July 31, 2020

Your Update Link: Desperate Measures, Part 14

Back into a normal schedule for our flash fiction! Today is a big day for me as I’m filming a bunch of stuff for the YouTube channel to be posted over the next week, so I’m going to keep this short and sweet. Plus — you guys are getting the monthly Site & Story status video and post which will go up either at midnight tonight or sometime tomorrow depending on my editing schedule and writing.

This entry is part 14 of 20 in the series Flash Fiction: Desperate Measures

Written in 20 minutes. No type for typos.


Spinelli took a step back from Sam, trying very hard not to look more worried than he actually was. So what if Sam had killed Franco? Franco had needed killing, and Jason had been trying for nearly a decade — but there was something in the look in her eyes that made Spinelli very uncomfortable.

“Uh, okay, well, then I’m glad I know—” Spinelli flashed her a smile he hoped looked casual. “I’ll just be—” He jerked a thumb over his shoulder. “I’ll just be going.”

Sam narrowed her eyes, walked towards him. “Going where?”

“Uh.” Spinelli pursed his lips. “To Portland. To, uh, Ellie and Georgie. My family. They need me, and I’m really getting too old for this crap—”

Sam folded her arms. “You know I did the right thing. Elizabeth will go to jail like she should have for what she did to me, and Jason will get Jake. That’s the right thing. Then Jason and I can pretend none of this ever happened.”

“That sounds like a plan,” Spinelli said slowly, though he wasn’t entirely sure that Elizabeth’s sins against Sam warranted such a drastic revenge considering Elizabeth had largely let Sam get away with all her shenanigans.

Either way, Spinelli very much wanted to make sure that he didn’t give Sam a reason to think that he did not agree with her. Because if he could just…get out of here, he could tell someone who could fix this.

Because this was not a Sam that he knew how to reason with.

“You agree that she deserves it for lying about Jason, don’t you?” Sam demanded. “For trying to steal him from me again?”

Not the time to mention that Elizabeth had actually been lying about Drew — Spinelli just nodded. “Uh, yeah. I mean, we were all mad about it, right? So…this is fair.”

Sam stepped away from the door, studied him for a long moment, then shook her head. “I don’t believe you.”

“Uh, listen—”

She walked over to the nightstand and Spinelli tried to inch towards the door. No quick movements, no fast talking — he slid his phone out of his pocket, behind his back, navigated to his emergency contact lists and hit a random number, hoping it would be Jason because, man, Ellie would not know how to deal with any of this crap in Portland—

“I need to make sure no one knows it was me,” Sam said as she turned back to him, a gun in her hand. Aimed at him.

Damn it.

“I can’t just sit here and wait for Spinelli to find something,” Cam said as he got off the sofa and started to pace. “He’s not returning calls—his phone tracker is off—”

Elizabeth pressed her hand to her eyes. She just wanted to go back to the world she’d gone to sleep in — with nothing more than regrets about a bad boyfriend in her thoughts — not this elaborate revenge plot that had put her boys in the middle of it, shoved her past with Sam into the forefront—

She was exhausted by life right now, and the fact that any hope rested on one Damien Spinelli did not give her any optimism.

There was a sharp knock at the door. Diane frowned at it, walked over to it, and opened it, narrowing her eyes at Chase.

“I’m not happy about this either,” the beleaguered cop snapped.

“You’re not taking my son—” Elizabeth stepped in front of Cameron.

“Cameron?” Drew said, looking back and forth between the cop and Cameron whose face had paled. “Why the hell—”

“I’m here because we got DNA results back for blood under Franco’s nails,” Chase told them. He looked at Elizabeth. “It’s a match. For you.”

“For me?” Elizabeth shook her head, looked at her hands, at her arms— “I don’t have any scratches on me—”

“Circumstantial,” Diane sniffed. “They used to be in relationship—”

“No,” Elizabeth snapped at the redhead who scowled at her. “You’re not going to explain this away by suggesting I scratched him during sex. We broke up a month ago. I am not going to lie and say anything differently—” Her throat closed, her stomach pitched.

