Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Wednesday Briefs: Super Trooper #52 (12.3)

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. 

Evan is beginning to doubt himself and his relationship with Chan's siblings. Maybe he isn't what they need. Maybe he's doing things all wrong. See what's happening in this week's chapter of Super Trooper. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

Super Trooper #52 (12.3)

Evan sat lost in thought in the station break room. His pad of tickets lay open on the table before him as well as a cup of coffee. He’d been asked to trade shifts for tonight and had readily agreed. Not only would he be helping a fellow trooper, but he couldn’t help but think in the back of his mind that maybe the others would like a night without him being there.

Not Chan, of course, he hastily told himself. He meant the children. But that thought felt disloyal as well.  As did his relief at not being there. And that only made him feel guilty on top of everything else.

Maybe he’d been too harsh with Kamal the night before. He tried to make allowances for the boy. He’d been through a lot recently. He was still very young. And just maybe he didn’t realize how much words could hurt.

On the other hand, Evan knew he meant what he said when he reminded him that Chan was his brother, not Evan. Evan knew he wasn’t their brother, but it wasn’t like he was a passing stranger either. He had a place in their lives now, whether they liked it or not. Whether they cared to admit it or not.

Evan had called Chan earlier, just to see how things were going. And what Chan had said was disturbing. At least, to him it was. Apparently he’d taken all of them out to dinner. As though what happened yesterday didn’t matter. As if his feelings were of no consequence.

Stop thinking that way, you’re a grown man. Suck it up.

Maybe they would just be better off without him…

The sound of a throat clearing drew him from his reveries. He glanced up to find Christina standing in the doorway.

“I was going to offer you a penny for your thoughts but I didn’t want to startle you,” she said as she entered the room and took a seat beside him. “You okay?”

Evan automatically responded with his standard line of “I’m fine.” He couldn’t help but notice that Christina had changed out of her uniform and into a pretty blue dress that fell just below her knees. She’d draped a lacy white shawl around her shoulders. He could detect the faintest hint of floral scent around her. It didn’t require much detective work to guess where she was going, and with whom.

The look she gave him told him he was wasting his time trying to fool her. She knew him too well for that.

“Just dealing with things,” he amended. “Trying to, anyway.” He wasn’t being deliberately vague. He appreciated her concern, but he found it hard to explain something he didn’t completely understand himself. “So, you and Nate going out tonight?”

If he’d hoped to deflect her with tactic, her next words told him she wouldn’t be so easily sidetracked.

“We are, yes.” She reached across the table and took his hand in hers. He could see concern in her pretty brown eyes. “I know there’s a lot going on, with you and Chan and his family. You’ve all been through so much. It must be so hard to lose your parents like that, especially at such a young age.”

Evan nodded, not trusting his voice, and unsure what to say.

“It must be especially hard for you guys. I mean, you haven’t been going out very long, or living together very long. And suddenly you have a family to take care of. I’m sure that wasn’t what you planned, was it?”

“No, I can’t say it was,” Evan admitted. “But that’s not the point. It’s happened. I need to deal with it.”

We need to deal with it,” he corrected himself. But even to himself, he sounded weak. Like he was trying to avoid blame, which wasn’t the case at all.

Was it?

“Children are very resilient, you know,” Christina said, her expression serious as she held his gaze. “And they can also be very cruel. They haven’t learned not to say exactly what they’re thinking at all times, like adults have. They just say what comes to mind and never mind the consequences.”

A moment of silence passed between them as Evan gathered his thoughts. “I appreciate honesty,” he said at last. “I’m just not sure if they like me at all. Like maybe they think I don’t belong there. I’m an outsider, when they just want Chan, and I’m in the way.”

Damn, he hadn’t even said these things to Chan. How did Christina manage to get him to talk to her so candidly?

“Give them time,” she said as she gently patted his hand. “Don’t give up on them. They just don’t know you yet and they’re used to having Chan’s undivided attention, am I right?”

“I guess so.” Evan knew she was right about that. Chan had told him he hadn’t brought anyone to his parents’ house before Evan, so his siblings had never had to deal with his romantic life before. And on top of that, their parents just died. He needed to learn more compassion.

So why did he suddenly feel so out of place?

 to be continued

Now go see what's up with the other Briefers!

 Cia Nordwell

J Alan Veerkamp

Carol Pedroso





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