asking, “Sorry if this is too personal, but have you ever gone out with Rebecca? You two seem to get along well.”

“Bec’s like the older sister I never had,” David said, “and Sarah a younger one. I’ll admit, I had the hots for Bec when I first met her, but we were also friends with a guy named Arnold who I know really liked her, so—Man, what’s that face for? You know Arnold?”

“Ah, yeah.” Josh wasn’t sure what kind of face he had made, but thinking about Arnold wasn’t something that Josh wanted to do. After the fiasco at the movies months ago, the guy had made repeated attempts at calling Rebecca again for the next couple of weeks. They eventually fizzled out, but Rebecca said they hadn’t started slowing down until the night that Arnold had shown up at the girls’ house uninvited and, since he was there, Josh had answered the door.

Arnold had turned crimson, sputtered out a few angry curses, and marched back down the driveway. He had hit the back of his Jeep on the girls’ fence before tearing off down the road. Josh hadn’t said a word and merely watched from the front door as Arnold stomped away. Rebecca had apologized for Josh getting involved, but he had assured her it wasn’t any trouble for him. He had volunteered to answer the door, to face Arnold – it had been one of the best ways he could think of to help protect and stand up for the girls.

“You’re the new boyfriend.” David caught Josh’s attention again as the black man snapped as if he had just solved a particularly perplexing puzzle.

“What?” Josh’s brows furrowed. “No, no, I’m not anyone’s boyfriend.”

David waved Josh’s words off. “Nah, I know, but that’s all Arnold kept telling me.”

“Oh.” Josh frowned slightly. “You still talk to Arnold regularly?”

David shook his head. “Not really. I’m kind of taking a couple of steps back from him because all I’ve been hearing about lately is him badmouthing Bec, which I cannot stand, and her so-called new boyfriend. Arnold’s not a terrible guy, really, he just ended up crushing hard on someone who didn’t feel the same way. He was like that back in high school, too, just not as, uh… extreme.”

“Badmouthing Rebecca?” Josh glanced over in the direction to the restrooms, half-wondering what was taking the girls so long while also finding it completely bizarre that anyone would have anything bad to say about the sisters.

David grunted as he leaned back in his seat. “Yeah, it’s just a bunch of shit. S’why I’m starting to back off from our friendship too. Feel a bit bad about it, since I don’t think the guy really connected with anyone else after high school, like at college or his job, ya know?”

“I know what you mean,” Josh said, “but Arnold needs to grow up.”

“Bluntly spoken,” David said, “and true. Just hope the guy realizes that before it’s too late.”

Josh merely hummed in agreement, pausing to mull on their conversation. After a few long minutes, he said quietly, “I am interested, actually…”

“Hm?” David turned back to him from looking out the window. “Interested in what, man?”

“Yeah.”

“…Huh?”

Josh coughed. “Men. Guys. I’m interested in guys, like you asked.”

A slow smile curled on David’s lips. “Good to know. Ah, there you two are! What happened, did you fall in the toilet?”

“Very funny,” Rebecca said, glaring at her phone. “Sorry, I stayed in that hallway to take a call, that’s all. Sarah was amusing herself with the automated hand dryer.”

“Is there one in the guys’ bathroom?” Sarah asked. “We’re able to turn ours in any direction we want, and I accidentally sent a pile of extra paper towels flying across the room. Took a few minutes to clean up.”

“You guys ready to go?” Rebecca asked, her gaze darting back and forth between the two men.

David chuckled at the girls’ explanation as to what took them so long. “All set. It’s fine you took your time. Josh and I had a great talk.”

David turned his grin to Josh. Josh’s stomach flipped, and he knew he was in trouble.

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2017 in Scribbles

 

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