“Mom—” Cameron put a hand on her shoulder as Jason and Drew both started towards her. The teenager halted them both with a hot look. “Mom, he was trying to hurt you last night. Is it—” He cleared his throat as she looked at him blindly. “We know you didn’t kill him. But maybe—before I got there—it was worse than you thought—”

“Cameron,” Diane hissed. “Don’t—”

“Shut up!” Cameron threw at her. “My mom didn’t kill him! I didn’t kill him! I’m tired of all of this—tired of being protected—I’m not a kid anymore!”

“He didn’t,” Elizabeth managed. She squeezed her eyes. “He didn’t—” She exhaled slowly. “He tried—but he didn’t.”

“If I could?” Chase suggested with a mixture of irritation and discomfort. “I didn’t see any evidence of injuries last night that would have drawn blood the way you’d need to in order get these results.” He hesitated. “We found a pool of blood in the living room. The results aren’t back, but it looks smeared.”

“Someone dragged his hands through her blood?” Drew made a face. “Christ.”

“It’s time to stop protecting each other, Mom.” Cameron found his mother’s eyes. “We were victims. And if Chase thinks someone else was there, we should tell him who it might be.”

Chase lifted his brows. “We’re still working the scene. We might find more evidence to support a third party, but yeah, I’m thinking someone else had to be there. No other way to explain the timeline. Who was it?”

Drew exchanged an uncomfortable look with Jason, started to open his mouth, but his brother got there first.

“We think it was Sam.”

Before Chase could process that, Jason’s phone rang. “It’s Spinelli—” He answered it, putting it on speaker. “Spinelli—”

“Hey—listen, put away the gun, and we’ll talk about it—” Spinelli’s tinned voice echoed in the silence.

“No! There’s no talking!” The shriek was unmistakeable. Then a gunshot rang out over line, and they heard a phone hit the ground.

“What—” Sam’s voice was closer as she came towards the phone. “Is—did you try to call Jason—damn it—” Then the phone clicked off.

July 30, 2020

Your Update Link: Darkest Before the Dawn, Part 9

I’m excited to get back into my Flash Fiction routine! I had truly meant to update at 10 AM this morning and I was all ready, but, heh, I made the mistake of texting mom and asking her to call me when she was up beause I had a question and was too lazy to text. She called me at 9:15 AM, and well, if you know my mom, you understand why I didn’t start the timer until 10:30 AM. ANYWAY.

I’m feeling way more like myself — last was night was the best night of sleep I’ve had in over a week, and I can’t wait to spend most of the afternoon writing Mad World. I’m going to miss my August 3 deadline for the first draft, but that’s okay — it doesn’t change my Oct 6 release at all and Patreons are still getting the first 532 pages on August 1 & 2 so we’re all working out. I was working on the final chapters yesterday, realized I needed one more chapter and decided that I could either just add it or now or add it in revisions. Either way – I’d have to spend time with it so better to get it out of the way now.

I’m also working my way through an initial round of brainstorming for the Everlasting Love revisions, and I hope you guys are okay if I make big changes — the main storyline will still be the same in the sense that Liason are childhood sweethearts reunited after misunderstandings and stolen letters with Ric as the bad guy — but other elements are going to change. That’s one of the beauties of a first draft — you can find the pieces that work and chuck what doesn’t.

This entry is part 9 of 16 in the series Flash Fiction: Darkest Before the Dawn

Written in 20 minutes. No time for rereads or typos.


Elizabeth handed Patrick a chart with a wrinkle of her nose as she watched one the nursing students drop a huge stack of charts by the vending machine. “I’m trying to remember if I was that bad when I started.”

Patrick frowned, followed her eyes, then shrugged as he looked back at the computer. “Probably. You’re not much better now.”

