Happy Haunting for Marjorie ~ #FFFC

Image Credit: Darius Bashar at Unsplash.com

It wasn’t one of those old country love songs that had her smiling as she jotted her thoughts down on the paper. It was the sounds of the ghosts on the radio, and it was the sun that was brushing against her face through the antique window. It was the way that the old rug beneath her bare feet tickled if she moved them a certain way. It never got old, and she was never in a rush for the activity in the house to stop. She hated being alone.

It was peaceful to hear them bickering at one another. It was like instant gratification when their voices would ring out, even if they did have big mouths. Jack and Deloris were the loudest spirits Marjorie had ever met, and since her near-death incident, she could hear every word they said to each other. They were still the same married couple that she had read about in the house’s detailed history. They would bicker so loud at times that the lights would flicker in every room of the house. They were harmless though. They co-existed with Marjorie very well and vice versa.

“Jack, you brought this on yourself, ya know? All you have to do is accept that we are no longer alive. I want to move on!”

Things would move around the room when Jack got mad. “If I am dead, how come I can see my hand in front of my face and use that same hand to throw all these damn books across the room, huh? Ms. Smarty Pants…answer that one!”

Marjorie chuckled under her breath.

“See…if I was dead, she wouldn’t be able to laugh at me.” He directed a dirty look to Marjorie but she couldn’t see it. She could hear them over seeing them most times. “It’s not nice to laugh at an old man, Marjorie.”

Deloris intervened, “Leave that girl alone, Jack…” He was tossing books around the room.

Marjorie looked up from her notepad. She said nothing at first. She just smiled at the radio that was talking to her.

“I’m sorry, dear…he’s a jerk that won’t accept that he is dead as a doornail! Ain’t that right, my dear sweet husband?” Deloris was becoming patronizing towards Jack. It annoyed her that Jack could not accept their fate was sealed.

Deloris was adamant about the fact that they were apparitions and not alive, but Jack still thought he was walking and talking on the plane of the living. He was in denial and refusing to accept that he had met his demise by a semi crashing into their car and pushing them into a ravine. Deloris tried to move them on from the otherworld so many times that she lost count, but Jack was as stubborn as a mule. They had occupied and haunted that beautiful mansion since 1996, and Marjorie bought the house in 2010.

Before they met Marjorie, Deloris would always have to control Jack’s temper because he would scare the tenants of the house away. He did not like to lie low or adhere to the restrictions that she put on him, so Marjorie’s presence was a breath of fresh air to him. He could be himself, besides the fact he did not think he was dead.

“Leave it to you to toot your own horn, Wifey!” He tried to grab a berry from the plate on Marjorie’s desk in a matter-of-fact way to prove a point, but his fingers could not grasp the fruit.

“Dammit! Why is this raspberry being so difficult?” Deloris!!! Can you get me a few of these?” He pointed at the plate. It was an amenable effort for Jack to want something to eat…even though ghosts cannot possibly be hungry.

“For Pete’s sake…” Deloris sounded so annoyed, “No, Jack…I cannot grab a piece of fruit, and neither can you.

“I’m sorry Marjorie…this is probably making your head spin.” Deloris returned his argument, “The only one tooting and being a fool is you, Hubby!” She was annoyed at how ridiculous he could be, but she loved him anyway.

Marjorie shrugged it off and kept writing in her journal. They had no idea that she recorded everything they said in this journal. She was catching a chill all of the sudden.

She couldn’t see him, but Jack was pacing the floor so fast that Marjorie could feel the breeze of chill from their presence on her bare feet.

The ghosts were great at entertaining Marjorie, and she actually enjoyed hearing their petty disputes and his denial of death all the time. They were stuck to her like glue when she was home, and they always made a grand entrance into her ears just as soon as her ears opened each day. That’s the cost of being a medium, Marjorie always thought to herself.

Marjorie closed her notebook, collected her purse, and head out for the day. She knew when she came back that there would be more theatrics, but for now she was so hungry from the energy drain.

“See you soon, Jack and Deloris.”

Their white noise went quiet.

© E.M. Kingston 2022 – All Rights Reserved.

Another #FFFC inspiration allowed me to write this post.

