April Song Writing Prompt – “I Will Possess Your Heart”

songprompt1I had a whole other story in mind for this song – “I Will Possess Your Heart” by Death Cab for Cutie – which is a favorite of mine, btw.

But, I realized that idea…was something that would be much, much too long for something like this. So I switched gears.

Right now, I’m firmly entrenched in my Albion Circle series – writing like crazy on a story and characters I love. So, I decided to stay on that path with this month’s song prompt. Well, mostly on the path. Tthis is a slight detour as it’s a glimpse inside the head of Mordred – the not-so-good guy. o.O


We belonged together.

Why didn’t Annwyl see that? Why didn’t she understand that Merlin wasn’t her other half? I was. I always had been, from the very beginning. He just got to her first.

Striding in to my study, I tugged my tie off and threw it on my desk before sitting in on of the armchairs in front of the fireplace. A few murmured words had flames springing to life, illuminating the darkening room. Another muttered spell, and a tumbler of brandy floated through the air into my waiting hand. I knocked the liquor back, relishing the burn as it worked it way down my throat to settle warmly in my stomach. I sent glass back toward the decanter to be refilled. Then, simply held the drink in my hand as anticipation flowed through me.

All day, I’d been waiting for this. Suffering through keeping up appearances, pretending to work for the bumbling idiot of a governor. Of course, he was firmly under my control, as was most of the staff. If I were to be successful this life, in this time, I needed to have power in the non-Magical world. The job was a means to an end, nothing more. But it kept me from maintaining contact with Annwyl. That required focus and concentration, and I couldn’t spare more than a few pockets of time through the day. And that wasn’t nearly enough. I needed more. She deserved more.

What Annwyl and I had, what we shared—no one else could understand that. Not Arthur and his followers, not Morgana, even when she was on the right side of the battle, and certainly not fucking Merlin. Even Annwyl didn’t fully understand. How could she? With Merlin in head? Well, this time would be different, because I was the one in her head now. I would have the time I needed with her, the time to show her the truth.

I know she thought I hated her, but my hatred never touched her. It was solely for Arthur and Merlin. I may feel anger at some of her choices—in this life and lives past—and lose myself in that anger, at times, but that was only because I cared too much. I loved her. More than Merlin ever could. It wasn’t a love born out of attraction and sex, but because she and I were of a kind. Underneath it all, Annwyl and I were the same. And it was up to me to make her see that.

I lifted the glass to my lips, thinking of what I’d have to do if I didn’t succeed. I never enjoyed taking her life. It hurt me to do so, and the guilt of failing weighed on me. But it was always a last resort, when it was clear she was too far gone to accept the truth before her. I regretted that her deaths were never easy, but if she couldn’t make the right choice, she needed to be used in a way to further the cause, to send a message to the Circle.

It wasn’t too late, this life, though. I still had time to make her see, to make her understand. I placed my brandy on the end table and settled back in the chair, closing my eyes, reaching out into Annwyl’s mind. Ready to spend some time with her and show her how things truly were. I would do everything in my power to succeed where I’d always failed.

And if she were too far gone, if Merlin and his king had corrupted her completely, I’d do what needed to be done. As painful as it would be, I’d reset things for her and start fresh in the next life.

Head on over and see what these awesome ladies have been inspired to write after listening to “I Will Possess Your Heart”…
Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn CeaseJessica De La Rosa | Kris Norris

April Photo Writing Prompt – Lying in Wait


photopromptTotally late on this one… Got in super late from a weekend away last night and passed out. And I’d spent the 4 of the last 10 days in the car. Not particularly fun, even though the visits in between were lovely.

Anyhoo, I’m not wimping out. I have a flash peice for this picture. The upside to hours upon hours in the car by yourself? Lots of ideas pop up and there’re no distractions as they come to ilfe in your head.

This is another glimpse into Delia’s life. She’s the heroine from my NA serial that will begin next week. Squee! So excited about it. You can check out the last tidbit from Delia HERE before reading on…or just read on….

04-2015- CoupleNight

Lying in Wait

I leaned against the tree, scratching the growing number of bug bites on my exposed skin. And there was a fair amount of it. Should’ve changed out of the thin, short dress I’d thrown on that morning, but I hadn’t expected to be standing here long after night fell. And honestly, the air was heavy and thick with humidity, even now, and I’d be sweltering in anything else. The small amount of relief I felt as the stingy breeze coasted over my damp skin was worth it. I smacked my neck, grimacing at the smear of blood on my palm. Mostly worth it.

