Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Wednesday Briefs: In Pieces #5(2.3)

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.

Ryan is in New Orleans to meet the band who has hired him to chronicle their first tour, Salvation. He thinks this may be his last chance to make something of his writing. He is met at the airport by twins, Aiden and Abby. But all is not as it seems and Ryan may be in for a big surprise. Find out what's up in this week's chapter of In Pieces. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what they're up to. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

In Pieces #5 (2.3)

“These all the same?” Abby gave her brother a questioning look as she reached for the drinks. Aiden nodded .  She set one of the mugs in front of Ryan, while Aiden distributed everything else.

“Three salted caramel macchiato,” he said. “And three authentic New Orleans beignets. I was looking at the menu, wondering what would be the ultimate New Orleans experience and I almost decided to get the chicory, but the girl who was waiting on me said it’s kind of bitter, and something of an acquired taste, especially if you’re not used to it, so I thought we could try these instead?” Pausing to take a breath at last, he looked to his sister, as if seeking her approval. She nodded and he smiled.

This one’s a talker, Ryan made a mental note.

Normally, Ryan took his coffee black, but under the circumstances he wasn’t about to complain. He could make the most of any situation, if he had to.  “Thank you,” he said, not wanting to appear ungrateful, before adding, “I take it the two of  you aren’t from around here?”

“Nope, strictly tourists.”  Aiden dropped the empty tray onto a nearby table then flopped into the chair beside Abby. Side by side, Ryan could appreciate their resemblance even more. They both possessed the same high cheekbones, the same porcelain skin that only served to bring out the utter blueness of their eyes. Masculine and feminine—these twins blurred conventional gender lines in a way that Ryan found to be breathtaking.  He forced himself to look away from them, reminding himself that staring might be considered rude.

“We’ve always wanted to see the city, just never had the chance,” Abby said. “We got lucky that Salvation’s starting their tour in Louisiana. We’re using New Orleans as our base of operations when we can.” N’awlins rolled off her tongue as though she were a native.

“You mean that house you were talking about?” Ryan asked. “The one that belongs to one of your fans?” Lifting his macchiano gingerly, he took a cautious sip. The creamy froth on top was criss-crossed with caramel lines and glistening sea salt. What he really wanted lay somewhere below that. He had to tilt the glass to reach the coffee beneath, let it run down his throat in a warm cascade.  The taste was better than he’d expected. Just sweet enough without being too sweet.

“Cameron’s house, yeah. We’ll  still probably end up in a motel or two along the way, for some of the farther out gigs. It’ll be fun.”

Ryan wondered what Aiden’s definition of fun was. In his experience, most motels had little to offer in the way of entertainment, and were often definitely short on the amenities .  As he listened to the siblings, it belatedly occurred to him he’d never thought to ask for a copy of the band’s itinerary. Knowing where they were going might be important information to have. He’d promised Cassie he would keep in touch with her. Postcards would be a way of showing her something of the places he was getting to see as well as letting her know he hadn’t forgotten her. Assuming he had time for any sightseeing. Guess he’d find out what the band did in their leisure time, then decide if he wanted to follow suit or not.

“So where do you come from?” Ryan asked. “If you don’t mind my asking, I mean. I’m not trying to be nosy or anything—”

“Just doing your job,” Abby finished for him. “We understand, don’t worry. That’s what you’re here to do, we get it. If there’s anything we don’t want to talk about, trust me, we won’t. So feel free to ask away. Aiden and I come from sunny California. ”

Good to know.

Ryan remembered Abby’s hint about a notebook. He’d brought one with him, his fallback position for times when he might not want to use his laptop, although he’d brought that too. Never leave home without it was his motto. Although nothing could compete with the sheer simplicity of pen and paper. His handwriting skills, however, left something to be desired, and had atrophied to the point where Cassie claimed it resembled chicken scratch. Luckily, he could still decipher it himself.

Why hadn’t he brought it on the plane with him, instead of stuffing it into his luggage? He hadn’t anticipated needed it before he had a chance to unpack. This was all so new to him. For the hundredth time, he wondered why him. What made him the right man for this job? Surely not the novels that had barely seen the light of day and received mixed reviews at best?

Digging into his suitcase here and now was probably not a good idea. He’d have to trust to his memory, at least for now. He patted one pocket of his jacket. Nope, didn’t even have a pen. What kind of writer was he?

The unsuccessful kind.   
“California,” he repeated, realizing belatedly he was becoming lost in his own head…again. He was almost afraid to meet the twins’ eyes, afraid he’d already made a bad impression. But when he lifted his gaze, he found they weren’t looking at him, but at something behind him.

“Didn’t expect to see you here,” Aiden was saying, while Abby took a bite of beignet and said nothing. “How’d you get here? Cameron?”

Who was here? Another member of the band? Ryan turned toward the newcomer. The light from  the concourse momentarily blinded him. All he could make out was a silhouette.

“No, I took a cab. I decided I just couldn’t wait any longer, so here I am.”

That voice. So familiar and yet so strange.

As Ryan’s eyes adjusted, the man’s features came into focus.  Crystal blue eyes of infinite depth.

Ryan’s own eyes grew wide in shock.

Could it be…. Was this… But how….

“Ben?” he asked in shocked disbelief just before the world began to fade.

to be continued

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