Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Wednesday Briefs: Don't Look Back #24 (5.3)

Hard to believe December is already here, and Christmas is just around the corner! Plus it's Hump Day! So it must be time for some flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! Each flash is between 500 and 1000 words, and is inspired by one of our prompts.

In last week's episode of Don't Look Back, Marshall and Lee continue their trip to San Antonio with some fun in the hotel room. Today they visit and church at the Alamo, and then Lee has a surprise for Marshall. Don't forget to see what the other Briefers are up to. Their links follow  my tale. Enjoy!

Don't Look Back #24 (5.3)

Marshall and Lee rose early the next morning, pausing just long enough to enjoy a quick cup of coffee before heading to the Alamo church. Few tourists were about yet. They left an offering in the basket by the door, lit two candles, then selected an empty pew and knelt, each man becoming lost in his own thoughts.

Marshall refused to think about the period of his captivity with his mother unless it was absolutely necessary, which it generally wasn’t. He preferred to remember his reunion with Lee instead. Lee and Roy spent several days on the road, once they had Marshall with them, moving from motel to motel. Once they were sure they weren’t being followed, they headed to Burnham, Texas, and the home Lee had made for Marshall.

At first, Marshall slept in a room of his own. But every night, bad dreams ravaged his sleep. He woke up screaming for Lee, and then he ended up being taken into Lee’s bed for the rest of the night. Finally, he just slept there, with Lee. Like when he was a kid. He felt more secure with Lee’s arms around him. Less afraid his mother was coming to get him.

Roy gave up being a private investigator. Over the five years he’d spent working for Lee, searching for Marshall, they’d become close friends, and Roy stuck with them, even after Marshall’s rescue. Burnham was too small a town to support a private eye, but they had a need for a sheriff, and Roy filled that need. It took little persuasion to convince the mayor he could handle the job.

Every time they went to the Alamo, Marshall gave thanks for Roy being able to find him, and for their removing him from an abusive situation. And most of all he gave thanks for Lee in his life.

Lee slipped his hand over Marshall’s. It was warm and comforting. Marshall opened his eyes to find Lee’s gaze upon him. His heart warmed at the sight. I love you, Marshall mouthed, and Lee repeated the sentiment back to him.

They rose, hand in hand, and left the church to the wide-eyed wonder of the newly arrived tourists, then walked the short distance to the garage, to retrieve their car. After that, they did some shopping. First for computer parts they needed for their business, which they had shipped to the house, then for clothes for each of them. Afterward, they ate lunch at a small Mexican cantina. Marshall loved the smell of fresh cilantro that permeated the air, and the earthy scent of cumin and roasted peppers.
Marshall ordered the hottest item on the menu.

“Sure you can handle that?” Lee drawled, eyebrows skeptically raised.

“Of course, I can!” Marshall assured him. “Why do you think I can’t? Been eating hot peppers for years, as you damn well know.”

“Well, maybe because these are ghost peppers, not jalapenos. But it’s your stomach.”

Marshall stuck his tongue out at Lee. Lee only laughed, and ordered a big vanilla milkshake to go with lunch.

“Why?” Marshall asked curiously.

“You’ll see,” is all Lee would say.

When their food arrived, Marshall toughed it out as long as he could, insisting he could handle it. But the ghost chilies set his insides on fire, and no matter how much water he drank, nothing quenched the flames. Until Lee handed him the milkshake and told him to drink, and Marshall began to feel as though he might actually survive the experience.

After that, Marshall ate his food a little more cautiously, and managed to finish it all. As they got into their car, he asked. “How’d you know the milkshake would work?”

Lee grinned. “Been there, done that,” he said before he leaned in and kissed Marshall. Marshall felt a little less chagrined after that.

To Marshall’s surprise, they didn’t return to the Crockett right away. Instead, Lee turned the car into a parking lot Marshall didn’t recognize. Neon letters in the front window proclaimed the name of the establishment as Flying Free. Once they parked and walked inside, there was little mystery as to what went on there.

“A hair salon?” Marshall glanced at the colorful surroundings. The walls were covered with pictures of gorgeous men. Customers of both sexes sat at various hair stations, being attended by chic stylists.

“A hair salon, yup. You’re an observant one,” Lee teased. Marshall’s face heated.

“Lee!” A slender man with a full head of gloriously white hair came toward them, hands outstretched. “I’m so glad you came!”

“Told you I would next time we were in town, Carlisle.” The smaller man pulled Lee into a quick hug before turning to Marshall.

“And this must be Marshall!” he declared. “He’s every bit as handsome as you said, Lee. And such beautiful hair.”

Marshall felt his cheeks heat even more.

“This is Marshall,” Lee confirmed. “Marshall, this is Carlisle Chambers. He owns this place. I did some computer work for him before you joined the company, and he’s been wanting me to bring you in, ever since I told him about you.”

Marshall was flattered. Both at the interest the hair stylist was taking in him, and at Lee’s obvious pride in him. He held out a hand to Carlisle. “Pleased to meet you,” he began, but suddenly found himself drawn into a welcoming hug.

“The pleasure is all mine, sweetheart!”

From this proximity, Marshall could see how the strands of Carlisle’s hair were almost pearlescent, rather than simply white. The effect was rather stunning.

Carlisle released him and stepped back, his lips drawn into a bemused grin. “You didn’t tell him, did you, Lee? You sly dog, you!”

“Nope, wanted it to be a complete surprise.”

“Wanted what to be a complete surprise?” Marshall glanced between the two men.

“I am personally going to take care of you today!” Carlisle declared. “Lee said to give you the works.”

Marshall wondered just what that meant.

to be continued

Now go visit the rest of the Briefers!

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