Thursday, January 28, 2010

Prompts #31 & #19

31: Karma
When Micah doesn’t come home in time for their first wedding anniversary, Callie laughs off her foolishness and eats by herself. For the next three anniversaries, Callie takes Jenna out for ice cream. The fifth anniversary, Callie buys a bottle of champagne and toasts the empty dinner plate beside her.

Jonas takes her out for the sixth anniversary. On the seventh, he gets smart and keeps Callie away from the tequila. He hires a babysitter for the eighth, and flies Callie to California so that sunshine and merlot can lift her spirits. For her ninth anniversary, Callie stays up all night with a sick Jenna and a pot of coffee.

Jonas purposely arranges Micah’s assignments so that his Micah is home for their tenth anniversary. When Callie shows up on his doorstep, heartbroken and crying, it takes all of Jonas’ restraint to keep from killing the other man.

Callie learns her lesson, though. She doesn’t mark their anniversary on her calendar. When the day rolls around, she indulges in retail therapy and leaves her phone off.

Micah buys flowers, candy, and a card for their fourteenth anniversary. He’d leave them for Callie, but for once she’s the one who forgets.

19: Reawakening

It starts with a fall in the shower and a bump on the head. Callie laughs it off, takes aspirin for the pain, and rides to the office with Jonas. She can’t ignore how secretive he and Micah Harkness have been lately or the niggling in the back of her head like she’s forgotten something.

The morning is spent on boring fiscal reports in her bland office. Around noon, head still aching, she pops two more pills then turns out the lights. A quick nap is all she needs to make the pain stop. She dreams of a sunny parking lot, bullets and blood, a screaming girl, and fear and sorrow.

Callie wakes disoriented. She stumbles into a familiar hallway. She must have fallen asleep in an empty office. Hers is two doors down. She flicks on the lights, surprised at the dust on her monitor and desk phone.

A quick glance at her phone, the wall calendar’s still on November, has her dashing down the hallway. She’s going to miss Jenna’s choir concert! She gets to the auditorium on time, manages to find Micah, and slips into the seat beside him. She doesn’t see the wonder in his eyes.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Prompts #16 & #29

16: Alterations

Almost as soon as the neurologist has finished his report, Jonas Quinn’s brain kicks in to high gear. The overprotective big-brother part of him is still aching over seeing his baby sister so frail and lifeless both back in the parking lot and here in the hospital. Thinking like the hard-ass owner of one of the world’s leading soldier-for-hire agencies is easier.

He’s lost, hopefully only temporarily, a senior analyst. As Callie doesn’t remember anything from the past fourteen years, he’ll have to reassign all her current projects. She can’t take on any new projects because politics and regimes have changed since her last clear memory. She’s still absolutely brilliant, though, and he’d be a fool to not find a place for her.

He’s lost a field merc, too. Micah won’t go anywhere until the threat against his daughter’s been contained. Not that Jonas blames him any for that. His sister was the one shot, after all. The assignments Jonas has scheduled for Micah will have to be reassigned.

Head aching at the thought of all the extra work this shooter’s suddenly given him, Jonas wouldn’t mind be locked in a small room with him for an hour or two.

29: Forsaken

Jenna listens to her father and Uncle Jonas talk about traumatic brain injuries, temporary amnesia, and swelling, but all she hears is “forgot.” As in, Callie’s forgotten ever being her mother. This is her fault, isn’t it? It’s punishment for all the times she argued with Callie and told her that she wasn’t her real mother.

“W-w-will her memory come back?” Jenna squeezes her father’s hand though her eyes are on her uncle. She knows that her father will lie to her if he thinks it will protect her, but Uncle Joe isn’t like that. He understands that the truth hurts, but it’s better than lies.

“No one knows, kiddo. Could come back tomorrow, next week, or never. We just need to be patient and give Callie time.”

Jenna nods. She can do that. Though she really wants to barge into Callie’s room with a photo album to remind Callie of their summer vacations at South Padre Island or the time Callie chaperoned the school trip to San Antonio, she’ll wait.