She narrowed her eyes, then whacked his arm. “You’re a jackass.”

“It comes naturally.” Patrick scowled at the chart in his hand. “Did you take handwriting class from Satan or something? I can’t read this—”

“You’re just getting old,” she muttered, snatching it back from him and read out the medication dosage. “Why are you in such a cranky mood today?”

“Because the world is stupid and I’m tired of it—” Patrick exhaled sharply. “I went downstairs this morning.”

“Downstairs—” She sighed. “To the lab?”

“Yeah. I haven’t been down there in months, and I wanted to avoid it—I usually do. That’s why that weird lab tech is always up here.” Patrick gestured at Brad who had just left the elevator. “They gave her station to him.”

Elizabeth looked at Brad, who looked at her at the same time. His eyes got wide and he immediately turned and sprinted away. She squinted. “He keeps running from me,” she murmured.

“Who does?” her brother asked as he walked up to the hub, set down one chart and picked out another from the tray. “What’s wrong?”

“Brad Cooper, the weird lab tech,” Elizabeth said. She looked at Patrick. “I mean, isn’t he always running from me? What did I ever do to him?”

“Maybe he was running from me,” Patrick said. “I was a little…irritated when I saw he’d moved into Robin’s station.”

Steven hesitated. “I should have warned you, man—”

“No, it’s fine—”

“I don’t think it’s you,” Elizabeth insisted. “He’s been weird around me for, like, months.” She wiggled her shoulders. “Since the water thing—” Then her pen dropped from her fingers.

She could almost pinpoint the day his strange behavior had begun—the day he’d delivered those test results to her.

Sam’s test results.

“Well, maybe that’s it,” Steven suggested. “Everyone’s been a little weird since then—” He tipped his head to the side. “You okay, Bits? You look weird.”

“Oh.” Elizabeth blinked a few times, then focused on her brother. “I’m, uh, fine. I was just, um, thinking about Thanksgiving. You said Mom and Dad are going to Sarah’s this year. Are you coming to the house? Patrick and Emma are coming.”

“That depends,” Steven told her with a lift of his brows. “Is Jason going to be there?”

Elizabeth pursed her lips. “You mean one of my best friends and whom I’m currently dating? Yes. He will be there. You’re not going to do this again, are you? I didn’t want to hear it on my birthday, I don’t want it now—”

“Well, you love to make the same mistakes over and over again, it’s not my fault that I means I have to—” Steven scowled, looked at Patrick. “Come on, man. You were around for her first round with him. Can’t you talk sense into her?”

“He is not in charge of me—”

“Uh, point of correction—” Patrick put up his finger. “None of us were around for that first round. No one knew it was happening.”

“That—” Elizabeth glared at him. “One, that’s not the point. And Two, not helping!”

“Also,” Patrick continued, giving Elizabeth an eye roll before looking at Steven. “You weren’t around for any of that either. You wanted her to give Lucky another chance which really made me want to punch you.”

“That—” Elizabeth stabbed a finger at her brother. “That is an excellent point!”

“Fine. You be an idiot. I’ll talk to Liv and see if she wants to come, but I think we might be invited to Dante and Lulu’s—”

“Son of a criminal by the way!” Elizabeth called as her brother walked away. “Honestly,” she muttered. She saw Brad step on the elevator. “Hey, Brad!”

He looked at her, and almost in a cartoon manner, started pressing the button faster. Elizabeth scowled, and started over to him — but he was able to get on the elevator before she could reach him.

“Sorry! Send an email!” Brad said as the doors closed.

“This is…not good,” Elizabeeth decided as Patrick stepped up behind her. “I told you it’s me he’s avoiding.”

“Yeah, but why?”

“I—” she sighed. “I have a bad feeling I know why, but I need to check something out first.”

“All right, but if you get arrested, make sure to give me a heads up in case you need bail,” Patrick sighed as they returned to the hub.