Where was he? I peered down the dark street. This was the way he’d come back, the way he always came back whenever he left for…whatever he was doing. He still wouldn’t tell me anything, saying I was too young, that Mom would have his ass if he involved me at all. Of course, Dad just talking to me about magic, in general, was enough to get her blood boiling something fierce. Which was why I’d waited for her to doze in the recliner before slipping out to meet Dad when he returned. I figured this was the only way I’d get him to share anything about his secret outings. Not that I’d been successful to this point, but at home? No chance there.

Oh, he’d be annoyed when he saw me. He’d get out of the car, all frowns and glares, but that would only last a moment before he’d shake his head and and nod for me to get in. And even if I couldn’t get him to spill about, we’d talk about magic. Freely and without worried looks. I swatted at another mosquito buzzing around my ear and sighed. I knew Mom didn’t mean anything by it. She really didn’t understand why we needed to talk, why I needed to learn about what was inside me. How could she? She wasn’t a magic user. She didn’t feel the power thrumming through her, pushing ever outward as she had to hide that part of herself from everyone out of fear. She couldn’t imagine what it was like to feel as if she were dying because something that was so essential to who she was was being smothered.


I spun at the soft call, grabbing the tree truck for balance as I tripped over my own feet. Squinting into the night, I tried to find the source of the voice, and nearly fell on my ass when a tall figure stepped from the shadows across the way onto the asphalt.

“Kyle? What are you doing here?”


He braced his hands on his knees and bent forward, gulping air. I hurried closer to him, joining him on the road. and saw he was drippping with sweat. His jeans were torn at the knees, filthy, and when he straightened, my stomach roiled when the streetlight illuminated a nasty gash along his temple and the blood coating half his face.

I closed the distance between us and reached up. Before I could touch him, murmur one of the healing spell Dad had taught me, Kyle grabbed my wrists and shook his head, wincing as the movement obviously pained him. He glanced around nervously.

“Not here. Not now.”

“What’s going on? What happened to you?”

“There’s no time to explain. You have to get home. Now. And when they come, you know nothing.”

“When who comes?” I pulled free of his grasp but didn’t move back.

“I was with your dad and mine. They…they…” He pressed his lips together and swallowed audibly. “They were taken, and there are going to be people asking questions. About your dad, about…”

Kyle and his father were the only people other than my parents who knew what I was. Because they were magic users, too. What the hell had they been doing? Who had taken our fathers? Where were they? What was going to happen to them? The questions battered at my skull, and I clenched my hands into tight fists.

“Fuck, Dee!” Kyle grabbed my arm and hauled me to the side, off the road and into the cover of the surrounding forest. “You need to pull it in.”

I followed his gaze, looked down, and saw my hands glowing as my emotions spiraled out of control.

“Where are they?” I gasped.

“I don’t know. They told me to run, and I did. I ran. I didn’t even try to–”

His shame bore down on me, heavy and suffocating. I shoved through the worry and fear and wrapped my arms around his waist. He was just sixteen – a year older than me. If someone had managed to take down both his and my dads, Kyle wouldn’t have stood a chance.

“They said run, you run. That’s the rules,” I said softly.

“We have to go home now.” His voice was flat and dull as he held me tightly. “And when questions are asked – ”

“I know nothing,” I finished, pulling back and looking at him. Before he could see what I was doing, I whispered the spell and touched my fingers to the cut on his head. When he opened his mouth to protest, I spoke first. “They’ll ask more questions if you’re injured.”

He nodded reluctantly. “Yeah, they would. Come on.” He grabbed my hand and started pulling me through the trees toward our homes, rather than along the road.

“You tell me what happened, right? What you were doing?” I asked quietly as we stumbled along in the dark.

“Yeah, I’ll tell you everything I know,” he assured. “When it’s safe.”

It was quiet, except for the sound of our feet in the brush, for several minutes. Then, I could taken it anymore.

“They’re gone, aren’t they? Our dads, I mean. They’re not coming back.”

Kyle tripped slightly ahead of me, and he glanced back, face pale, still streaked with blood. And his blue eyes shining with tears. “I don’t know, Dee. I really don’t know.”

