Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Wednesday Briefs: In Pieces #75 (18.2)

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.

The truth has come out about Liza and Ben... and what she did to him... and Ben has fled the scene. Ryan is beside himself. He only wants Ben back. What is he going to do? See what's going on in this week's chapter of 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 #75 (18.2)

What was he going to do? Where was Ben going? Was he even okay to be driving, as upset as he was? Horrible images flashed through Ryan’s mind. Car crashes, flames… all too horrible to contemplate. Not like he could chase after him either, not without a car.

Wait! He had his phone, right? He could call Ben, try to get him to calm down and come back to him. Assuming he wasn’t too late…

No, no, stop thinking that way. He yanked his phone from his pocket, found Ben’s number and called, counting the rings. C’mon, c’mon, pick up please.  But after a few rings, his call went to voice mail. Ryan hung up and called back, with the same result.

A searing pain knifed through Ryan’s heart. He didn’t care about what Liza had said, monstrous as it was. If she was telling the truth—and he couldn’t be sure of that, although that would be a terrible admission to make if untrue, but would explain Ben’s reaction—even so, it wouldn’t have been Ben’s fault. Ben was not to blame here. He had to make him see that he loved him, no matter what. But how to find him? They were in a strange city, in the middle of the night. Where to even start?

What to do, what to do, what to do? Sitting inside the hotel room doing nothing was driving him crazy. He patted his pocket to make sure the key card was still there, slid his phone into the other pocket and left the motel room.

The night was pitch black, not a star to be seen, the moon either. The band’s van sat beneath a light standard, the spot beside it empty where Cameron’s sedan had been parked. He spotted Marge’s car not far from the van. For a moment, he thought of asking to borrow it, but then decided he wouldn’t bother her, not when she was probably asleep.

 Even at this late hour, Ryan could hear the faint sounds of traffic nearby. Most of the motel rooms seemed to be dark, though, not surprisingly. Ryan began to pace back and forth, trying to figure out what to do. Finding Ben was imperative, but he couldn’t just call an Uber—assuming he could get one at this hour—and ask to be driven around without a set destination.

Lost in thought, Ryan jumped when he felt a hand touch his shoulder. His heart leapt at the idea that Ben had returned, even if he hadn’t heard or seen the car. But when he whirled around, it was Aiden’s familiar face that met his eyes.

“Ryan, what are you doing out here?” Aiden asked. “You guys aren’t fighting, are you?”

Fighting? Hardly. Ryan fought back a sob, but it was a losing proposition. “Oh god, I wish it was just that.” He began to shake, afraid he was going to lose it right here, right now. Luckily, Aiden was too self-possessed and in control to let that happen.

“Tell me what’s wrong,” he said, pulling Ryan into his arms to calm him. Ryan managed to get out the story as he attempted to pull himself together.

Aiden listened without making any comment until Ryan was done. “Let’s go down to my room,” he suggested.

“What about Abby? Isn’t she asleep?” Ryan didn’t want to disturb her, but Aiden shook his head.

“No, we had an unexpected visitor. That’s why I was hanging around outside, keeping watch in case he returned, but then I saw you and I wondered what was up.”

An unexpected visitor? “Cameron?” Ryan hazarded a guess.

“You know it. That man doesn’t know when to quit.”

Wasn’t that the truth?

The twins’ room was only a few doors down from Ben and Ryan’s. When they reached the door, Aiden knocked in what was probably a pre-arranged pattern, then used his card to let them in. Abby was awake, dressed in a robe and nightgown, sitting on her bed. She was surprised to see Ryan with her brother.

“Don’t tell me Cameron’s haunting you too?” She peered behind them. “Where’s Ben? Asleep?”

Aiden gave Ryan a quick hug and told him to sit beside Abby. She looked between the two men then put an arm around Ryan, almost intuitively, as Aiden caught her up on what had happened. At least as much as Ryan had told him. He’d left out the part about Ben having been in his mother’s bed.

“That bitch!” Abby cried angrily. “I knew she was trouble back then. I knew there was something wrong with her. I was just happy when Ben wanted to start a new band. Without her.”

“Yeah, I know,” Aiden agreed. Ryan noticed Aiden didn’t meet his eyes, and it struck him that maybe he already knew, or suspected, but didn’t want to say anything. More and more, it seemed as though Liza was telling the truth about her and Ben, and the knowledge sickened him. No wonder Ben had avoided her, and no wonder he was desperately trying to keep Ryan from learning what had happened. He had to find him, let him know it didn’t matter, he still loved Ben, and he didn’t blame him for anything.

“We have to find him,” Ryan said. “I… I don’t know what he might do, as upset as he is.”

“You’re right, we have to find him. As soon as possible,” Aiden agreed.

“But how? He’s got the car,” Ryan pointed out.

“We have the van,” Abby said.

“Do you have the keys?” Ryan asked.

“No, but I can text Deacon. He won’t mind.”

Ryan started to protest but he realized Aiden was probably right. Deacon and Keanu would want to know. The important thing right now was to find Ben… as quickly as possible.

to be continued

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