The Face of Guilt

Photo by Raphael Brasileiro on Pexels.com

The features of his face silhouetted

On the wall behind him

As he sat distressed on the bed

They used to share

The galore of guilt was insolvent

To the pain which he caused that night

His feelings were clashing

With the emotions deep in his heart

He loved her dearly

However, that point is moot

Erased by infidelity

Nothing left to discuss

The state of shock disabled his tears

While he stared blankly at the floor

The clean slate he was given

Now dirtied with another woman’s hair

No protocol to follow

No wounds to dress

The fleece blanket he sat upon

That seat would be his last…

The Cleaning Lady (*Trigger Warning*)

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

She lacked an abundance of goodness, only disappointment

Luck lacking…in relationships, in careers, and in living

Never enough, always discarded like trash

Replaceable, expendable, unneeded…

Pain fills her with a void, empty

His impression still setting on her mind, conflicted

Depression sets in, overwhelming sadness developed

With each swish of the sponge on the mirror, repelling

And with each sweep of her broom on the floor, exhausting

She just wanted to be finished…

It was absurd to keep going…a breath in.

And she went to her darkest day… a breath out.

“Things must get better”, she says…

While her reflection abrogates her essence, disheartening

Gullible feelings in her mind, injure self-worth

“Why is life so hectic?” She cries…humiliated

Please make it stop, these feelings inside…”

She pleads in a caterwaul tone, yelling

Into the mirror… her face turns red, angry

A grimace should have a smile, she’s flustered

Her lips still feel his mustache, memorable

The regret of refusing that last french kiss

Her anger explodes like fireworks, heartbreak

Kick it, punch it, be tenacious, be fierce

No toasts of champagne, loneliness

The New Year’s celebration gone, abandoned

A yellow taxi escorts her home, staggering

She gave up and never went inside, done.

Goodnight…goodbye…whichever works for you.”

She never felt the agony of losing him again…resolved.

© E.M. Kingston 2022 – All Rights Reserved.

This was written using Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie’s Wordle #272 (italicized), Sammi Scribbles Weekend Writing Prompt #242, Three Things Challenge (linked and bold), and several word challenges and prompts (linked words in the poem). Please visit their blogs and show them some love.

wk 242 goodnight

Smokey and the Beep – #FSS 26

This week’s Story Starter teaser from Fandango is:

At first, I thought it was only the dog making noise, but it was… more than just the fact he was making noise. It was the noise he was making. It was alarming, and his innocent whine turned into a cry full of fear. It was like his spirit was screaming rather than being the bubbly dog that just liked sniffing other dogs behinds and barking at the invisible air. He was terrified, which made me terrified to investigate around the corner that he was cowering from. I had just gotten off work, and we were alone.

“Smokey hound…what’s got you so frightened?” I whispered to him as he stood there shaking his short legs and old body. He was an older gentleman of a dog, and stress made him pant loudly. “C’mon. Let’s go this way.”

I walked to the couch and patted for him to come, and he darted his nose back to the wall the met the corner. My Google Home was playing a light rock genre of music and was turned down pretty low, but he still heard something on the other side of that wall.

“Welp…I guess I have to investigate.” He whined to me and put his ears down as I got back up from the couch.

I looked around for a weapon, and all I could find was a knitting hook — an integral part of this investigation, of course. “This should work…hopefully,” I mumbled to myself. I wanted to defer walking into the dark kitchen, but it was clear that I had been watching too many crime dramas on the television because I crept up to the wall while holding my hook to my side. I peeked around the first bend of the wall and looked into the dark kitchen. After that coast was clear, I twisted my neck and tried to see on the other side of the wall. Like a typical girl, I threw my body around and thrust the needle out like it was a gun, and I came away from the wall in a defensive stance. Nothing was there.

“Beep!” The fire alarm in the kitchen chirped from a low battery.

I looked at him in that look that moms give their children who are about to be scolded, and said, “Really, the beep? That’s the danger in the house that has you looking like you have just seen a ghost?”

I wanted to curse I was so mad. I climbed on the chair and took the battery out of the alarm and set it on the countertop of the island in my kitchen, and I darted him a look again. Smokey put his ears down and pouted. He knew he was busted! I shook my head all the way back over to put away my hook before sitting down on my cream-colored couch. I grabbed my blanket from the back, and I took the remote into my hand.

“Remind me next time to listen for the beep. C’mon fat boy…let’s watch The First 48.” I said while I patted on the couch. This time he came.

Downtown Christmas – #MLMM Photo Challenge

Photo credit: Frank Rumpenhorst

Streets packed with romance and friendship…

The unction of Christmas sung into all their souls…

Necks are wrapped tightly with scarfs in the winter breeze.