 Be sure to check out the other peices inspired by this month’s photo!
Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease Jessica De La Rosa
Kayleigh Jones | Kris Norris | Paige Prince

March Photo Writing Prompt – The Lies Begin

photopromptI can’t tell you how long I stared at this month’s picture trying to come up with an idea. A happy one, no less, because apparently I’m depressing people. 😛

Well, something finally came to me. This short is actually connecting to the New Adult serial I’m working on – Your Lies – which will be coming twice a month starting in April, and I’m super excited about it. This is a glimpse into the the past of Delia, the heroine.

I don’t know that I can call it happy, but I don’t think it’s necessary sad or depressing… I didn’t break her, Norris, I didn’t break her! 

03-2015 -  Orb

The Lies Begin

Parents are stupid.

They think they’re smart, that kids don’t know what’s going on, but they’re wrong. Kids aren’t stupid. Well, some kids are, like Todd Pratt across the street. He was the dumbest. But I wasn’t. I wasn’t stupid, even though that’s how my mom and dad treated me.

I picked at the loose thread on the arm of the couch as I listened them fighting. They weren’t shouting or anything. They were pretending they weren’t fighting—Mom would say they were “having a discussion”—but talking all hushed and behind their bedroom door didn’t make it less of a fight.

That was all they did anymore. Fight. I swiped at my stinging eyes. I wasn’t going to cry like a baby about it, but it made my stomach hurt. ‘Cause it was my fault. If I wasn’t like this, they wouldn’t have anything to fight about. And it was always about me. Even before I messed up today, I’d heard them. The way they’d say my name or the way they’d look at me… Something was wrong with me, and they must have seen that a long time ago.

I didn’t want to be diffrent or messed up. I just wanted to go back to the way it was before–when Mom would smile at Dad like he was the best thing ever, and he would hug her and swing her around when he came home from work.

I sat up straighter when I heard the bedroom door open. Mom hurried over to me and sat beside me on the couch, but Dad walked over and looked out the window. And he looked mad. I felt sweaty and gross all the sudden.

“Delia,” my mom said. “I want you to know we’re not angry with you. You didn’t know any better. Thank goodness it happened here at home and not where—”

“Sylvie!” Dad’s voice boomed, and both Mom and I flinched.

“We’re not angry,” she said again, really slow. “But you can’t do…what you did anymore. Ever. It’s too dangerous, and you could get really hurt.”

“Okay,” I said when she stared at me like I was supposed to say something.

“And,” her eyes flicked over to my dad then back to me, “if anyone, anyone, ever asks you about it, you need to pretend you don’t know what they’re talking about.”

“You want me to lie?”

See? Parents were stupid. How many times have they told me lying was wrong? It was bad, and I should never, ever do it. Now, I was supposed to lie.

“Delia, honey, this is important. I wouldn’t tell you to do it if it wasn’t. No one can ever know what you are and what you can do. Promise me you’ll keep it a secret.” She grabbed my shoulders. Her fingers dug in, and it hurt! She gave me a little shake when I tried to pull away.

“Promise me!”

“Ow! Fine. I promise! Geez, Mom!” When she let go, I rubbed at one shoulder and glared at her.

“Good.” She stared at me, her lips jiggling weirdly. “Now, go get ready for bed.”

I jumped to my feet and looked at my dad, but his back was still to us. My stomach squeezed painfully again. I hurried into the bathroom, and as soon as I was in the small room, I heard them talking in quiet, angry voices again. I slammed the door, not caring if it made them mad. Because they made me mad. They wouldn’t tell me what was so wrong with what I could do or what wrong with me. They wanted me to stop doing the one thing that made me feel…like I was special. And now, I had to lie too.

After brushing my teeth and washing up, I went into my bedroom without looking into the living room. I didn’t hear them talking anymore, so that was nice. The worst was when the fighting happened at night. It just kept me up and made me feel sick.

I changed into my pajamas and crawled into bed. Before I could turn the lamp off, there was a knock on the door. It opened a bit, and my dad stuck his head in my room.

“Can I come in, Dee?”

“Yeah.” I sat up and scooched my back against the headboard.

He shut the door behind him and came to sit on the edge of the bed. “There is nothing wrong with you.”

My breath went funny, catching in my throat. How did he know I had thought that?

“Your mom’s just worried. For good reasons, but she also doesn’t understand.” He sighed loudly. “She’s not like you and me.”

“You? You mean, you’re…”

He held his hand out, and muttered a few words. A circle of light appeared, hovering above his palms. “You can say the word, Dee. When it’s just the two of us, you can say it.”

