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.
While getting something for the band to nosh on before their concert in Houma, Ryan has a heart-to-heart conversation with Abby. See what they're talking about in this week's In Pieces. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what they've been up to! Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!
In Pieces #41 (10.4)
“You know something, Ryan? If you weren’t already taken, I’d grab you up in a heartbeat.”
Ryan was shocked to hear those words coming from such a beautiful girl. The girls in his life had always tended to look on as a friend, never a love interest. He was momentarily nonplussed, unsure how to react. Abby reached up and patted his cheek lightly.
“But you are. Very much taken. If Brandon turns out not to be the one, I’ll just have to keep looking. At least I know guys like you exist. That gives me hope.”
Recovering his tongue, Ryan said, “You’ll find someone, Abby. Especially with Aiden watching out for you. You guys are lucky to have each other. I always wondered what it would be like to have a brother or sister.”
Abby’s brows arched delicately as she regarded him in surprise. “But you have Ben, right?”
“I was eight when my dad married Ben’s mom, Ben was only five. I’d asked my dad for a puppy, and what I got was Ben.” He gave her a wry smile. “To be honest, when he first came to our house, I didn’t want anything to do with him, and I wasn’t very nice.” He couldn’t help but cringe at the thought of their first meeting, how he’d pushed Ben down and run away in tears. When they’d moved Ben him into his room, he’d thought it was the end of the world. “But there was something about him, something that got to me… We became friends, and we began to grow close. But I never did think of him as a brother. Especially after I f—”
Ryan’s eyes widened as he realized what he’d almost admitted to, his glance falling to the table. Abby raised his chin so he was forced to meet her gaze, and what he saw there was a complete lack of judgment.
“After you fell in love?” she finished his sentence. Ryan could only nod.
“You kept it secret from your father, didn’t you?”
Ryan nodded again. How could she understand him so completely? “I didn’t even tell Ben at first, but I didn’t really have to, in the end.”
“Because he knew, and he felt the same way too.” Abby sighed. “I envy you two so much. What you have… it’s beautiful. It really is. It’s like you complete each other. That’s the kind of love I’d like to have someday.”
They sat in a companionable silence for a few minutes. Maybe this would be a good time to bring up what was on his mind.
“Abby, regarding the book I’m writing….” Ryan began. “Ben wants it to have a bio section on all the members of Salvation…”
Her question threw Ryan for a loop. The thought had never occurred to him. “Well, I’m not a member of the group,” he finally found his tongue. “It’s not my story, it’s all of yours.”
“I beg to differ, but I’ll let that pass for now,” Abby said. “So, you’ll be collecting all our stories over the course of the tour?”
“Yeah, that’s the idea.”
“Let me guess. My brother has given you instructions on what subjects you can and cannot ask me about?” Abby leaned forward in the booth, drumming her fingertips lightly on the surface of the table.
“Well…” Ryan hedged, trying to spin Aiden’s words into something less threatening.
“It’s okay, really. I know how protective he can be, and I love him for it. But I’m not a fragile piece of glass, and I won’t break. Honestly. Yes, there are things I don’t want to see in the book. Things that are no one’s business. Things too painful to talk about… but there are plenty of other things. And I especially want to make sure that people know I’m transgendered, and that lots of people like me exist in this world and lead the same kinds of lives as everyone else. I want people to become so used to the idea of transgender people that they won’t see us as different or warped… just people. You know?”
“Abby, that’s a beautiful thought,” Ryan said truthfully. “People are people no matter what. Some are good, and some are bad. It doesn’t matter what your race is, or your religion, or who you love. I hope I can convey some of that in my book.”
“I’m sure you will, Ryan,” Abby said. He thought she was about to say something else, but at that moment, he heard his name called. They went to the counter and picked up their order before heading back to the club.
to be continued
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