Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Wednesday Briefs: In Pieces #73 (17.6)

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.

Cameron has just dropped a bombshell on Ryan, telling him that Ben's mother, Liza, has been the real financial backer of Salvation all along. So why is she just now coming out of the shadows? Ryan has a good guess, and he doesn't like what he thinks. What will her next move be? Obviously she wants to split up Ryan and Ben. The question is, can she do it? See what's going on in this week's chapter of In Pieces. Then see what the other Briefers have been up to. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

In Pieces #73 (17.6)

And  there it was. The truth behind the façade. The real reason Ben’s mother had come out from the shadows. She didn’t like Ryan being there. Didn’t like what Ryan meant to Ben. The question was—what did she intend to do about it, if anything.

Ryan narrowed his eyes at the so-called angel. What was his stake in this? Why had he gone along with the deception? What was in it for him? Despite Cameron’s flirtatious mannerisms and easy-going charm, Ryan had a good idea just what he was receiving.

“She’s sleeping with you, isn’t she?” he blurted out.

Cameron shrugged, either because the answer didn’t matter or  because he didn’t intend to give one. He reached for Ryan’s hand that lay on the table, took it into his own, and stroked it gently. Ryan was too stunned at his actions to move. “I can help you forget,” Cameron said. “Make everything better. Just because Liza funds the band, and not me, doesn’t mean I don’t have money of my own, because you know I do. I can show a cutie like you a good time, you’ll see.”

Ryan yanked his hand back as if he’d been scalded. What the hell did he mean by all that? Help him forget what? A horrible suspicion began to form in the back of his mind. “I don’t care about your money,” he snapped. “And I barely know you.  Not to mention you know Ben and I are together, and that’s all that matters. Why don’t you tell Liza that I can’t be bought, not by either one of you?”

“Really?” Cameron looked less than impressed by Ryan’s outburst, maintaining his usual cool façade. 
“Liza gave me the impression you were rather hard up, since your writing career tanked. She thinks you’ve latched onto Ben because you can see he’s going places, and you’re trying to take advantage of him.”

Ryan had always thought the idea of someone seeing red when they were angry was exaggerated, but right this moment, he could feel the blood pounding through his veins at Cameron’s words, blurring his vision and overriding his usual common sense. He rose abruptly, knocking his chair down in the process, although the music that blasted from the stage covered the clatter it made. At that moment, Marge returned, a drink in each hand. She glanced between the two of them, probably wondering what she’d walked into.

Cameron seemed quite at home, considering what was going on. Maybe he was used to such scenes. Or maybe he was just used to getting his own way. So what if he had money? And Liza’s patronage? Ryan had Ben, and that’s all that mattered to him.

“You’ll need someplace to go when he dumps you,” Cameron pointed out matter-of-factly. “I have an idea. Let’s go down to South Padre. It’s beautiful this time of year. I’d like to get to know you a lot better. See what Ben’s been enjoying so much—”

The words had barely left Cameron’s lips when Ryan grabbed what was obviously his drink from Marge’s grasp and threw the contents directly onto Cameron.

“That’s what I think of your offer! And hers! Tell her we don’t need her to tell us what to do!”

Cameron slowly rose, dripping Long Island Iced Tea onto the table and floor. “You’re going to lose him,” he said. “You have no idea what you’re dealing with here. Their bond is stronger than you think. She’ll never let him break it.”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about…” Ryan’s heart raced. He didn’t want to know what Cameron meant. Whatever it was, he just knew it couldn’t be good. It didn’t matter what ties held them together before. Ben was all Ryan’s now, and he knew it.

“I think maybe you should find another table,” Marge interceded. “I believe you’ve worn out your welcome here.” Although her words were polite, and she never raised her voice, the look in her eye was dead serious. She looked like someone you didn’t want to fuck with.

“I’ll be around,” Cameron said, conceding the battle, at least for the moment. “You’ll need me, I can wait.” Not waiting for a reply, he spun on his heel and headed off toward the bar.

Breathing heavily, Ryan sank back into his seat. He glanced around, afraid they’d made a spectacle of themselves, maybe drawn Ben’s attention. But no one was paying any attention to them, and the band played on.

“Honey, are you okay?” Marge laid a concerned hand on Ryan’s shoulder.

“Sorry about that,” he apologized. “He just… just rubbed me the wrong way. That’s all.”

“Don’t let him get to you, hon.” She squeezed his shoulder, then set her drink on the table and slid back into her chair. “Do you think he’s up to something with Ben’s mother?”

“I’m pretty sure he is, yeah.” God, he needed Ben. Needed to hear his voice, feel his arms wrap around him. He needed the warmth and comfort of his presence. To know everything was all right, everything was good.

But in the pit of his stomach, a growing feeling told him that wasn’t the case. Somehow he knew the worst was yet to come.

to be continued

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