As the festive stars and lights illuminate the downtown

In a gathering of the ages and a sign of that time

A young man blessing his date with a flower.

A lonely lady sipping on her water.

A couple holding each other’s expensive surprises.

The children’s laughter exudes from the bright carousel.

Illicit affairs surround the area without anyone knowing.

The siblings argue over who gets to be first in line to Santa.

Babies rattle their toys as mommies babble to them.

The beer tent has everyone standing in a row.

Life stood still this day in celebration.

“Merry Christmas to all!”, the announcer would say;

To the collection of people bringing the joy this holiday night.

© E.M. Kingston 2021 – All Rights Reserved.

Written in response to Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie’s Photo Challenge #395 using various word prompts

The Glitter Faded Away

Photo by Nicolas Postiglioni on Pexels.com

I used to scintillate in his presence

His words were smooth, wafting in my ears

I was captivated by the mystery in his ways

I was barely reluctant to be his

Until I was, or now that I am

The love he gave became lethal

Or at least the pretense existing

Of the untrue love that he portrayed…

I moved slowly to learn him, never fast

He fooled my heart, soul, and mind

In early moments, I saw myself as his lily

Later, I was just the bologna sandwich

One that he did not want or need to love

It was never real, fake affection

He knew not how to love

I lost the comfort of his words and ways

The glitter of his essence became faded

I opened my eyes.

I saw him.

© E.M. Kingston 2021 – All Rights Reserved.

Life as Love – #WDYS 113

Image Credit: Jonathan Borba @ Pixels

She placed his gift softly under the tree.

Placing the gift as if to decorate the tree with it…

No hindrance to the sparkling lights

It’s placement a presentation of love

Will he notice that it’s special?

Will he see that she picked the box for him?

Will he observe the decorations around making it look special?

The sounds of caroling behind the frosted window glass

Set the mood as he walked in the door

He became breathless at the stunning display

As his eyes met the vivid depiction of her heart

He saw the package presented as her heart’s pedestal

Except only he could see and hold the key

As it was the product of her feelings

It was the offering of her life as his and vice versa

He did notice.

He did see.

He did observe.

She presented an ultrasound.

He presented a ring.

© E.M. Kingston 2021 – All Rights Reserved.

Written for Sadje’s What Do You See?

Sebastian’s Story – Part 25 – The Hunt

The winter snow had come in full force this season, and Indiana was gaining much more snowfall than usual. The collection of snow and ice from the storms made it hard to journey on the highways, but thankfully Lucas had gotten them safe before the roads had gotten too bad. Fiona sat in her room and could not help but worry about Sharon, since she assumed he had been tracking them for a while. It was nearly seven o’clock, and she was beginning to smell the aroma of food seeping through the crack in the bottom of her door. The savory smells made her tummy growl out into the big room. She had showered and then dressed in clothes that she imagined Davina had chosen for her before her departure. They were trendy but comfortable. Davina knew her mother hated being uncomfortable when it came to fashion. Fiona was laid back and never flashy. It was part of the reason she could hardly stand Megan’s wardrobe and the personality that went with the threads. She shook off the thought of Megan as she heard a tapping at the sturdy door of her room.

“Yes, who is it?” Fiona asked.

“It’s Finn. Can I come in?” He spoke quietly.

“Of course! Come in, Finn.” She opened the door and waved him in past the entryway. “What’s up? You okay?”

“Oh…yeah. I’m good. I just wanted to see if you wanted me to escort you down to dinner. This is a big house.” Finn fumbled with the collar on his shirt. “I have no idea how they knew my size, but I have a whole closet full of clothes.”

“Same here. I think Davina set this all up.” She walked over and opened her wardrobe of hand-picked clothes. “See?”

“It’s insane. How in the world did she know I would be here too? Sebastian’s room is amazing. Do you want to go check it out?” Finn had that wholesome smile on his face that he wore on his face when he was not carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. He had no idea of the paradox that was unfolding around the friendly waitress and babysitter known as Sharon an hour away from their paradise. It wasn’t an island wonderland, but the house was its own mini-vacation compared to where they had been staying in the country.

“Sure. Lead the way. I am right behind you.” She felt hopeful for the first time in a while.

Finn escorted her to Sebastian’s room, and he knocked out of courtesy like he did at Fiona’s door.