“Don’t worry, sweetheart. We’ll be okay.” Micah affectionately ruffles his daughter’s hair.

“I know, Dad.” Jenna smiles back, proving that she can lie just as well as her father.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Prompts #14 & #25

14: Temptation

Callie purses her lips when the bartender sets a drink in front of her. “I didn’t order this.”

“From the gentleman over there.” The bartender discreetly points at the man in question.

Marcia and Beth, two of Callie’s old high school friends, giggle like schoolgirls once the bartender’s out of earshot. Beth nudges Callie in the ribs. “He’s cute, Cal.”

Callie’s eyes flick over the man. He is cute in a pretty-boy sort of way. Probably some big-shot corporate executive used to having women fall at his feet. “I’m married, remember?”

“Oh please,” Marcia snorts indelicately. “We’ve invaded your house, sweetie. You don’t even share a bedroom with Mister Tall, Dark, and Always Gone.”

Before Callie can respond, Pretty Boy’s at her side. He reaches for Callie’s hand. “The band’s started up. May I have this dance?”

Callie lets him lead her to the dance floor and sways with him to the smooth jazz number. His smile is friendly and the unadulterated admiration in his eyes is hypnotizing. When he offers to take her home, she hesitates for just a second.

Home, alone and angry and just a little drunk, she isn’t sure who she hates more: herself or Micah.

25: Little Black Number

“I don’t know why you wouldn’t let me buy that skirt.” Jenna tosses long hair over her shoulder, blue eyes glaring icily at her step-mother.

“It was a very short leather mini-skirt, precious.” Callie bites back a grin when Jenna rolls her eyes. Had she ever given her brother this much trouble?

“Missy Carlson has one just like it.”

Callie stops abruptly in the middle of the mall courtyard. She ignores the people who push past her as she stares at Jenna with mock-understanding. “Well, why didn’t you say you were competing for the Miss Tramp of Rolling Hills High? Let’s get that skirt. I think I’ve got a pair of red stilettos and a corset at home you could borrow.”

Jenna’s cheeks redden. Does Callie have to talk so loud? “God, you’re so mean!”

“Yep.” Callie tosses an arm across Jenna’s shoulders and tries not to be upset when the arm gets shrugged off. “I’m the evil step-mother all those Disney movies warned you about.”

“I hate you.”

Ten minutes later, Callie’s blood on her hands, Jenna would want nothing more than to take those words back. Five years later, she still can’t look at a miniskirt without crying.

Prompts #6 & #21

6: Hero

Callie impatiently glances down at her watch. She can see Jenna’s fair head bobbing up and down. The girl is no doubt looking for her no-show father.

She knows she shouldn’t really blame Micah. He doesn’t have a traditional, nine-to-five job. The realistic part of Callie knows he can’t ask terrorists to put their plans on hold so he can attend his little girl’s school presentation. The mama bear part that hurts whenever Jenna hurts isn’t quite so logical.

Jenna’s worked so hard on this presentation. She’s spent hours practicing her speech in front of the mirror. It’ll just crush her if Micah isn’t here to hear it.

When Jenna’s teacher steps in front of the microphone and Micah still hasn’t shown, Callie’s heart sinks. Jenna’s already had her heart broken by Micah too many times to count. Jonas, the uncle Jenna adores but who makes a poor Daddy substitute, pats Callie’s hand sympathetically.

Jenna’s the first one up to speak. Her eyes dart nervously around the auditorium. Her smile widens just as a warm body slides into the seat beside Callie. “Today, I’m going to tell you about my hero. His name is Micah Harkness, and he’s my daddy.”

21: Commonality

Micah settles into the chaise lounge beside Jonas. He pops the top of his beer and sighs in contentment. It’s a beautiful late-spring afternoon, and there’s nothing pressing to worry about.

A high-pitched squeal from the vicinity of his pool catches Micah’s attention. He watches with affectionate eyes as Callie tosses a giggling, nine-year-old Jenna into the warm water. He can still remember a time when his daughter was terrified of water.