——

That night, Jason came over for dinner as he did most nights now, and after Cameron had finished his math homework (with a lot of grumbling and complaining), he decided this was a good time to teach Jason how to play video games.

“Okay, so you press this button—” Cameron said, pointing at something on the controller. “Then this one—”

“Uh huh,” Jason said, looking at it skeptically. “I’m going to be bad at this,” he warned.

“That’s okay.” Cameron pressed play, and sat next to him. “I like to win, anyway. Why do you think I want you to play me? Patrick and Uncle Steven always kick my butt.”

Elizabeth ignored them, reaching for her phone when it lit up with a message.

Happy to help! What do you need?

She bit her lip, looked at her son and Jason playing video games as Aiden cackled in the background—because it turned out Jason wasn’t too bad at the game after all and had already beaten Cameron in the first round of Mario Kart.

She should leave this alone. She’d done what she was supposed to do and had no reason to believe the results had been faked.

But then Elizabeth sighed. She’d never be able to live with herself if she didn’t find out for sure.

Can you get into test results at the hospital?

A few minutes later, Spinelli replied. Yeah, but why?

Because I think someone lied to me, and we need to fix this.

July 29, 2020

Your Update Link: An Everlasting Love – Part 16

The first of my flash fiction series is wrapped up. While I enjoyed writing it, I definitely think it was the weakest of the four I launched — primarily because it’s a historical piece set in a time period that I’m not super familiar with and the story changed a lot as I wrote it.  That’s definitely something I’ll be fleshing out  and correcting when it goes into revisions. I should know next week how long it will take me to rework it and have a tentative publication date.

As for the Flash Fiction schedule, we’re shifting into a six day a week schedule –

Mondays & ThursdaysDarkest Before the Dawn

Tuesdays & FridaysDesperate Measures

Wednesdays & SaturdaysWhatever It Takes

Basically — we’ll be back on the old schedule with Darkest Before the Dawn slotted into An Everlasting Love’s time and taking Sundays off.  also expect to be able to update at 10 again, starting tomorow.

In other news, I’m still plugging away at Mad World’s final section — what was going to be seven chapters is now eight, and that’s just because I plotted those seven chapters before I wrote the first 15 and I just need a bit more space to finish out some of the stories. Like I said — this is going to a MESS of a first draft so it should be interesting to see how revisions go.

See you guys tomorrow!

This entry is part 16 of 16 in the series Flash Fiction: An Everlasting Love

Written in 20 minutes. No time for rereading.


Elizabeth hadn’t planned to return to Diamond Springs — ever — but when she’d received the telegram from Jason about Ric’s sentence, she’d asked Patrick to follow up and find out when the execution was planned.

Part of her felt uneasy at the idea that Ric would executed for what he’d done—but there was also a part of her that thought that some people were too evil for the world. If Ric were still alive, maybe he’d find a way to do this again one day. Elizabeth didn’t want to feel like she had any more blood on her hands—not after what had happened to the Lewis family for simply trying to help.

When Patrick had given her the execution date, Elizabeth found herself buying a train ticket and arranging for his wife, Robin, to look after Cameron for a few days. She still wasn’t sure why she was going back until she saw Jason and his grandmother step out of the jail.

He looked at her, blankly, almost in shock as she approached him. Elizabeth frowned when she saw Lila hand something back to him, then walk away. “Is that your badge?” she asked as she reached him.

Jason exhaled slowly, looked down at his hand. “Yeah. Today is my last day.” He rubbed his finger over the gold star. “You—” He looked up, met her eyes. “I wasn’t expecting to see you here. Not today.”

“I wonder if part of me just couldn’t believe it would really be over. I saw the telegram, and Patrick brought back some newspapers, but…” Elizabeth turned to look at the gallows, at the noose that hung from the strip of wood. “There was no other ending, was there?” she murmured. “Once he was charged with theft.”

