Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Wednesday Briefs: In Pieces #17 (6.1)

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.

A new player has entered the field. Will this be a good thing or a bad? See what's happening in this week's In Pieces. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

In Pieces #17 (6.1)

The speaker was an older man, somewhere around Ryan’s dad’s age, maybe, although he could have passed for a lot younger. His dark hair was thick and wavy, barely touched with a hint of gray, falling just to his shoulders, and his forehead showed just the slightest signs of a thinning hairline. His hazel eyes exuded good humor, while the lines around his full pink lips showed a man who smiled a lot. Like now. The man was very casually dressed in a pair of relaxed jeans that looked well-worn and comfortable, and a T-shirt emblazoned with a picture of the Mona Lisa.

“Hope I didn’t startle you,” he went on, when Ryan didn’t immediately answer, too taken aback by his sudden appearance to string two words together. “Why don’t I start then? My name’s Cameron Pope.” He held his hand out to Ryan.

Of course. Duh. What more normal than the man of the house be in his own home. He reached for the proffered hand, rising at the same time.

“Sorry, Mr. Pope. I’m Ryan Fremont.”

“I had a feeling you might be. And please, call me Cameron. Or Cam. So you’re the writer Ben’s been so anxiously awaiting?” He released Ryan’s hand, his eyes traveling up and down Ryan’s body, as if taking measure. Ryan felt slightly uncomfortable at his scrutiny.

“That’s me,” Ryan admitted. “And you’re Ben’s angel, right? This is your house?”

“That I am,” Cameron replied. “And yes it is. You know, Ben’s got one hell of a group there. I believe Salvation’s going places, and I’m honored to be a part of getting them launched on their journey to fame and fortune.”

Cameron’s voice was a little gravelly, but not unpleasantly so, and he spoke with a soft, unhurried drawl. At the same time, there was something almost electrifying about the man, something that seemed to burst with energy. A man constantly on the go, maybe? Also, considering his apparent wealth, a man accustomed to getting what he wanted? And why did Ryan find that thought somewhat annoying?

“I just heard them for the first time, but I was very blown away by what I heard,” Ryan said. “I think they’re phenomenal. And Ben’s got a beautiful voice. Not only that, but his lyrics… they’re amazing.”

“That they are,” Cameron agreed. “That they are. I was just on my way back to surprise the boys. I’m guessing they’re rehearsing, right? Care to join me?”

“Oh yes, yes, I just came in to get my lap top. I told Ben I’d come right back.” Ben must be wondering what was taking him so long to run a simple errand.

Almost as if on cue, he hear a step on the stairs, heard Ben’s familiar voice floating up to him.
“Ryan, you okay? I wanted to make sure you didn’t get lost or some—”

Ryan could see Ben now. He stood just behind Cameron, in the doorway, clearly surprised at his unexpected appearance. For a split second, Ryan thought he saw something unpleasant flash in Ben’s eyes, something more than the unexpected sight of his backer might elicit. Anger? Jealousy? Or something deeper?

The next second that had passed, and Ben wore a big welcoming smile.

“Cam, didn’t expect to find you back so soon. I see you’ve met Ryan.” As Cameron turned to greet him, Ben managed to slide past him into the room. He quickly took up a position beside Ryan, facing Cameron, and slid his arm around Ryan’s waist. A gesture which was impossible to miss, which Cameron didn’t. A wry smile crossed his lips.

“I just did, Ben, I just did,” Cameron said. “And I have to say, you have great taste in… writers.”

Somehow Ryan knew that wasn’t what he meant. Indignation bubbled in his chest, but he held it in. This was not the time or place. Especially since it was Cameron’s house. And even more especially because he could be totally wrong and reading into things that didn’t exist. Right now, his emotions were too much of a mess for him to remain objective. Time to just shut up and listen.

“Ryan is a very special writer,” Ben said, tightening his grip on Ryan just a little. “He’s perfect for Salvation. You’ll see.”

“I’m sure I will. I was just about to go out back and see what’s going on with you guys. Shall we go?”

“Absolutely,” Ben said. “We can talk about the tour and get some rehearsal in.”

“Sounds like a plan.” Cameron winked. “Meet you two out there, then.” He nodded at them both, before giving a brief two fingered salute, before pivoting. As he headed down the hall to the stairs, Ryan heard him whistling something, but couldn’t place the tune.

He felt Ben heave a deep sigh. He released his hold on Ryan. Taking his hand instead, he looked up at him with his amazingly crystal blue eyes. Ryan had the feeling there was something Ben wanted to say. He held his breath, and waited.

“Let’s just join him, shall we?” was all that Ben said. Their eyes locked for a brief moment, before Ben broke the gaze and they headed toward the stairs.

to be continued

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