“They grow so fast.”

Jonas grunts in agreement. He’s watching the same scene as Micah, but his thoughts aren’t on Jenna. He sees Callie and flashes back to the solemn, grief-stricken thirteen-year-old he’d suddenly been responsible for. For years, he’d wondered if she’d ever laugh again. Sometimes, when Micah’s done something particularly thickheaded, he sees glimpses of that girl.

“I just want to wrap her up in cotton to protect her from the world,” Micah continues.

“Yeah, I know how that goes.”

“I think I’d kill anyone who hurt her or broke her heart.”

Jonas chuckles to himself. He’s felt that way a hundred times. If only Micah knew how many he’d come close to having an accident in the field. “Oh yes. I know that feeling well.”

Prompts #12 & #2

And... I'm actually posting them in somewhat chronological order

12: The Turn of the Earth

Callie’s always been very time-conscious. In elementary school, she would keep track of her activities on a large desk calendar. She’d set goals back then, too. Ride the bike without training wheels by next birthday. Learn the multiplication table before Christmas. As she’d gotten older the habit continued. Graduate high school before seventeen. Get degree then start with Jonas by twenty-first birthday.

An impulsive conversation with Micah Harkness, however, threw her entire plans and sense of timing straight out the window. If she were to find any of the old lists she’d made weeks before meeting Micah, she knows that there isn’t anything she could check off. It feels odd to not to have any goals left to make. She’s stuck working as an analyst with Jonas, and there’s little room for advancement. She can’t abandon Jenna for her job. Callie loves the toddler as if she were her own.

Finding a book on child development gives her a renewed sense of timing, of how to measure the turn of the earth. One afternoon while Jenna’s napping and Micah’s on assignment, Callie sits down with a calendar and wire-bound notebook. Use utensils by sixteen months. Start potty-training by nineteen months.

2: Forevers

“How long are you going to be my baby girl?”

“Forever.” A high-pitched, girlish giggle. “Silly Daddy.”

Callie pushes away from the doorframe and quietly retreats. She hadn’t meant to eavesdrop on father and daughter, but they’re absolutely adorable when Micah isn’t trying to be Super Dad and Jenna isn’t testing the limits of his patience. She grabs the cordless phone and slips out onto the patio.

She remembers making a similar promise long ago. She’d been thirteen, heavily sedated, and in a stark, white hospital room. She’d promised Jonas forever because he’d needed to hear it as desperately as she’d needed to say it. They’d clung to each other because they were all each other had left.

Time hasn’t changed things. She’s still the only family he has left. Despite having a husband and step-daughter, Callie needs Jonas as much now as she did back then. Yet, she brushed him aside to play house with Micah and Jenna.

Her fingers tremble as she hits the speed-dial. Jonas picks up on the first ring.

“Joe, I still mean it, you know.”

“The hell are you talking about, Cal?”

“Forever. Me and you. The Unstoppable Quinns.”

“I know, sweets. Me, too.”

Monday, January 25, 2010

Prompts #24 & #18

24: Before You Came

Jonas loved Callie the second he laid eyes on the wriggling bundle of pink flesh. He'd sat stiff as a board when his father passed the baby into his hands, was hypnotized by ageless blue eyes. Solemn and responsible even at twelve, he'd let her wrap a tiny hand around his thumb and swore to always be there for her.

He stayed true to his word. Even when he couldn't be around thanks to college, a stint in the military, and the family business, he'd made sure Callie remembered he was still her rock. She must have gotten the message, because his number was the first one she dialed when a thirteen-year-old Callie came home and found their parents murdered in the kitchen.

He doesn’t want her in the field. He’d like nothing more than to hide her away in one of QuinTech’s secret bunkers. She’s got the Quinn stubbornness, though, and he’d rather have her working for him than his competitors. At least he’ll be able to regulate which assignments she goes on and who watches her back.

That same protectiveness is what sets his gut to churning when she smiles that smile at Micah Harkness one Tuesday afternoon.