“No,” Jason said. “But—”

“He’d only hurt someone else one day,” Elizabeth cut in. “I know that’s true. But I suppose after Alexander and his brother, after my grandfather, Cameron, even my father for all his faults—” She sighed. “There’s been enough death.”

“I’m sorry—”

“No, don’t—” Elizabeth touched his arm—just a brush of her fingertips against his sleeve. “He knew the penalty for theft as much as anyone else. He simply never thought he’d get caught.”

“Do you want to—Are you sure you want to watch?” Jason asked. He grimaced as he saw his cousin leading the sullen Ric towards the gallows where the judge and the executioner were standing. Dillon’s face also looked pasty and pale.

“No, I think—” Elizabeth bit her lip. “Can we go somewhere? Or do you have to—”

“They won’t notice if I’m not here.” Jason took her arm and they turned their back on Ric Lansing to walk across the street to the house where Jason rented a room. His landlady would normally not countenance an bachelor escorting a woman to his rooms, but Faith Roscoe had never turned down the chance to go to a public execution.

When he opened the front door, he heard the trapdoor across the street drop down and he closed the door—not even looking to see what happened to Ric.

Elizabeth pressed a hand to her stomach as the crowd’s cheers rose. “I’ll never understand it,” she murmured. Jason agreed and led her upstairs to his rooms.

“If you didn’t come back for the execution,” Jason asked, “then why—”

“You’re leaving your job,” Elizabeth interrupted. She licked her lips. “Where are you going? Back to the marshals service?”

“Maybe.” Jason took her hand in his. “I was actually planning to go to San Francisco first. To see you.” He searched her eyes. “I want a chance.”

“I—I came back to see you. To see if there was a way—” She swallowed hard. “I don’t want to spend my life running away. I still don’t know if I can live here, in town, but I don’t want to look back one day and regret—”

He tipped her chin up and kissed her. After a moment, Elizabeth slid her arms around his neck and kissed him back. He drew back slightly, brushed his fingers over her cheek. “I love you.”

Elizabeth smiled, kissed him again. “I love you, too.”

——

Three Years Later

Elizabeth laughed as her son picked himself up from the mud puddle and brushed at his trousers. “Mama!” Cameron said with a glare. “You said you wouldn’t laugh.”

“I didn’t say any such thing, Cam.” She opened the gate to the paddock, the reins of her horse in her hand as she led Penny inside. “I told you to slow down and not to run when we’ve had all that rain—”

Cameron stomped his foot. “I’m gonna tell Papa—”

“Tell Papa what?”

Elizabeth turned, her smile broadening as her husband strode towards her, their two-year-old son in his arms. “Oh, you’re just in time! I’m putting Cameron on Rusty for the first time.” She nodded at the pony tied to the post.

“I’m glad I’m didn’t miss it.” Jason stopped just outside the gate and leaned over to kiss her. “We just came back from seeing Grandma Lila.”

“Candy!” Jake proclaimed with a grin. He had his father’s sunny blonde hair and his mother’s bright smile.

“I can see the chocolate,” Elizabeth said. She looked at Jason again, her own smile matching his. “She can’t help herself.”

“Mama, I wanna ride!”

“Better go help him,” Jason said, “or he’ll skip Rusty and move on to Penny—”

“He wouldn’t—” Elizabeth whirled around just as Cameron stopped, his hands dropping from Penny’s reins. He turned an innocent grin towards his mother. “Cameron Hardy Lewis—”

“Fine,” Cameron said with a huff as he stomped back towards the smaller pony.

“That boy will be the death of me,” Elizabeth muttered as Jason laughed. “And don’t start. I know he’s exactly like I was at that age.”

“As long as you know it.” Jason leaned over to kiss her. “I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

July 28, 2020

Your Update Link: An Everlasting Love, Part 15

Hey! So I realized pretty quickly this morning that I wasn’t going to be able to get Flash Fiction up by 10, so I put up a Twitter message stating that we’d get to it — I just didn’t know exactly when.  I’m terrible at getting back on track when I get sick for a few days, but I’m just trying to concentate on what needs to get done and managing my own energy. Part of it is my own fault — I’m just not getting back into my sleeping habits which is throwing things off.

