Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Wednesday Briefs: In Pieces #39 (10.2)

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.

Today, we return to In Pieces, after my tribute to Aaron Burr last week. Ryan and Ben are pretty happy and looking forward to Salvation's next gig at an underground club in Houma. Catch up with them in this week's chapter. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

In Pieces #39 (10.2)

“What’s on the schedule for tonight?” Ryan asked Ben as they crossed the back lawn, hand in hand.

“We’re playing at a place they call The Dive,” Ben replied. “It’s an underground club in Houma, about an hour and half from here Sorry, we’ll have to go across the bridge again. That’s the fastest way there.” He glanced at Ryan, offering him an apologetic smile that was also filled with concern.

“No worries. It’s not scary at all when I have you beside me,” Ryan said sincerely. He stopped moving and gave Ben a kiss of reassurance. “Besides, it’s time I got over that. I’m not a kid anymore. I’ll be thirty in less than two years.” Sometimes he found it hard to believe he was actually that old, he didn’t feel any different then when he was in high school.  But at other times he felt older, like time was slipping by him too quickly. At least he felt that way until he found Ben.

“Yeah, but fears are fears,” Ben countered. “You can’t always make them go away by wishing. “ He returned Ryan’s kiss with one of his own. “I’ll always be there for you, just remember that.”

“I will,” Ryan promised. “Same goes for you. There’s nothing you can’t tell me, nothing I wouldn’t do for you.” As he squeezed Ben’s hand, he thought he saw a shadow cross Ben’s face. Ben mumbled something he couldn’t quite make out, but Ryan thought he heard him say it wasn’t as easy as that.

“What did you say, Ben?” Ryan asked.

“I just said I love you very much,” Ben replied. “I hope you don’t get tired of hearing that. If you do, just let me know.” His last words were spoken in a light-hearted tone, but Ryan sensed something darker beneath. They’d reached the one-time storage building now. Ryan could hear voices from inside. He started to ask Ben to wait a minute so he could frame his next question, but Ben reached for the door handle before he could get it out.

“Once more into the fray,” Ben said. “Shall we?” Not waiting for an answer, he pushed open the door and they entered the dimly lit interior. The moment had passed. Ryan was pretty sure Ben wasn’t being entirely honest, but he didn’t feel the need to argue the point. He wasn’t big on confrontation. Why spoil a good thing? If that made him a coward, then so be it. He was probably making a mountain out of a molehill anyway.

The practice went well, including the changes in the light show that Keanu proudly showed off and which met with everyone’s satisfaction. Several hours later they headed out to Houma. The Dive was situated in an industrial-looking area which seemed rather desolate, surrounded as it was by boarded-up buildings whose walls were drenched in colorful graffiti—from stylized art to pornographic ditties—as well as small houses  crammed together  in an uncomfortable intimacy that had obviously seen better days.

“There’s better parts of town,” Ben said. “Beautiful mansions, the whole nine yards. But this works for them, I guess. Road less traveled means the people who do show up are supposed to be here. Hopefully to see us.”

That made sense if your intention was to keep out the more mainstream people. Some of them could be somewhat judgmental when it came to people and things they didn’t understand. The idea of church metal itself was innovative and different, so Ryan realized it was open to be misunderstood. Salvation would probably be considered by some to be a fringe music group, while other people might downright hate them for what they thought the band represented. Didn’t mean Salvation couldn’t catch fire and make it big. Ryan believed in them. He knew they’d succeed. How could they not, with Ben to lead them?

 Deacon and Keanu arrived at the same time as they did and backed the van up as close to the building as they could get. Ryan was prepared to help them schlep the equipment in, but Ben caught his arm before he could grab anything. Apparently he had something else in mind.

“I was just thinking,” he said. “There’s a Cajun restaurant not too far from here. I read about it on the Internet.  Menu looks great, and the reviews are pretty stellar. Since we didn’t yet, I thought we should something a little better than bar food before we go on. Would you mind going there and picking up some dinner? Take Abby with you, why don’t you? We have plenty of time before the show. I’d say let’s go and eat there rather than do the carry-out thing, but I’m afraid I’d be tempted to stay too long, sampling the menu and the drinks.” Ben laughed.

“That’s a great idea.” Ryan liked Abby. He didn’t mind the idea of spending time with her. This could be his chance to get something from her for the book.  And nothing about the taboo topics Aiden had warned him about—California, becoming transgender… or family. Didn’t mean she couldn’t bring it up herself, though, did it? Maybe she’d be more open than her twin gave her credit for. That would be up to her, naturally.

He turned toward Abby, who stood beside her brother. She made a very beautiful nun, he thought. If he were into women, he could see himself being attracted to her. Maybe that was messed up, though. Nuns weren’t supposed to be looked on a sexual beings, were they? Didn’t matter. He wasn’t drawn to women, and that was that. In fact, there was only one person who held any allure for him, and that was Ben. End of story.

“Do you mind coming with me, Abby?” he asked, not wanting to assume.

“Not at all. Let’s pull up the menu and see what everyone wants.”

“Thanks, baby.”When Ben kissed Ryan’s cheek, he couldn’t help but smile.

to be continued

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