Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.
Ethan's twin sister's baby daddy shows up unexpectedly and tensions rise until Vinnie reaches the breaking point and punches him! See what the aftermath is in this week's chapter of Rose and Thorne. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!Rose and Thorne 6 #24 (5.3)
I think the idiot was actually going to respond to what was probably a rhetorical question on my part. I braced myself to punch him again, if necessary. I was operating on an adrenaline high at the moment. I knew later I would probably be in at least a little pain where my knuckles had made contact with his nose. But right then I didn’t care.
Luckily any further display of fisticuffs was not required as Sarah herself stepped between us, standing over her baby daddy and preventing Ethan from getting any closer to him than he already was. “James, you need to leave.” Her voice was deceptively quiet, but I could hear the same tone I’d heard in Ethan’s warnings to some of the scum we’d dealt with on the job. I wondered if James had the sense to realize she meant business.
“Fine, I’ll leave. I can tell when I’m not wanted.” He rose to his feet, swiping at the blood which was pouring from his nose. “C’mon, Sarah, you and the baby can come with me. We can get a hotel room and fly back to—”
“Oh hell no.”
Oddly, Sarah and Ethan delivered that same line in stereo. Told you that twin thing was eerie and I meant it. Sarah shot Ethan a look that clearly said I got this.
I didn’t doubt that for a moment.
Ethan gave a slight nod. He wrapped his arm about my waist and brought my injured hand up to his lips, kissing it gently. I knew then that he wasn’t angry with me for what I’d done. Not that I’d really thought he would be. We stand up for each other—it’s what we do.
“James, I honestly don’t know what’s wrong with you,” Sarah continued. “I overlooked everything you did after I told you I was pregnant, including the way you ran out on us and never contacted us until recently. Against my own better judgment, I let you back into our lives because I thought maybe, just maybe, you’d grown up. I thought maybe you weren’t the immature asshole you were before, and that you loved us. I get it. People can change. And I thought things were going well, that we had something good. But then you have the nerve to come into my brother’s home. Not just my brother’s but the home of his fiancé, who is a wonderful and good man, and you have the nerve… the unmitigated gall to…. Just take your homophobic self and get the hell out of here. Now!”
I think the rest of us were too stunned to react at that moment. Including James. Benny (the pup, not the uncle) had taken up a defensive posture in front of Sarah and Alex, as if he intended to protect them from all harm, I have to admit that even with his teeth bared, he didn’t look very threatening.
Uncle Benny, on the other hand….
I guess James didn’t move fast enough for his liking. The next thing I knew, he held James’ forearm in a tight grip as he escorted him down the hall, headed toward the front door. “I guess you didn’t hear my niece very well, did you? It’s time for you to leave. And I suggest you don’t return. Ever.”
I thought James sputtered something, I don’t know what, but then the front door opened and closed in rapid succession, and I realized Benny had literally tossed the hapless baby daddy out.
Wow, so that happened.
I wasn’t sure what to say or do in that moment. But before I could collect my thoughts, Sarah had turned toward Ethan and me, tears already raining down her cheeks.
“I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry…” She kept repeating the same words, clinging tightly to Alex, who was beginning to fret, which caused Benny to yip in consternation. He probably thought the child was in distress, which he probably was after that very stormy scene.
“No, don’t,” Ethan stopped her. “It’s all right. Don’t cry, please don’t cry.” The next thing I knew, he had wrapped his arms around Sarah and Alex, and then around me, and we were all hugging, while Sarah continued to sob. Then Uncle Benny joined us and we became one big hugging machine, there in our narrow hallway. Finally, Sarah’s sniffles began to decrease, and her breathing returned to normal.
“I’m okay now,” she insisted, but Ethan decided she needed to sit, so we all trooped into the living room and took our seats.
Sarah took a deep breath and exhaled. “I had no idea he was like that,” she said. “I mean, the subject of you… I never told him you were gay because it never occurred to me. Since we started talking again, he never asked about you. I figured we’d talk about what happened eventually, and he would ask about you.. But not like this, never like this.” She fell silent.
Ethan and I sat hip-to-hip on the couch. He’d pulled a piece of ice from the freezer and wrapped it in a paper towel, which he held against my hand. He’d also whispered, “My hero,” when we were momentarily alone in the kitchen.
I would have done what I did again in a heartbeat.
“Were you planning to fly home with him tomorrow?” Ethan asked.
Sarah nodded. “I know I shouldn’t have let him come here when you were gone. I really was going to say something about him coming, but then it turned out you had to work, so I just thought I’d let sleeping dogs lie. That was dumb, I know.” She turned her gaze to me. “He deserved that, Vinnie. I’m sorry you had to do it, though. Are you okay?”
“I’m fine,” I assured her.
“We should all get some sleep,” Ethan said. “Tomorrow—”
His words were cut off by the sound of his cell. This late?
What could Anderson want at this hour?
to be continued
Now go hand out with the other Briefers for a bit!