I’m continuing to plug away at Mad World’s first draft. A few weeks ago, I added fourteen chapters designed to go in front of the seventeen I had already written — and today, I finished that new beginning (which ended up being fifteen chapters) which brings Mad World to 32 completed chapters of a planned 39. I still have seven chapters left to write at the end of the story which I’m scheduled to finish around August 3. So far — this draft is 532 pages and 192k — which is, ha, INSANE. It’s longer than anything I’ve ever written, and sooo freakin’ messy because I wrote it out of order. Let’s just all be glad I’ve give myself two months to revise it — I’m gonna need it!

I’m hoping to get Flash Fiction back into a normal 10 am schedule soon, but I’ll just be happy if I can do them daily from now on!

This entry is part 15 of 16 in the series Flash Fiction: An Everlasting Love

Written in 20 minutes. No time for rereading.


Two days after the town of Diamond Springs lined up outside of the jail, Jason walked back to the cells, keys in hand.

Ric looked disheveled—his shirt was wrinkled and dirty, stubble on his face. He scowled, rising off the thin cot in the corner. “It’s about damned time you let me out! I’ll have your job for this—”

“No need,” Jason said simply. He unlocked the cell. “I’ve already submitted my resignation. Circuit judge is out front, waiting for you.”

Ric narrowed his eyes as he walked towards Jason who slapped a pair of handcuffs on his wrists. “Who’s the judge?”

“No one you know,” Jason told him. He grabbed his upper arm and shoved him towards the front of the jail. “You’ve been charged with sixteen counts of forgery and twelve counts of extortion. You know what that means if convicted, don’t you?”

Ric’s face paled as he turned to look at Jason. “Extortion—”

“Same sentence as stealing a horse, and out here, that’s still hanging offense.”

“No—”

“Did you really think that no one was ever going to stop you? You stole people’s homes, their life savings—”

Jason steered the banker into the room where the judge held his hearings when he came to town once a month. “And now it’s time to pay.”

He sent a telegram to Elizabeth as soon as the judge passed sentence on Ric—with the testimony of the people in town, the documents that he and Dillon had unearthed from the bank, including the mortgage foreclosure papers he’d prepared for the Webber ranch—

It had only taken the judge twenty minutes to convict Ric and sentence him to hang. Ric’s face had turned a ghastly white—he’d never expected anyone to come for him—to turn on him. But as his grandmother had told him—sometimes it just took one person to stand up and say no.

Elizabeth had responded to his telegram with a brief message — simply Thank You. He didn’t know how to take it—how to interpret it. She’d boarded that train with her son, and now he wondered if she really had meant that night to be one last memory—if she’d really intended it to be a goodbye.

“I am deeply unhappy to learn you won’t take back the resignation,” Lila declared as she swept into the jail the day Ric was due to be executed. “Clearly, we have a need of you here—”

“Grandmother.” Jason got to his feet. “I came home to take care of you, but to be honest, once I got here—” He looked around. “I’m not sure this is where I’m supposed to be.”

“Nonsense. Who is going to do this job as well as you? Barely two months back home and you’ve already freed this town from the clutches of that dreadful man.” Lila sniffed. “I won’t hear of it.”

Jason shook his head, walked over to the post and took down his hat. “Elizabeth can’t live here anymore,” he said quietly. He met his grandmother’s eyes. “She made that clear before she left. She knows the ranch is hers again, free and clear. Patrick is coming back to arrange a sale. She’s not coming back.”

“I can understand why she would be reluctant to stay, but surely, you could speak some sense into her. If she doesn’t want the ranch, why, you’ll inherit my home here in town—”

“I can’t ask her to come back, so I’ll go to her.” Jason put on the hat. “If you’ll excuse me, Grandmother, I have to attend the execution.”