18: Fantastic

Callie Quinn, smart, sassy, strong Callie, is the type of woman Micah Harkness wants his daughter to be. She’s compassionate with an infectious smile is brighter than the sun. So, why on earth would Jonas want to darken his sister’s soul by involving her in the dirty world of intelligence?

When Jonas asks Micah to help evaluate Callie’s field readiness, Micah’s tempted to fail the girl. It’ll keep her out of the field long enough for her to change her mind. In the end, he has no choice but to pass her. She’s better than most he’s seen and damned determined.

He has to admit that he’s jealous, too. She’ll get to go off on the assignments that should be his while he’s stuck at home with an unhappy, motherless baby. Too bad she’s become the only role model he wants for Jenna. If he wasn’t so afraid of ruining his friendship with Callie, or of Jonas’ fist, he’d offer her the world in exchange for being Jenna’s step-mother.

When Callie’s the one to lay out a plan that not only keeps her out of the field but gives Jenna the mother she deserves, all Micah can think is, “Fantastic.”

Friday, January 22, 2010

Books Recs

Looking for something to read? I've got a couple of suggestions for you - and I'm not just recommending these because I've been a huge fan of the author for years.

Let's temporarily forget everything I've ranted about when it comes to the insane popularity of vampire stories. Do you like the Southern Vampire books or the Anita Blake series? Good. I've found something better for you:

Possession by Rosalie Stanton is... amazingly hot. Since all my synapses are fried from writing blubs and a synopsis, here's what the publisher's blurb is on Ms. Stanton's book:

"Arianna is a demon hunter who isolates herself from society. Over the past few months she has become increasingly dependent on her uncertain alliance with Kade, a vampire informant who literally stepped out of the shadows and into her life.

On the night of a rumored attack from a group of demons, called Eros, who feed off passion for sustenance, Arianna meets with Kade to plan a counterattack before the demons can strike. However, upon retreating to Kade’s apartment for supplies, both Arianna and Kade are overwhelmed with a sudden rush of passion. Their bodies refuse to obey their minds, and before they can stop themselves, they are engaged in endless rounds of lovemaking. Lost to pleasure even as their minds fight sensation and each other, Kade surrenders to his love for Arianna, and tries to convince her he is what she’s needed all along.

Sometimes, possession is mutual."

Seriously? This book is awesome.

Like a little less urban fantasy with your steamy romance? Then I suggest
Firsts by, again, Roaslie Stanton.
From the publisher: "Savannah is looking at entering college as a virgin. After getting her heart shattered by one of the high school's notorious playboys, she turns to her best friend, Thorn, and implores him to help her solve the tiny problem of her virginity. What she doesn't know is Thorn has been in love with her since the second he laid eyes on her, and asking him to touch what he can't have is nothing less than torture. After succumbing to her advances, Thorn makes it his mission to convey everything he hasn't been able to put into words into touch, hoping Savannah will feel in his hands and mouth what she has never seen in his eyes."

Wonderfully fleshed out (no pun intended) characters (which, sadly, a lot of erotic romances lack) and better writing than you'll find in many, many "best selling" books.

So... What are you still doing reading here? You should be buying e-books. Go on! What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Prompt #10 - Adrift

Prompt 10: Adrift

“I need lunch money.”

Micah glances up from his computer screen, brow furrowed. This is the first Jenna’s spoken to him since the dinner debacle the night before. How was he supposed to know she was experimenting with vegetarianism?

“You don’t take a tofu sandwich or something?”

Jenna rolls her eyes, purses her lips, and tilts her chin up in the air. Has her father always been this clueless and she never saw it or is it a recent development? “No. There’s a salad bar at school. Also, we’re out of bread.”

“Oh.” Micah has vague memories of bachelor life: late-night grocery runs and a running tab with the pizza joint. He has no idea what kind of food to buy for a fifteen-year-old quasi-vegetarian.

Another eye roll and a huff of impatience. “I’ll make a list when I get home from school. You are going to remember to pick me up today, aren’t you?”