“Hey kiddo! Are you ready for some chow?” Finn talked into the big, heavy door.

Sebastian came running to the door. They could hear his little feet pitter-patter as he ran towards it. “Mr. Finn! Is that you?”

“It’s me! Can I come in? I have a surprise out here for you.” Finn looked back at Fiona smiling with delight.

“I need help with the door. It’s too heavy.” Sebastian was grunting trying to pull the door open. The struggle could be heard in his voice.

“I got you, little man!” Finn turned the knob and pushed carefully on the door. He had to make sure not to knock the kid out with the heavy piece of wood with brass handles.

“GAMMY! Come see my room! Momma made it special for me! Are you my surprise?” Sebastian tackled Fiona’s leg with so much enthusiasm that he nearly knocked her over.

Finn laughed with them and exited the room to allow Fiona to explore the room with her grandson.

Sebastian led her over to his bookcase. Davina had stocked it with his favorite fables and stories that they would always read together. She put a great deal of thought into the layout of his room. It looked like the little nook that the two of them occupied on Davina’s days off. Fiona felt tears well up in her eyes. Sebastian noticed.

“Gammy, don’t cry. Mommy is all around me and you. She’s an angel.” He walked over and hugged her leg tightly, which made her eyes really begin to streak her cheeks with salty wetness.

Finn knocked on the door again, and the embrace Sebastian had on Gammy’s leg was broken. The knock was urgent.

“Finn, come in!” Sebastian belted out loudly to him.

“I have to go. Jericho was just spotted downtown in front of Boo’s. My source told me that Sharon came in for an unscheduled shift due to someone calling in. The Marshalls are going to meet me there. Save me some dinner?” Finn was disconcerted.

Sebastian nodded his head and said, “I got you, Mr. Finn. Go save Ms. Sharon, please!” He was a bit frantic in his own way.

Fiona followed Finn out into the hallway in front of Sebastian’s room. “Do you think he will hurt her?”

Finn put his head down, “My informant said that Flannery has been watching the café since we pulled away. He was right behind us. We barely got away from him.”

The Devilles used Jericho Flannery like a tracking dog, and Fiona’s concern for Sharon was not far off. He almost had to know about Sharon because he knew about the safety deposit box key and the other various aspects of Davina’s life. He was decisive and precise when he executed his contracts. No one could claim he was not good at his job. This man was trained to hunt, and the horns of the hunt echoed across the snow this night. His instruction in the armed forces was quite extensive. He was formulated for the front lines in the Marines. It was the only thing he was good at after graduating with low grades after high school. The military gave him a purpose. He loved to kill. He loved the chase. He loved the challenge of acquiring his targets. This life of crime was perfect for who he believed he was always destined to be…a psychopath. He was your worst nightmare if he was tracking you because Jericho was not leaving any stone unturned when looking for he meant to acquire you. He did not give up, and he always got his mark.
He sat outside across the street from the café when it was about time for Sharon’s shift at Boo’s. There was a jolly Santa that had his collection bell ringing as he paced the city street in front of Verve and Boo’s. Jericho hated Christmas. It reminded him of the past and a family that never wanted him. It made him think about how the best present he had received on Christmas was a pack of condoms from “Dear Ole Dad” …that’s what the card said inside the box. Other Christmas rituals in his dysfunctional family included getting knocked in the head by his mother for taking a cookie from the counter that she had just made, and cigarette burns from his pops as punishment for that same act. He had a harsh upbringing, and it showed daily in every move he made. He was truly a miserable human being, and he didn’t care to be considered so or to be seen as the murderer and criminal that he was. His truth was that he care less if he woke up the next day, let alone deal with Christmas and happy times with a family that never mattered to him.

He tossed a cigarette out of the window at the end of his reminiscing. He shook his head and snickered under his breath.

He repeated the card’s text under his breath in a sarcastic tone, “Dear Ole Dad…”

His eyes rolled and then came alert as he saw Davina’s friend pulling in the alley to park in the back of the restaurant. He thought to himself that the street was too busy to take a shot from his pistol that was hiding in his dash. He supposed he did not aim to kill her yet anyway. He needed information. He needed to know where his prey went. He wanted to collect his prize from his contract. He had a long time to wait before her shift was over, but he didn’t mind making her skin crawl while he stared her down inside while shoving food in his mouth. I could eat something, he deliberated. He couldn’t remember when he ate last.