“You’re magic.”

“Yes.” He twisted his wrist and sent the orb spinning. “They call us magic users.” He scrunched up his face. “But it’s so much more than that. We don’t just use magic. It is a part of us; something that can’t be separated or ignored. The magic is -” He sighed. “I”m getting ahead of myself. The important thing for you to understand is it’s dangerous for people like us out there. That is what upset your mother. She’s afraid of what could happen to you. Here, take it.”

I reached out and laughed in surprise when my fingers wrapped around a solid ball. It was smooth like glass, but warm to the touch. I held it in both hands and looked into my dad’s eyes. It was weird, because he looked so happy, but sad, too.

“I’ll teach you,” he said quietly. “How to use it, but first, I need to teach you to be safe from those who would hurt you if they knew.”

“Why would anyone want to hurt me?”

“Because they don’t understand, and people fear what they don’t understand.” He brushed a hand over my hair. “You are so special, Delia. This is a gift, and you should never fear what you are, but you always, always have to be careful. And that’s why you have to do what your mother said. If anyone asks about magic or magic users, you pretend you don’t know anything. That’s one thing that will keep you safe.”

I nodded. “Okay, Dad.”

“I know you have to have questions, and I promise I’ll answer them soon. But for now,” he smiled that huge smile I hadn’t seen in a long time, “I want you to show me. Show me something you can do.”

He hadn’t been home earlier when I’d gotten frustrated doing homework and had sent my books flying through the air without touching them, making Mom freak out. I thought for a moment, deciding what to do. Taking a deep breath, I stared at the orb in my hands. My whole body felt warm…and just nice, like everything was right and like it should be. Then, dozens of beams of light, all different colors, streaked inside the ball. The glow lit up Dad’s face, and his smile widened.

“Beautiful,” he said quietly.

But he wasn’t looking at the orb anymore; he was looking at me.

Be sure to check out the other peices inspired by this month’s photo!
Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn CeaseJessica De La Rosa | Kayleigh Jones | Kris Norris

February Song Writing Prompt – “Angels of the Silences”

 This week’s song is “Angels of the of the Silences” by Counting Crows. As much as I love this song, it was a tough one to write a piece on. But I did it! 🙂 I actually went back to Michael and Aric – the two men from the first song fic – because it seemed to fit where they were. Particularly these lines…

Why’d you leave me ’till I’m only good for…
Waiting for you
All my sins…
I said that I would pay for them if I could come back to you

So, first, have a listen then see what it all means for Michael and Aric.

He’s falling apart, Aric. He’s lost without you. I’m so worried about him.

“Fuck.” Aric Brewer punched the mattress then rolled over onto his back, every muscle tight, quivering with… Hell if he knew what. There was too much coursing through him. Anger, confusion, grief, yearning… He clenched his fists. He wasn’t going down that road. He wasn’t going to lay here night after night wishing for something he couldn’t have, so he grasped onto something he could deal with. The anger. Oh yeah, that he could do well.

Aric brushed aside the annoyance he felt at Trina for coming to him with her brother’s current problems. After all, she wasn’t the only one who had looked at him with sad eyes and lamented on how the break up had been so hard on Michael.

Christ, he’d just wanted to celebrate his friend’s engagement like a normal person. He didn’t fucking need this. Why was it on him how Michael was doing? Why was that Aric’s problem? He wasn’t the one who broke it off, who threw it all away.

Everyone was so worried about poor Michael falling apart, but he was the one who decided they were done, who pushed Aric away and refused to speak to him. That was on Michael. “Poor Michael” created this fucking mess and could get himself out of it. Aric owed him nothing. He had to pick up the pieces for himself and get on with his life, and Michael would have to do the same. He would have to…

Aric drew in a deep but ragged breath when Michael’s face flashed in his mind for the millionth time that day. His beautiful face that used to make Aric’s heart race, but now…now, just made it ache.

Deflated, Aric got out of bed and shuffled into the bathroom. Sleep. He needed sleep and a break from that fucking face. He grabbed the pills his doctor had prescribed a little over a month ago when he’d been desperate for the solid night’s rest that had eluded him since he’d been shoved out the door. He washed two tablets down before returning to his cold, empty bed. He struggled to keep his mind clear as the medication did it work, grasping him tightly and pulling him into the blessed black he sought. But, as he went into the darkness, he couldn’t help but hope that Michael’s continued to be just as cold and just as empty since the day he threw Aric away.