“Yes, Jenn.”

“Good.” Jenna kisses her father’s cheek. “Sorry, Daddy. I just don’t like being…”

“Forgotten.” Micah finishes knowingly. This isn’t just about his ineptitude as a father. It’s about Callie. They’re both adrift, uncertain, and it makes them snippy. “I won't forget you, kiddo.”

Prompt #3 - Ships

Prompt 3: Ships

Micah doesn’t call from the flight home after an assignment. He wants to surprise his wife and daughter. Throughout the debriefing, he keeps an image in his head: Jenna’s surprised smile and Callie’s welcoming eyes. There’s a pep in his step when he pushes open the door and greets his girls.

Except the house is empty. Frantic, he dials Callie’s cell. His grip on the phone leaves his knuckles white as his mind races through the possibilities.

“Where are you?”

Callie pauses and, in direct contrast to her warm greeting, responds with a voice icy as Antarctica. “South Padre. Jenna and I always spend a month here in the summer.”

“I’m home.”

“You really should have called, Micah. We just left this morning.” Another pause and the faint drumming of fingernails on a table. “You’re welcome to join us, of course.”

It’s not the same. This isn’t how he imagined it at all. “Callie – .”

“Cal! Come swimming with me!”

“I’ll call you later, Micah. Jenna’s waiting.”

Micah’s left in an empty kitchen with the dial tone buzzing in his ear and the shattered remains of his idealized reunion at his feet. He never again comes home without calling first.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Prompt #17 - Parental Issues

17: Parental Issues

Most parents would be furious at having their teenage daughter challenge their rules. Micah had been angry when she'd questioned the curfew. His temper cooled when, rather than sulking and whining, she rattled off a logical argument. It's not going to change his mind one bit, but she's got a good head and isn’t afraid to fight for what she wants.

Jenna's a wonderful daughter, better than he deserves. She stays out of trouble, has excellent grades, and a clear view of what she wants out of life. Listening to her now, passionately yet sensibly campaigning for a raise in her allowance, fills him with pride.

Until he realizes that, aside from donating the DNA, he's done nothing to bring about the beautiful, inside and out, girl in front of him. He can see Callie's influence in the cock of Jenna's hip and the intelligence in her eyes.

"You remind me of your mom."

Jenna falters mid-sentence. Hostility clouds her eyes. "I wouldn't know. She died and you never talk about her."

Micah's heart stutters until he realizes Jenna's misunderstanding. "No. Callie."

Jenna's eyes soften. "Then I'll take that as a compliment."

Micah grins. It's exactly how he meant it.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Snippet from an unfinished story. Not much to it, just felt like sharing.


“Mom. I need you to listen to me, Mom. You have to be careful with Kevin. He’s not like you and me. He takes every word and locks it in his heart. He holds on to them and never lets go of the pain. They don’t roll off his back.”

“I don’t – “

“But you do, Mom. You do. You’re a master at it. Your tongue is so smooth. It’s like a poisoned-tipped samurai’s sword. You don’t feel it slice through until you’re bleeding out and the poison’s killing you.”


“I’m not saying you do it on purpose. You love us, I know you do, but your tongue is acid, Mom. It’s poison. You’ve always complained about my sarcasm but where do you think I learned it from? I’m just saying you have to be careful. Kevin’s in a rough place right now, and he’s always felt things more strongly than the rest of us.”

“Your brother’s got a good heart.”

A wistful smile curved Kelsey’s lips. “That’s his role, you know. He’s the heart, the life, of our family. Thinks with his heart and not his brains. Gets knocked down but always gets right back up. Sees the good in people and trusts when no one else would. Keeps us all a little brighter.”

Kelsey rolled her head back on the pillow and closed her eyes. “Dad’s the anchor. No matter how much time’s gone by, no matter how much crap that’s piled up, Dad’s the same. It’s comforting. He’s our rock.”

“And I suppose I’m the wicked witch in this little scenario?”