He shut off the ignition of his van, and he gathered his weapon from the glove box. His trench coat had a special pocket for his weapon on the inside…custom made, and he placed it there before stepping out into the street.

The wind was gusty and smacked him in the face a few times before he got across the street to the door of the café. As he opened it, the bell chimed to let the staff know someone entered. Sharon was just coming onto the floor, and she greeted him with her usual, friendly smile.

For my new readers, this is an ongoing story. Here are the previous posts:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Part 11

Part 12

Part 13

Part 14

Part 15

Part 16

Part 17

Part 18

Part 19

Part 20

Part 21

Part 22

Part 23

Part 24

Thank you to my fellow bloggers for inspiring this novel! This started from Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge (#FFFC)

xoxo, E.M.

The Phone Call – #FSS 24

This week’s Story Starter from Fandango is:

She overheard the couple whispering in the adjoining room and realized…

that she had to be careful what she said when her phone call finally came through. The walls were seemed to be paper-thin, and the subject of her phone call was not something that she wanted anyone to hear. Felicia Deon was in a peculiar situation, and it was not something that the CIA had spent a lot of time training them about. She supposed when her handler called that she could talk in code, but that would be even more strange and suspect if someone was listening.

She stood at the window overlooking the busy city. Her suite had a great view. The downfall was that there was the adjoining couple to nose into her business. She leaned up against the framing of the window and took a look at the time on her emerald-framed watch. It was nearly ten o’clock. My call should be ringing in anytime now, she thought as she stared at the tall buildings that obfuscated the view to the water in the bay. Her blonde curls were resting on the window, and she could feel the coolness of the night pushing back from the window. It felt nice. Down below her window, she could see the bright decorations that lit up the sidewalks and streets. She could see beautiful crimson ribbons reflecting the holiday lights because they were covered in glitter. It was a beautiful, starry, winter’s eve in New York City.

When her mind stopped wandering and contemplating the situation, the phone in her hand began to vibrate and ring at the same time. It was his ringtone. George Thorogood’s Bad to the Bone. It was a fitting ringtone because Sean was a complex and complicated man that most that encountered him thought to be bad news. He was never known to be a kind man, but he handled Felicia differently than the other agents.

“Hello…” Felicia spoke softly into the phone. “I have to speak quietly…these walls in the hotel are thin.”

There was a brief silence before she heard Sean’s voice come back to her.

“Felicia, I believe you have been followed. You need to get out of that room.” His voice sounded dire, and he rarely allowed anything to frazzle him.

“Who followed me? You said that I was safe and that I would be able to hide out here for a while.”

“Communications…they’ve been compromised from what I’ve gathered from HQ. I have a getaway down in the parking garage for you. There’s a key in the bathroom, behind the light fixture. Langley needs us to go dark for a few days while they figure out the leak.”

She trailed over to find the key in the small bathroom. The key was where he said it would be.

“Where do I go once I get in the car?” Felicia was anxious. She was running out of safe houses to hide in, and with Langley wanting them to go silent…there were going to be limited options for her to get safe.

“There are directions in the car. Go now!” Sean hung up the phone.

She gathered all of her things and started throwing them into her suitcase in no particular organization. She was moving as fast as she could. She had packed more than she could carry, so she left anything non-essential laying on the queen-sized bed.

With the key in hand, she rushed away from the room down the hall of the hotel. Her shoes were a bit slippery on the hallway carpet, causing her to lose a bit of traction in her haste. She passed the mature couple that she had heard in the next room with her slip. Felicia nodded and kept pushing forward, removing her shoes and snatching them up in her hand. She was definitely lacking grace in her steps as she reached the elevators on her floor, and they were dinging to open. She diverted away from them and exited through the stair door. She did not want to chance her aggressors being in the elevator as she stood there like bait on a hook. The stairs were the safer option.

Flight after flight, she made her way down to the basement floor without running into anyone. When she came out the door, she pressed the unlock button on the fob to figure out which car was going to aid in her escape. A black SUV chirped its horn at her, and she could see the brake light on the passenger side light up. As she got to the vehicle, she heard the basement door to the parking garage slam shut and voices echoed through the hollow of the garage.

She began mumbling her thoughts aloud, and said: “I won’t be one of those girls that fumble their keys trying to get in this damn vehicle!