* * * * *

Aric stared up at the house. His house. Their house. He snorted. Michael’s house. That’s what it was now. His knuckles whitened as he gripped the steering wheel. He’d been sitting here, parked on the street, for the last fifteen minutes, attempting to prepare himself for what he was about to do.

Confronting Michael had never been something Aric planned to do. Ever. He’d told himself if wasn’t worth it, that if Michael wanted him out of his life, Aric would oblige. After all, he thought bitterly, he’d never been able deny Michael anything he really wanted.

The decision to do this, now, was entirely selfish. He wanted to be able to tell Trina, to tell them all to back the fuck off of him, because he tried. Not that he was foolish enough to expect anything to change by talking to Michael but he would be able to say he made the effort. Maybe, just maybe, this would bring him a small measure of closure, and he’d be able to move on. And not hurt so much. He really, really wanted to stop hurting so damned much.

Gathering his anger close to him, draping it over the pain like a cloak, he got out of the car and strode determinedly to the house. If he had to take a few deep breaths as he rang the doorbell and stood before the door that had once been his to walk through happily and freely, it wasn’t something he acknowledged.

Clenching and unclenching his fists, he waited for Michael to answer. Impatiently, he pushed the bell again and again. He was probably still in bed. Aric nearly smiled as he thought of Michael’s habit of sleeping in whenever possible, catching himself before thinking too fondly of the man who’d broken his heart.

“Should have known you’d—” The door banged against the wall as Michael stood in just inside, gaping at Aric.

“Rise and shine,” Aric said with false cheer as he moved around Michael and made his way inside.

He came to an abrupt halt in the middle of the living room and surveyed the absolute mess that surrounded him. He’d thought Trina had been exaggerating. Truthfully, he’d hoped she’d been exaggerating about just how difficult a time Michael had been doing.

“What are you doing here?” Michael snapped from just inside the room. “Did Trina send you?”

“No, but given the state of this place…” Aric turned to him. It was a struggle to school his expression, because, son of a bitch, the cloak of anger fell away. Dissolved at the sight of Michael—his Michael—so very clearly on the edge. He swallowed and continued, “And the state of you, she should have. Long before now.”

Michael shoved his hands through his black hair, causing the already tousled locks to stand on end. He wouldn’t meet Aric’s eyes, gaze darting around the room, a flush rising on his cheeks.

“Why are you here now?” he asked. “It’s been two months, why now?”

Aric steeled himself, not in defense this time, but because he knew the last thing Michael needed was to be fussed over, babied. He never reacted well to that.

“You no-showed Oliver’s engagement party.” He glanced around the room, brow lifted. “Though it looks like you had a little party of your own, and seems to be a regular occurrence. I wanted to make sure you were all right. None of our friends have seen you recently. Oliver hand only heard from you when you called to bail on him. I was worried.”

“Well, as you can see, I’m alive and fine. So…” Michael waved toward the front door.

“Alive, yes. Fine…” He sighed heavily. “Hardly.”

“You have seen me in months, so you can’t really be the judge of that, can you?”

The hurt in Michael’s voice, in his wide gray eyes, gutted Aric. Nearly brought him to his knees.

“I’m the best judge of that. I know you better than anyone. And right now, sweetheart,” he walked across the room to stand in front of Michael, “you’re a mess.”

Michael’s lips trembled a moment before he pressed them together in a thin line. Aric’s anger rose again, hot and strong, but it wasn’t directed at the man before him. It was all focused back at himself. All this time, he’d been waiting and wondering, waiting on a sign that Michael was moving on—either back toward Aric or to someone else—and wondering how he could have shoved Aric away so thoughtlessly. Waiting and wondering instead of realizing he was the one who needed to do something. He should have known that. Should have seen that Michael was hurting, drowning in his grief.


The word, though whispered, jolted Aric from his thoughts. “Don’t what?”

“Don’t pretend you care.” Michael took a step back, gaze firmly on a point just past Aric’s left shoulder.

“I’m not pretending. I do care. I’ve always cared.”

“You don’t,” he snarled. “If you did, you wouldn’t have—”

He snapped his mouth shut and turned on his heel, practically running down the hallway to their…his bedroom. Aric didn’t hesitate to follow, pushing the door back open before it had a chance to latch. Michael stood, hands braced on the dresser, head hanging low. His shoulders shook as he struggled to breathe. Aric held himself back, denied the urge, the need to go to him.