“No, Mom.” Kelsey chuckled and opened one eye so that she could meet her mother’s steely gaze. “That’s my role. You’re… you’re our brain. Our tie to the real world. Practical and patient and the perfect mix of love and wisdom. You remind us that we can’t all stay in our little bubbles of selfishness and self-pity forever.”

“I’m not sure that’s a compliment, Kelsey.”

Kelsey struggled to sit up. She reached out and sandwiched both of Opal’s hands with hers. “Don’t you know you’re the first one Kevin and I call when anything goes wrong. For all Dad’s quiet stoicism, you’re the one we turn to for help. We know you’ll steer us straight. We know you love us.”

Opal silently studied her inebriated daughter. There was truth to the things she’d said. A painful truth, but an honest one. When had her daughter, the preemie baby she’d watched stumble and fumble and finally stand on her own, become so very wise? “I know what you’re role is.”

“Black sheep. Not really a newsflash, Mom.”

Opal shook her head. “You’re the seeker. You see into each one of us and pull out the truths we want to deny. You aren’t fooled by any of our masks. You keep us honest.”

“Thereby being the very definition of irony.” Kelsey rolled her eyes. “Are you sure you didn’t finish off that bottle of rum?”

“No, dear. You did that all on your own.” Opal patted Kelsey’s cheek. “You aren’t going to remember any of this in the morning, are you?”

“If the Fates are kind, tomorrow morning I will wake up in my apartment in Houston and none of the past two weeks will have occurred.” Kelsey collapsed back on the bed.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Prompt #11: A Promise Kept

#11 - A Promise Kept

Irony, Micah learns, is deciding that you want to make a go of your marriage only to have your wife forget ever saying, ‘I do.’” It’s busting your butt in the worst hellholes in the world to keep your family safe back home only to have them attacked in a mall parking lot.

Standing at the window in Jonas’ office, Micah watches Callie, who still has the line from his ring on her finger though she never remembers wearing it, talk animatedly with another agent. He hasn’t seen her smile that way, the smile that starts at the lips and ends with twinkling eyes, in years. She looks lighter, brighter, and fourteen years younger. The same fourteen years she lost. That she’s been married to him.

Callie promised to protect his daughter with her life. She took a bullet meant for Jenna and nearly left her brains splattered on the parking lot floor. She kept her promise and the price was her memory.

On the flight home, Micah made a promise to finally give Callie everything she deserves. It’s time he keeps his promise. He turns to Jonas with dark, stormy eyes.

“Don’t tell her. She’s better off like this.”

Prompt #1: Pompeii

#1 - Pompeii

“Daddy? I need help with my homework.”

Micah's stomach turned to stone. Couldn’t she have waited until her step-mother returned? He’s not the homework type. He feels a bit foolish as beads of sweat form on his brow. He’s faced down squads of men with guns and stared death in the face countless times, but the thought of helping his ten-year-old daughter with homework scares him witless.

She’s his precious baby girl, though, and he’d walk through fire for her. If she needs help with homework, then it’s homework help she’ll get. A glance at the topic of her assignment floods him with relief. It’s one of those projects. The hands-on type. He can live with those. Especially when it involves making things blow up. That’s right up his alley.

The three hours they spend making the volcano are the best three hours he’s ever spent. The delight on his daughter’s face, and the laughter that still rings in his ears, more than makes up for the hell he knows he’ll get when his wife comes home to the mess covering every inch of the kitchen.

Thin, pale arms wind around his waist. “I love you, Daddy.”

Definitely worth it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Prompt 15: Bereft

#15 - Bereft

All Jenna knows is that one minute she and Callie are arguing about miniskirts and the next she’s being shoved under a silver BMW while Callie slinks off like a jungle cat in jeans and a pink hoodie. Jenna calls her Uncle Joe, though she can’t tell him more than, “Just get here NOW!” She stays curled in her hiding spot until Uncle Joe bends down and offers his hand.