“I do wish we didn’t have these in public,” Lila grumbled as she followed him out of the jail. She wrinkled her nose at the lot next door where the gallows had been erected. “Such things should be done in private.”

“Well, you try to tell this crowd that they don’t get to see Lansing swing from the rope.” Jason looked at the crowd already gathered. It didn’t sit well with him—he’d never been a fan of sentencing a man to death for anything less than murder — but maybe Lansing deserved it nonetheless for what he’d done to the Lewis family. Alexander and Peter would likely still be alive if Ric hadn’t stolen their inheritance.

“How soon will you go to San Francisco?” Lila asked.

“This is my last official duty.” Jason unpinned the badge, handed it to her. “I’ll be boarding the train tomorrow morning—”

Lila sighed. “Well, if I can’t talk you out of it—”

“You can’t—” Jason started to walk over to the lot, then stopped as someone stepped out of the crowd, towards him. He stared at her for a long moment. “Elizabeth.”

“Well, perhaps you may need this after all—” Lila took his hand and put the badge in it, then walked away as Elizabeth approached.

July 27, 2020

Your Update Link: An Everlasting Love, Part 14

Hey! So we’re finally back after taking most of last week off to get through some unexpected health issues. I’ve missed Flash Fiction, so I’m super excited to have it back. I had promised you guys we were going to wrap up Everlasting Love this week, and I definitely want it done before we get into August. Today, tomorrow, and Wedesday will be the final three parts of the story (I think there’s only three parts left — if I need one or two more days, I’ll take them, but we’re about out of story at least for the flash fiction part of this draft). Then, on Thursday, I’ll rework the schedule. I’ll let you guys know tomorrow or Wednesday which stories for which days.

Once Everlasting Love is done, I’ll be going into revisions on it so this week, please don’t hesitate to make suggestions — I want to flesh out the settings, revisit the relationships, and back story, etc — so let me know if you’re want to see something!

In other news, I’m working on getting back into my routine. One of the worst thing about getting sick is just getting back into real life and what you were doing before– honestly, got up at my normal time today and have been doing half of what I normally do — and I’m already tired, lol. So just easing back into it — working on things that have to be done, like last week, but trying to put structure back into it, if that makes sense.

What I’m super happy about is that last week did not put me behind with Mad World whatsoever. I got sick just as we were going into the final few weeks of Broken Girl in early March, and I was so mad because I’d built up so much momentum and I was on track to finish EARLY. Between being sick and the Covid shutdown in my district, I ended up just barely finishing on time. It was just frustrating to me on a personal level so when I got sick last week — I was determined not to do it again. NOT TODAY SATAN NOT TODAY. 

But! I wrote seven chapters in seven days — staying right on track — the only reason I’m not finishing by or on July 31 is because of adding a chapter and also taking extra time the week before — I was three chapters behind my schedule before I got sick — and that’s literally still the same thing today so that’s great. I had a great writing day yesterday — I wrote 12,806 words! If you’re checking out the graph in the sidebar, you can see that spike, heh. Very excited to move into revisions on this book and make some sense of this mess.

I’ll see you guys tomorrow!

This entry is part 14 of 16 in the series Flash Fiction: An Everlasting Love

Written in 20 minutes. No time for rereading.


Elizabeth stirred, feeling the bed beneath her sink and shift slightly. She opened her eyes, then rolled over to find Jason pulling on his clothes. She blinked blearily, then smiled lazily for a moment—

Then remembered. The smile faded, and she slowly sat up, holding the coverlet to her chest, watching Jason fasten the buttons on his pants, then tug his shirt over his bare chest. “Is it dawn?”