“I wouldn’t have what?” he demanded.

“Walked away!” Michael shouted, straightening and spinning around. “I know, okay? I know I told you to leave, but you just walked away without a glance back. Like I was worth nothing. Like I wasn’t worth fighting for. You proved him right, Aric.”

The way his voice broke at the end pushed Aric forward, and he grasped the other man’s arms.

“Stop it,” he hissed. “Do not bring him into this. Into us.”

“There’s no us anymore.” Michael’s breath hitched. “And that was the problem. He was always there.”

“No.” Aric shook his head. “You pushed him out when he didn’t accept me, didn’t accept you, but for some reason when he died, you let him back in. And that was the beginning of the end, wasn’t it? Your bastard of a father managed to succeed in death where he failed in life—our relationship effectively died with him.”

“You don’t understand,” Michael whispered.

“You didn’t give me a chance to understand. You shut me out then you kicked me out. I gave you what you wanted. I walked away, but if you think it was without a backward glance, you couldn’t be more wrong.” He released one arm to cup Michael’s face. “I never stopped looking back, sweetheart. You just weren’t paying attention.”

These two are living in my head and will likely be the subject of most if not all of my song fics. I hope you like them as much as I do!

Head on over and see what these awesome ladies have been inspired to write after listening to “Angels of the Silences…
Bronwyn Green | Jessica De La Rosa | Kris Norris

January Song Writing Prompt – “I’m a Mess”


Another new feature. 🙂 Yay. The 3rd Monday of each month, the ladies and I are going to be sharing some more flash fiction – this time, peices inspired by a song.

This week’s song… “I’m A Mess” by Ed Sheeran. I love this song. Have a listen then see what I’ve come up with as a result… 😀

“I’m A Mess”

“Where the fuck were you last night?”

Michael Adams held the phone away from his ear, wincing as pain ricocheted through his skull. Why the hell had he even answered the phone? Early Saturday morning calls? Never a good thing. And as much as Michael loved his sister, listening to her yelling at him—again—was a far cry from how he wanted to spend his morning. At this moment, the only thing he wanted to do was to roll over and sleep it off some more. Clearly, the universe had other plans for him. As it always did.


“No,” she said loudly. “This has gone on too fucking long, Mikey. You need to…”

“What? I need to what, exactly? Snap out of it? Pull myself up by the bootstraps, slap on a smile and pretend everything is all good in the world? Sorry, not happening.” He scrubbed a hand over his face, frowning at the scrape of scruff against his palm. “I’m fine.”

“The fuck you are.”

He sighed. “You need to expand your vocabulary.”

“I’ll expand my fucking vocabulary when you get out of the fucking house for something other than fucking work and start living your fucking life again.”

“Such a lady,” he drawled.

“You didn’t show up for your best friend’s engagement party,” she said, uncharacteristically quiet. “So saying you’re fine isn’t going to fly.”

“I talked to Oliver.” Michael tried to keep his tone firm and even, but his voice just came out scratchy and weak. “He said he understood. That’s all that really matters.”

“Of course he said that! Everyone is so fucking scared of saying anything that will push you over the edge. No one knows how to talk to you because you’ve shut us all out!”

“Not very effectively since I have you shrieking in my ear on a regular basis,” he muttered.

“Yeah, and you can expect that to continue, you fucking ass. Unlike the friendships you are effectively destroying with your behavior, it will take a hell of a lot more to drive me away. And just think about that, Mikey,” she warned. “Keep this up, and I’ll be all you have. Is that really what you want?”

He snorted, ignoring how his chest tightened. “What I want? Pretty much given up on that.”

“Why?” she yelled. “Why shouldn’t you have what you want? Fuck, you had it already. You had it, and you threw it away! Dad’s gone. Why are you letting him have any power over you now when you didn’t when he was alive?”

“I’m not going to argue about this again.” He knew where this was headed, and he needed to stop it before—

“That’s the problem; you don’t argue.” She laughed bitterly. “You go to work, you come home and drink and then you go to bed, just to wake and do it all over again. You listen to me bitch and you mope around and wallow.”

“Didn’t your therapist ever tell you that people grieve in their own way?”

“This isn’t fucking grie—” She stopped short and he heard her take a deep breath. “Are you even going to ask about him? He was there last night. But, of course, you know that.”

And there it was. Michael swallowed heavily, and his eyes burned behind his closed lids.