She threw her bag in the back seat of the SUV, hopped up into the front driver’s seat, and stuck the key in the ignition. She didn’t start it yet. She locked her door and slumped down. She could see the men in the rear-view mirror canvassing the lot. The masked men were methodical in their sweep to find her… There was no possible way for her to get away…for now.

The directions were where Sean said they would be. She put the address into the GPS quietly. One sudden move could get her caught or worse, so she stayed as quiet and uniform as possible inside of the truck. She couldn’t let them catch her.

She closed her eyes for just a moment to say a little prayer in her head. When she opened them up again, everything felt more cohesive inside of her body. She was a bit frantic and breathing like she had just got done running a marathon around Central Park. It was hard to bring herself back from a panic, but this time she succeeded. Her mind had a reconciliation with the rest of her body, and she was able to focus on her situation. Her sleekit, agency-trained ways were lacking when she did not have her wits about her.

“Okay, Felicia…you must get out of this garage in one piece. Just start the thing and let’s go.” She was talking to herself to motivate herself.

She looked out each of the windows and did not see any of the perps around. With no one in sight, she carefully turned the key, and the engine purred. She slid the truck into reverse and backed out as fast as she could…not very graceful, she thought.

As the CIA agent put the black truck into drive, one of the masked men stood in front of the vehicle. She slammed the shifter down into “Drive” and nailed the gas pedal as hard as she could. The man escaped being hit, and she drove as quickly as she could out of the garage as the man she nearly hit fired off shot after shot. It broke the back glass of the escape vehicle. She was dodging bullets. Literally.

It wouldn’t be the first time or the last. All she needed to do right now was survive, and she did just that as she turned left out of the parking structure and got away from the guns and men. Her freedom was in sight as she sped away from the hotel.

“Here we go again…”, she sighed the words out of her tight lips as she tossed her burner phone out of the window. “Bye New York!”

Sebastian’s Story – Part 24 – Lucas’s Demesne

Sebastian was like a tiny little Spartan because he was ready for any battle that came at him. He was having the worst time of his life, and he stood so tall and so very strong. Most adults would crumble with everything that had been happening in his young life. He had the heart and strength of a lion. He was like a veteran that had seen all the crimson bloodshed on the battlefield that was able to move on from what he saw unaffected. His mother would be proud of how he was handling all the loss and changes due to her death.

When Gammy and Finn pulled up to Sharon’s house, he was playing outside with Jenna. It startled Fiona a little bit that he was not inside of the home playing with all the Flannery chaos uprooting in their lives. Sharon was busy shoveling the little bit of snow from her walkway leading up to the porch. The pavement still had a shiny, frosty appearance to it where the shovel had scraped by. Fiona avoided it as she walked up to talk to her, as she feared she would slip.

Sharon was surprised to see Fiona so soon after Sebastian left with her, “Hey Miss Fiona! Everything okay?”

“I’m afraid not, Sharon. We are going to have to end the visit sooner than expected…” Fiona felt bad because Sharon and Jenna both had disappointing expressions across their faces. “Is Sebastian’s backpack inside?”

Sharon set her shovel down and head up to her door from the icy steps on her fence-framed porch. “C’mon in Miss Fiona! We will get that bag and get you on your way!”

Sharon was always so pleasant and courteous to Fiona and everyone she encountered. She gave a holler to the kids to follow the grown-ups into the house, and they obeyed peacefully.

“Thanks, Sharon. I’m sorry that we could not let him stay longer. I don’t want to put you in the same danger that we are in, and it’s possible with all the drama going on surrounding Davina’s death. Cole wants Sebastian.”

Fiona saw Sebastian’s backpack sitting by the door when she walked in. She picked it up and was able to certify all his belonging were already packed up. It looked to her like he dropped the bag and went to play, without any hesitation. She kept talking as she inspected the contents of the bag.

“I put some gingerbread cookies in there for him before we left the café, and there’s a few other snacks in there. I know how he likes his goodies!” Sharon said watching Fiona’s meticulous inspection of the bag.

“I appreciate you, Sharon…everything you do for us. You have become a close friend, rather than just part of the wait staff at the café. I am so sad to say that we may not see you for a bit. We are leaving, and I have no idea when we will be back. The last thing I need is Cole grabbing my sweet boy. He’s all I have left.” Fiona trailed off while ending her sentence and directed her attention to Sebastian to change the subject. Sharon realized the shift in Fiona’s mood.

