Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wednesday Briefs: Don't Look Back #39 (7.6)

Happy Hump Day one and all, and welcome to another edition of the Wednesday Briefs! We bring you flash fiction for your entertainment, stories between 500 and 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts!

In Don't Look Back, we wrap up the Thanksgiving celebration with Marshall and Lee and Roy, and join them as they give thanks for what they have. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what they're up to! Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

Don't Look Back #39 (7.6)

Lee slid a reassuring arm about Marshall’s shoulder. Marshall appreciated that he didn’t try to make light of his fears, or treat him like a child, but as an equal. Neither did he sweep the unpleasant subject under the rug and out of sight. Lee was one who faced things head on and dealt with them.

“Keep looking,” he said to Roy, who nodded. “We don’t even know we have a reason to worry. There’s no reason to think she even saw that video, but we can’t be too careful, either. I’d feel a whole lot more comfortable if we could get that thing pulled off the Internet. Is there a way of finding out who posted it?”

“Probably, but I’m afraid we’ll draw more attention to ourselves if we put up a fuss about it,” Roy replied, “then if we do nothing.”

“Well, one good thing,” Marshall spoke up.

“What’s that?”

“She can’t come to Burnham without sticking out like a sore thumb.”

“Isn’t that the truth,” Roy agreed.

Lee hugged Marshall close before he kissed him, then rose to his feet. “If you’ll excuse me, gentlemen, I need to check on dinner.” He headed toward the back of the house. Marshall rose too.
“Need to start the macaroni and cheese, get it done.”

“I’ll come with,” Roy said amiably, reaching for his bottle. He followed Marshall into the kitchen and watched him start a pot of water to boil.

“Roy, did you ever meet her?” Marshall found he couldn’t seem to not think about her, so gave up the effort.

“No, we never did meet. I kept my distance once I found her. There wasn’t any need. I had an operative who did. Said she was from the school district, checking up on you because you weren’t registered for school.”

“Bet she said I was homeschooled, didn’t she?” Marshall’s voice held more than a little contempt.

“Yep, that she did.” Roy took a long drink of his beer before continuing. “We couldn’t press the point. Afraid we might spook her. Couldn’t take the chance of losing you. Don’t know what Lee would have done if we had. He was… I never saw anyone so intent and so lost at the same time. He was like a man possessed. No way was he going to fail. He never gave up hope of getting you back, and he made me believe too."

“That’s when you became friends, isn’t it?”

Roy nodded. “Yep. Spent a lot of time together, except when he was in Burnham, getting your life ready. See what I mean? He had faith we’d find you and bring you back. He loves you so very much, always has.”

“And I love him that much too,” Marshall said softly. He turned his back to Roy for a moment. He poured salt into the boiling water as he brought his roiling emotions under control then added a box of elbow macaroni. “I knew she was lying when she told her boyfriends he was dead. I don’t know why, but I knew he was out there somewhere, searching for me.” He fell silent and stirred the pasta. Turning to the microwave, he put seven minutes on the kitchen timer, then looked back at Roy.
“Do you ever miss being a PI?”

Roy shook his head. “Not really. I like being sheriff. And I like being here with the two of you. What more could a man ask for?” He winked at Marshall. Marshall couldn’t help but grin.

At that moment, he heard the back door, and then Lee entered the kitchen. His face was flush from bending over the smoker. In one hand he held a fistful of red blossoms. Marshall recognized them instantly. Oxblood lilies. Sarah, from across the street, had brought them the bulbs as a gift, and Marshall had watched her place them in both the front and back yards. She told him they practically planted themselves, and he’d been fascinated by the idea.  Marshall wondered why Lee was carrying them now.

Marshall heard Roy clear his throat. “Gotta see a man about a horse,” he mumbled before he made a hasty exit.

Lee approached Marshall, held the flowers out to him.

“Are those for me?” Marshall asked, surprised.

“Absolutely. Want to put them into something and set them on the table? Thought they’d look nice.”
Marshall had set the kitchen table for the occasion, with their best dishes and silverware, and a tablecloth. “They’re beautiful, thank you.”

Lee leaned toward him, and their lips met in a gentle kiss. Marshall read the message in Lee’s beautiful dark eyes. Don’t worry. I’m here. Always.

Once everything was done, the turkey rested and carved and everything set on the table, the three men took their places. For some people, tradition demanded a grace be said before every meal. While they didn’t follow that particular precept, on Thanksgiving, they had their own custom of giving thanks for what they had.

“Okay, I’ll start,” Roy said, as they looked toward him expectantly. “I’m thankful for my life here in Burnham, for being the sheriff, and for the mostly beautiful weather we have.”Marshall chuckled. “Most of all, I’m thankful for having the two best friends a man could ask for, the best men I know.”

Marshall and Lee raised their beer bottles in acknowledgement of Roy’s heartfelt words, and they each drank to him.

“Okay, I’ll go next,” Lee offered. “I’d like to give thanks for how successful the business is, and for the good life we have here in Burnham. For Roy, who helped me get my heart back and gave me back my life. And Marshall, who is my heart.”

Choked with emotion, Marshall managed to say, “I’d like to give thanks for my life, and for Roy, who’s an awesome friend and an incredible person. And most of all, for Lee, my love, my heart and soul, for always.”

They lifted their bottles in unison. “Happy Thanksgiving.”

to be continued

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