“How is he?” he whispered then inwardly cringed.

He hadn’t meant to ask. He didn’t want to know… Shit, he was no better at lying to himself than he had been two months before when he’d told Aric to get the hell out of his life. And his loving and devoted boyfriend had walked away without a second glance, because Michael had said it was what he wanted. His skills at lying convincingly to others were obviously far superior to his ability to delude himself. Despite his best efforts.

“He looked good,” she said quietly then added, “But, Mikey, he looked so sad, too. Especially when…when he asked about you.”

“I wouldn’t read too much into that.” He swallowed heavily, gulping down the surge of hope that rose. “Everyone gets a little sad when they think about their exes.”

“It’s more than that, and you know it.”

The muscles of his jaw twitched when he clenched his teeth. “And who was on his arm, Trina? I’ve never known Aric to show up anywhere all by his lonesome.”

“No one.” When he didn’t answer, she sighed. “I didn’t see him when he got there, all right? And he…mingled all night. And talked to a lot of people.”

“A lot of good looking guys.”

Her breath hitched. “Oh, Mikey.”

“I’m going to go.”

“Just call him.”

“I’ve told you already there’s no point. It’s over.”

“Christ, you’re stubborn.” Triina laughed harshly.

“Says the woman who calls every single day to rip me a new one. Guessing it’s hereditary, sister mine.” He stretched his free arm over his head. “And I’m hanging up, now.”

“Fine. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

“Of course you will.” He smiled…an actual genuine smile. Trina was one thing he could count on, even if it was in the form of nagging phone calls most of the time. “Love you.”

“Love you, too,” she returned. “Please, think about what I said. Call him.”

“Good-bye, Trina.”

Ending the call, he tossed the phone off the side of the bed then rolled over to bury his face in the pillow on the other side of the bed. Aric’s side of the bed.

“Fuck,” he muttered, punching the mattress several times before turning to the side and going limp.

Closing his eyes against the banging in his head, he tried to push all thoughts of the last two months, of Aric, of being without Aric from his mind. Yet as Michael drifted off, he saw only one face.

He woke to the sound of the doorbell, repeatedly chiming, and the pain in his head still strong as ever. He climbed out of bed and padded through the house, grumbling and squinting against the sunlight streaming through every damned window. He needed to remember to shut the fucking curtains at night.

He inwardly cursed his sister as he unlocked the front door. She never knew when to leave well enough alone and had probably gotten it in her head that he was starving without her sweet—read annoying—sibling attention. It wouldn’t be the first time she’d shown up on his doorstep with a bag of food and a frown.

“Should have known you’d—”

The door banged against the wall as he let go of the knob in shock.

“Rise and shine,” Aric announced, pushing past Michael into the house.

It took him a moment, but Michael quickly shut the door and rushed after his ex, finding the other man standing in the middle of the living room, looking around with a look of disgust on his face.

“What are you doing here?” Michael demanded. “Did Trina send you?”

“No, but given the state of this place…” Aric turned and ran his gaze over Michael. “And the state of you, she should have. Long before now.”

Running his hand through his hair, knowing it was already sticking up wildly, Michael looked everywhere but at Alric. Which was a mistake because he saw exactly what his ex was seeing—empty bottles and takeout containers littering every surface, unwashed laundry piled up, and the basic evidence of a man who just didn’t give a fuck anymore. Everything Michael had been valiantly trying to ignore for some time.

“Why are you here?” he bit out. “It’s been two months; why now?”

“You no-showed Oliver’s engagement party.” He glanced around again. “Though it looks like you had a little party of your own, and it seems to be a regular occurrence. I wanted to make sure you were all right. None of our friends have seen you recently. Oliver had only heard from you when you called to bail on him. I was worried.”

“Well, as you can see, I’m alive and fine. So…” Michael gestured toward the front door.

“Alive, yes. Fine…” He sighed and shook his head. “Hardly.”

“You haven’t seen me in months, so you can’t really be the judge of that, can you?”

Aric’s expression softened, and Michael’s stomach clenched at the sight of those gorgeous green eyes looking at him with…affection?

“I’m the best judge of that. I know you better than anyone. And right now, sweetheart,” he stepped forward, “you’re a mess.”

Head on over and see what these awesome ladies have been inspired to write after listening to Mr. Sheeran singing about being a mess…
Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease | Jenny Trout | Jessica De La Rosa | Kris Norris