“I appreciate you and that sweet little man too! Jenna will miss him, but your safety is the top priority. I will keep my eye out for you, Fiona. I love you guys!” Sharon developed a small tear in her watery eyes.

“We love you too! We’ll miss you! We will try to see you soon, okay?” Fiona leaned in to hug her easygoing friend. “You stay safe too.” The gratitude exuded from Fiona’s expression and interaction with Sharon.

As they ended their friendly embrace, Sebastian was running around the house with Jenna like a chicken with his head cut off. It was a bit of a madhouse, but the chaos didn’t faze Sharon as she got hit in the face with the ball they were playing with. Fiona stopped Sebastian as he got close to her when he was running about.

“Hey, kiddo! We got to get on the road. Are you ready for an adventure?” Her words were emphasized in an exciting way to prevent him from being worried.

“Yay! I like adventures, Gammy!” Sebastian put his backpack on and started jiggling the door handle to go outside.

“Wait a minute! Give Miss Sharon and Jenna some love before we go, silly boy!” She giggled at his excitement and brought the first smile for a while on her face.

Sebastian giggled too, whipped around to Miss Sharon, and he grabbed a big hug around her neck. Jenna awaited the end of their hug and immediately followed suit. She practically jumped on Sebastian.

“Bye Bastian…I’ll see you,” Jenna said to her blonde hair, blue-eyed best friend.

“Bye Jenna and Miss Sharon…thank you for letting me play.” He turned to Gammy and motioned for her to pick him up. “See you.”

Fiona picked up the little boy that felt like he put on ten pounds overnight, and she walked out the door to meet Finn at the unmarked cruiser. Sebastian wiggled out of her arms and ran towards Lucas.

“Lucas! We’re going on an adventure! Can you come too?” Sebastian tugged at his pant leg happily.

“Of course! I am going to lead the way! Are you good with that?” Lucas smiled down at him, lifted him up, and their eyes came together.

“Yes! That sounds good, Luke!” He fluttered over to the passenger door facing Sharon’s house and waited for Finn to open it up for him to climb inside. “Let’s go!”

Fiona buckled him into his booster seat in the car and proceeded to join him in the car, except this time she sat up front with Finn.

“Gammy needs to sit up here and watch the road for Mr. Finn, okay baby?” She looked back at him through the safety glass that separated the front from the back seat.

“Mhm. It’s okay Gammy. I got snacks. Can I eat them?” Sebastian was always so passive and easygoing. It was good he was so unaffected…for now anyway.

“Of course! Miss Sharon put some cookies and other treats in there for you on our trip.” Fiona nodded in agreement as she pointed out the perks in his bag.

Lucas pulled away, and Finn followed behind him. It was going to be about an hour’s drive to Lucas’s secret spot to hide them. Finn kept looking back in his rear-view mirror to make sure they were not being followed and to check on Sebastian in the back seat. Each time Finn looked back, Sebastian made a funny face at him to make him smile. It worked. Finn could not resist interacting with Davina’s baby boy. He felt like the long, lost uncle. He was growing so fond of Sebastian because he was so clever and resilient for such a young lad.

He looked over to Fiona, who seemed lost in thought while gazing out the window, and he looked back to the road. “You know, I think he’s a good guy. Lucas.”

Fiona came back to reality to Finn’s voice speaking, “Huh, yeah…he seems good.”

“I know you were having a hard time at first, but we had a good talk in front of the café. He loved Davina immensely. He’s hurting too.” Finn tried to win some points for the new guy. Typical guy move.

He was obviously Team Lucas, Fiona thought. She scratched her head that was smothered by a winter beanie. Her locks of hair flowed out the bottom of the beanie in loose curls. “I suppose…I just do not understand, for the life of me, why Davina would keep him as a secret from me. What else did I not know?”

She thought of all the opportunities that Davina would have had to tell her about this new love when they were telling stories between the two of them sitting at their kitchen table or while bundled up in a blanket watching movies on her day off. It would have sparked her interest, and she would have loved hearing that her daughter was in love with Lucas. The relationship with Cole had haunted her after they ran for their lives, and Fiona felt like Davina should have trusted her enough to speak of this man. This…guy… who apparently loved her sweet, dead Davina.

“It sounds like she finally found the real thing. Maybe she wanted to make sure that her divorce would go through first. I don’t know, Fi. You should talk to him. He knows a lot, and he was probably a ranking top 5 person in her life.” Finn had that caring tone in the way he talked to her about Lucas. He knew she was struggling to feel included. He couldn’t blame her for feeling left out in the cold.