She ignores the steely-eyed agents scouring the area and the approaching sirens. She’s got to find Callie. It was such a stupid fight and her chest burns with the need to tell Callie that she didn’t mean a single, hateful word.
Twenty feet from the BMW, Jenna spots the strap of Callie’s purse. Flecks of drying blood stain the purse. Jenna tentatively rounds the bumper of a black Hummer and falls to her knees.

Dark ribbons of blood form gruesome highlights in Callie’s blonde hair. With trembling fingers, Jenna feels along Callie’s neck for a pulse. Finding none, she cradles Callie’s head in her lap. Hot tears trickle down her cheeks and splash onto Callie’s forehead.

“She won’t wake up, Uncle Joe. M-m-my Mom. You have to help my Mommy.”

Prompt 32: Idolatry

#32 - Idolatry

To a twenty year old Callie Quinn, Micah Harkness is a god. He instantly replaces her brother as her idol. Cool under pressure, smooth and with a swagger that sets her pulse racing, he’s James Bond, Indiana Jones, and every other hero she’s ever had rolled into one stunning package.

When he offers to help her with her hand-to-hand, it’s like she’s died and gone to Heaven. She pesters him with questions about assignments and his time with the military. He answers each one patiently and never treats her like the annoying, buzzing fly she knows she can be.

She’s at the office when he comes in, bullet hole in his shoulder and face mottled with bruises, for a debriefing. Her brother lets her sit in on it. Rather than turn her off the idea of joining the family business, it cements her decision. And elevates Micah’s pedestal even higher.

Micah is her hero, she tells Jonas one night after too many sake bombs and not enough egg rolls. She swears that nothing in the universe is ever going to tarnish his perfect image.

Ten years later, she wishes she’d listened when Jonas told her that sometimes even gods falter.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Prompts 4: Avoidance

Suppose I should make it a little clearer - we were given 35 prompts - each story is supposed to be exactly 200 words. I created my own mini-verse so that all 35 are related. Unfortunately, they're not going to be done in order.

4: Avoidance

He doesn’t visit his sister often. Oh, he takes her to dinner, a movie, or has her over to his house, but he avoids going inside her house whenever possible. It’s not that Jonas doesn’t love Callie, he adores the brat, but he doesn’t agree with the choices she’s made.

Callie’s so much smarter than he’ll ever be. Even if she wasn’t his sister, he’d have recruited her for his private intelligence and security, mercenary if he’s going to be blunt about it, agency. She’s a chameleon with the gift for reading people and squirming out of tight spots. She could have been the best of the very best. She could have toppled regimes with nothing more than a bright smile and the crook of her finger.

And she gave it all up for bake sales, soccer practice, and domesticity. For a child who doesn’t share a drop of Callie’s blood and a man who has never looked at her with anything more than friendship in his eyes. It hurts to see so much wasted potential.

“I’m still saving the world,” she tells him after he’s drunkenly confessed his sins. “I’ve just changed my definition of the world. That’s all.”

Prompts: 21 - Sacrificial Lamb

21: Sacrificial Lamb
The truth Callie Quinn realizes on a Monday morning is this: Micah Harkness loves his baby daughter desperately, but is not cut out for full-time fatherhood. He hasn’t said anything to anyone, and never would offer up such information voluntarily, but taking care of Jenna alone after his fiancĂ©e’s suicide is killing him. He’s lost twenty pounds in the six months since the funeral and the bags under his eyes need their own luggage tags.

She knows it’s not just the late night feedings, diaper changes, and housework. She sees the way his eyes linger on the assignment log, the way his feet jiggle during meetings, and the tap-tap of his pen whenever he has to hear someone get assigned a job he thinks should be his. He’s a nomad, a mercenary. He’s not Mr. Mom.
She’s been waiting her whole life for full-time field work. Chomping at the bit and driving her brother absolutely nuts. She’s passed all the proficiency tests. So why, two days after receiving the green-light from Jonas, does she sit down across from a tired Micah and make a proposition?

It’s easy. Micah loves his daughter, but he loves his freedom. And Callie loves Micah.