Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Wednesday Briefs: In Pieces #66 (16.3)

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 learns some disturbing information from Marge, while interviewing her for the book about Salvation, concerning the band's former manager. There are things that don't make sense to him. See what's going on in this week's chapter of 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 #66 (16.3)

Ben’s mother was once Salvation’s manager? Ryan couldn’t even begin to wrap his head around that idea. It had never occurred to him that Liza might ever have had anything to do with the band. Did that have anything to do with why Ben never talked about her?  Did they argue about the band, or Ben’s career, or something else? Questions crowded his mind, even as an unpleasant sensation surged through him at the thought of his one-time stepmother. He tamped it down, unwilling to spoil such a perfect day.

He reached for his bottle of water, hoping Marge wouldn’t notice he’d become momentarily unnerved. No use in asking anything else in that vein since Marge had obviously never met Ben’s mother. Those questions belonged to Ben… should he decide to actually ask them. Which was not likely. After all, what came before Salvation was past history, nothing that needed to be brought up again. No need to stir up unpleasant memories, or take a chance on causing Ben pain.

“So, had you ever heard of church metal before you became their manager?” He deftly changed the subject.

“Oh hell no.” Marge’s laugh was deep and warm and comfortable, wrapping around him like a security blanket. “I’ve heard lots of bands in my time, honey, and I know most every type of music there is, but that was a new one on me. Got me interested in them even more, you know?”

“I can imagine.” Ryan nodded.

“They have a new sound, but it’s also old, if you know what I mean. Kinda timeless. Like it sometimes reminds me of being in church, but it’s more than that.”

“I think I know what you mean.” Ryan glanced up from his keyboard. “Kind of classical but modern too. Like when you’re listening, everything sort of resonates, and their sound fills you, almost like a religious experience.”

“And that’s why you’re the writer,” Marge said. “Because you have the words I don’t. Couldn’t have said it better myself.”

Ryan felt his face go warm at her compliment. “Thanks, Marge, I appreciate that.”

Once she was started, Marge didn’t need prompting to keep talking. She discussed Salvation as a band—their hopes and dreams, her plans for propelling them to stardom, including their recently released self-titled CD. She gave him her observations on each of the members of the group, which were all pretty good. Ryan could see how much she loved them, as if they were her children. There didn’t seem to be anything she wouldn’t do for them. And she totally believed in them, in their ability to make it big in the music industry. Coming from Marge, that was impressive, as she’d been in the business for a long time and had seen a lot of groups come and go. She confided to him that of all the bands she’d managed, Salvation was her favorite.

Ryan’s fingers flew over the keyboard as he dutifully recorded everything she said. Even so, now and then he found his attention would stray to the pool, although he never stopped typing or listening. Ben hadn’t moved from where he’d last seen him, still in conversation with Aiden and Abby. He looked so comfortable and at ease with them, which made Ryan smile. At that moment, Ben cocked his head, his glance falling directly on Ryan, and he flashed him his megawatt smile. The one that caused Ryan’s heart to race as if it had just received a jolt of adrenaline. When Ben blew him a kiss through the air, Ryan melted inside.

A rumble of thunder diverted Ryan’s attention to the sky. When had it started to grow dark, and where had those clouds come from? Looked like Abby had been right with her warnings. They should probably get inside before the deluge.

He turned his head in time to see Marge rise from her chair. “Looks like we’re about to get rained on,” she said. “You might want to put that up”—she waved a hand at his laptop—“before it gets wet. I’ll see you guys at the club tonight.”

“See you later, Marge.” Ryan hastily saved what he’d just written and shut down his laptop. Might as well charge it when they went back to their room. Ben should probably rest before tonight’s performance, too. He wasn’t sure how long they’d be playing. Some of these clubs were open well into the wee hours of the night.

He zipped his laptop into its case, picked up their towels, then headed toward the pool. Some of the other swimmers seemed to have the same idea as Marge, hastily exiting the pool, Ben and Aiden and Abby among them.

He bundled one of the towels about Ben’s shoulders, fussing over him like a mother hen. “Let’s get you inside and dry you off,” he said. “I don’t want you to catch cold or anything.”

“Yes, dear,” Ben said almost meekly, which produced a titter from Aiden. Abby thwacked him in the back of his head, but Ryan didn’t mind their banter. He knew it was well-meaning.

“We’ll text you later,” Ben said. Ryan couldn’t help but notice the twins’ knowing smiles as he and Ben headed to their room.

to be continued'

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