“You’re probably right. I think I am just frustrated that my and Sebastian’s lives just keep getting harder behind lies and secrets. All she had to do is talk to me, for God’s sake. I should not have found out like this.” She looked back at Sebastian snacking on the cookies, smiles, and, with a whiffle that she exhausted out of her mouth, “I’ll talk to Lucas. Thank you, Finn.”

Finn gave a nod and continued driving towards their adventure behind Lucas’s black SUV, a Chevy Suburban. “Everything is going to be okay…it has to, Fiona.”

“One can hope…I just want to get wherever the hell we are going.” Fiona looked back out the cold window and held a healing crystal in her hand. She had gathered it from her purse before they left. It was Davina’s. Aventurine…to heal the mind, body, and spirit against erratic behavior. Davina had carved a wing on the surface of the stone for more protection. She said it linked her to her guardian angel. Fiona didn’t argue about it, maybe it did help her heal. Regardless, both Fiona and Davina had that erratic behavior. She wondered; would Sebastian have our temperament? She grasped the crystal tight, and she tried to relax. The reality of the situation told her that it was inevitable that they would never be able to go back to their quiet country home. They had to start over again.

Just then, Finn noticed that the SUV turned into a small drive up the way from where he was driving behind Lucas. They followed him into what would be understood as his demesne. There was a huge and beautiful yard surrounded by a gated area that led up to a big house, and there was a fountain that sat before the front veranda that held the entry to the home in a circle, paved drive.

Finn stopped his police car behind the truck, and Lucas stepped out and walked toward them waving for them to get out of the car. Fiona got out first, and she opened the back door for Sebastian. He popped out of the back seat very ecstatic and ran to Lucas.

“We’re home! Can I go to my room?” Sebastian asked Gammy while sitting in Lucas’s arms.

Fiona was put off again with shock from the question. “Can you…huh?”

Lucas noticed the defeat in Fiona’s lips as they curled up at him a bit. “Sorry, Mrs. Ridings. This all must be a lot to take in.”

She couldn’t help but snap at him, “Ya think? Didn’t you ever wonder about her family? She had me. Her family. This is too much!” She walked towards Finn, white with disbelief.

“Let’s get inside, and then I will tell you everything you want to know. Some of it will make you smile, and other things will not. Regardless, you are safe here. We are all safe here.” He motioned for Fiona to go first up to the door. “Ladies first.”

Fiona smirked at him. “Gee, thanks…” The sarcasm bit Lucas right at his throat.

Sebastian went quiet, and Finn joined him in silence. The tension between Fiona and Lucas was off the charts, and they did not want any part of it.

Finn followed behind Sebastian, “Show me around, kiddo!”

“You got it, Mr. Finn! I’ll show you how to get to your room!” Sebastian ran up the curved set of stairs on the left side of the foyer. Finn followed, and Fiona sat on the bottom stair with the grief consuming her.

“Mrs. Ridings…Fiona…come with me, and I will show you to your room too. Everything will make sense after you have a shower and some food in your stomach.” Lucas tried to show that he cared for her…even with only knowing her for a short time.

When they started walking up the right side of the curved stairs that went to the second level of the mansion, the chimes in the grandfather clock started to ring. She thought to herself, wow, it is midnight again. Fiona was exhausted. The clock reminded her of the bells that were ringing in town, but they were more peaceful and melodic.

As they reached the top of the stairs, Lucas stopped at the first door they came to on the right side. He opened the door and motioned an invite for her to walk inside. There were roses budding in a vase next to the large California King bed. The room was gorgeous, and it seemed to have all her favorites inside of it. It reminded her of her home back in Roland. Davina had to have done this for me, she thought, no one else would have known me like this. She smiled at Lucas, and he smiled back as he backed out of her bedroom suite.

He spoke softly and said, “Dinner is at 7. You will find everything you need in the wardrobe and bathroom.”

Fiona gave a kind nod to him and sat on her bed.

© E.M. Kingston – All Rights Reserved

For my new readers, this is an ongoing story. Here are the previous posts:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Part 11

Part 12

Part 13

Part 14

Part 15

Part 16

Part 17

Part 18

Part 19

Part 20

Part 21

Part 22

Part 23

Thank you to my fellow bloggers for inspiring this novel! This started from Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge (#FFFC)

xoxo, E.M.