Jason nodded with a regretful smile. He slid the curtain away from the window a bit and Elizabeth could see the gray light creeping over the horizon in the distance. He rounded the bed and sat on the edge of it to lean forward and kiss her softly. She wrapped her arms around his neck to hold him there—

SHe wanted to stay in this moment, live here forever—pretend that this could be her life, her future—

“I didn’t want anyone to see my horse,” he murmured against her lips. Jason pulled back slightly, dancing his fingers over her temple. “Unless…” he tipped his head to the side, searched her eyes. “Stay,” he said. “Last night…Elizabeth—”

“Part of me wants to,” she admitted. “But I just—” Elizabeth bit her lip, touched his lips. “I want to, but I can’t live here—with all these memories. I stayed because I was terrified of what Ric might try if I left.” She sighed. “Until he tried to take my son, and I realized there was a line. There was a limit. I’d run forever if it meant Cameron was safe.”

Jason dipped his head, then nodded and stood, starting to button his shirt again. Elizabeth winced, slid her legs onto the floor, her toes brushing the cold hardwood. “Jason. I know you think this will work. I want it to work. I want Ric to pay—”

“But you can’t trust it.”

“I can’t.” Elizabeth’s throat tightened. “I don’t want to have the same argument again. Please. I—”

“You have no reason to trust me. To trust anyone,” Jason told her. He pulled her to her feet, framed her face in his hands and kissed her again. “And maybe you’re right—maybe this won’t work. You need to make sure you’re safe—that Cameron is safe. So go to San Francisco.”

Elizabeth closed her eyes, let her head fall against his chest as he held her in his arms. “Will you—will you send me word? Tell me what happens?”

“Yeah. I will.” He kissed her one more time. “I’m not giving up on us yet,” he told her softly. “But I understand why you are.”

Elizabeth’s lips curved into a smile as she tightened the coverlet around her bare body. “Clearly, I didn’t give up after everything else that happened. So—maybe I’m not giving up either. I’m…just taking a break.”

“I promise that I will find a way to make this right and give us the chance we deserve,” he told her — then went to the door and left.

Jason didn’t go to his rooms after leaving the ranch — he knew he wouldn’t be able to find any more sleep, not after spending a few hours in the bed of the woman he’d loved all his life.

He’d let her down in so many wany ways — he wasn’t going to let anything come between them again.

When the clock on the court house rang that morning at eight, Jason was in the jail, pouring over documents that they’d taken from the bank after the arrest, looking for the evidence he knew the circuit judge was going to need.

Then he heard the train—the whine of the locomotive as it pulled out of the station on the other side of town—

He knew Elizabeth and Cameron were on board—he knew she wouldn’t change her mind at the last minute, so it was important to make sure this counted—

That Ric Lansing paid for everything he’d ever stolen from Elizabeth and anyone else.

“Hey, Jase—” Dillon came in, shoved his hat up his head. “Something very strange is happening outside.”

Jason blinked, then got to his feet. He walked over to his cousin, then stepped out of the building onto the sidewalk. There was a crowd lining up down Main Street, and first line — his grandmother.

Lila lifted her chin, met his eyes. “I heard that you’ve arrested that scoundrel.”

“I did—” Jason blinked, looked down the line to see Lucas Jones, his aunt Felicia, and some of the bank tellers—twenty or thirty more people behind them. “What is this? Did he threaten you?”

“Yes. And that’s why I came. I paid a few visits after I received word yesterday.” Lila leaned heavily on her cane. “I thought I was the only person Ric Lansing terrorized, blackmailed, but I wasn’t.”

Jason frowned, looked at the line again. “Are all of these people—”

“We’ve all been scared,” Felicia Jones murmured. “He threatened to take my home—”

“He threatened to take my mother’s store,” Lucas reported.

“I wasn’t strong enough when you needed me to be,” Lila told Jason. “And I think that I helped Ric take something very precious from you. I don’t want to help him anymore.”

“But—but why now?” Jason shook his head. “Why didn’t anyone say anything before?”

“We all thought we were the only ones,” Felicia admitted. She folded her arms. “But we’re not.”

“Sometimes, dearest,” Lila said, touching his arm. “It just takes one person to stand up first.”