Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Paradise Post #12

Notes: Hmm…stuff.  Stuff going on.  Some sex, some stuff, some confessions, some…strangeness.  Oh, Garrett.  What is wrong with you?


Title: Paradise


Part Twelve: It’s Complicated





                The bright spot was, Cody would be okay.  That was the one glowing, sparkling, shiny fucking bright spot in Jonah’s life right now.  His kid would be okay. 

                Jonah didn’t want to think about the rest of it.  Decisions had to be made, he had to…he had to…fuck, he had to tell Garrett what was going on.  He had to tell him about Jack, about Kilroy, even though something deep in his soul quailed at the thought of betraying his people.  Except Drifters weren’t his people anymore, Garrett was his people, Garrett and his family, but…

                Jonah knew it would just take more time.  He had to acclimate to a new way of living, but he couldn’t look around this place without thinking about how beyond his scope it was.  Even on Paradise, where they had their own house, it was still modest.  Three bedrooms, communal living spaces, a decent size kitchen and bathrooms and storage built into most of the walls, and it felt cozy.  It felt right.  This place, it was just too big.  Too opulent.  God knows he appreciated the private infirmary, the doctors, all the toys for Cody, everything that Miles’ position and prominence could do for his child.  There were no permanent treatments for being a natural, but apparently there were a lot of private therapies that could help boost immune efficiency and even do a little to prolong life.  All of that was great.

                What wasn’t so great was the waste.  There was so much space here, too much for so few people.  The mansion was a status symbol, Jonah got that, but it was the kind of symbol he had learned to dislike and distrust from an early age.  He could sympathize with Kilroy, despite all of his crudeness and backhanded ways, because he knew how terrible it could be on a ship when your potential ports were drying up, the supercilious authorities jerked them around and denied them access to medical facilities, to credit, to the chance to set up shop.  It was a terrible thing to be so isolated and alone, especially when you were in need.  And it was hard to reconcile those early experiences with what he was living now.

                Garrett stirred against his chest, slowly coming out of a fitful sleep.  Jonah bent his head and inhaled deeply, filling his lungs with the scent of his lover as he took a long look at his face.  Garrett looked tired, and he still felt cold, despite their close embrace.  His skin was strangely waxy, and sweat dotted his forehead and the dark circles just beneath his eyes.  Jonah had seen Garrett exhausted, he’d seen him stressed and he’d seen him in a state of drugged up post-operative fugue, but he’d never seen him look quite this bad. 

Guilt assailed Jonah, and he pulled Garrett a little closer just as his fiancé’s pale eyes opened.  This was his fault; Garrett was worried sick and there was no reason for him to be.  Or, well, actually there was plenty of reason, but not for what Garrett was probably thinking about.  “Hey darlin’,” Jonah said, speaking softly so he wouldn’t wake Cody, who was stretched out against his leg.  The infirmary bed was surprisingly big, and could accommodate all three of them without too much trouble. 

“Hey,” Garrett replied, his voice a little hoarse.  “Sorry, did I wake you?”

“Wasn’t sleepin’,” Jonah confessed.

“Why not?”

“My brain’s too busy.”

“Oh dear,” Garrett drawled, soft and smiling.  The smile transformed his face back into the one that Jonah loved best, tender and teasing and private, something that was just for him.  “You know, putting brains to sleep is something of a specialty of mine.”

“Is that right?”

“It is,” Garrett said, slowly drawing away from the bed and standing up.  “And I have the perfect place for such a thing.  It’s kind of a delicate operation, requires a lot of space.”  Jonah glanced down at Cody, but Garrett drew his eyes back with a gentle touch to his shoulder.  “He’s fine,” he said softly.  “He’s sleeping.  You need sleep too, and you won’t get it unless we can turn off your brain.  Come on, sweetheart.  Come to bed.  You’ll be back before he wakes up.”

Garrett never had to work hard to convince Jonah to go to bed with him.  He stood up, let his fingers linger for a moment on his boy’s head, then followed Garrett out of the infirmary.  Their suite wasn’t too far away, and as soon as they entered it Jonah expected to get jumped, but apparently something else was on offer tonight.

The lights stayed low, and Garrett’s arms wound sensuously around his neck as he pressed his lips to Jonah’s chin, to the line of his cheek, his temple and the side of his nose.  Jonah strained forward with his mouth, seeking out a kiss, but Garrett evaded him.  “No pushing,” he murmured, “no straining.  Just relax.  Come on.”  He backed off and led Jonah over to their bed, nudged and tugged and pressed until Jonah was lying back against the blankets, his head cushioned by pillows, and his body laid bare to Garrett’s ministrations.

“You’re beautiful,” Garrett told him seriously, brushing a kiss against the base of his neck before sliding down his body.  Jonah wanted to protest, or maybe confess, but then Garrett took him into his mouth and all of his thoughts vanished.  He was still soft and it should have been too much attention too soon, Jonah normally needed something firmer to get himself going, but for some reason Garrett was the exception to the rule.  His mouth enveloped Jonah, all of him, hot and smooth and just holding him while Garrett’s hands went everywhere, climbing across his chest and down his sides and across the firm flesh of his ass.  Jonah hissed and lifted his hips, making more room for his fiancé’s wandering hands.

He hardened slow and easy, pushing deeper into Garrett’s throat, just the very base of his cock exposed to the air.  Garrett didn’t pull back and didn’t stop moving; it was incredible, Jonah didn’t even know how he was breathing, but it felt amazing.  Garrett rolled his balls in one hand, tugging gently, while he circled Jonah’s hole with one cool finger.

“Garrett,” Jonah moaned.  “Darlin’, come up here, let me—” There was a barely perceptible head shake, an increase in pressure around his cock, and then Garrett slowly pushed his finger, dry, a little ways inside. 

“Oh,” Jonah breathed, “oh, fuck, Garrett…” He got deep enough to brush against Jonah’s prostate and that was it, too much, and Jonah tipped slowly and inevitably over into orgasm, thoughtless, peaceful and so right.  He drifted for a while, barely noticing when Garrett moved away and cleaned up before coming back to bed.  When Jonah reached down to start to return the favor, though, he found Garrett soft.  It was strange; he was never soft after giving a blow job.  “Darlin’?”

“I’m just tired,” Garrett assured him, pulling the blankets over both of them and curling in close.  “Later, sweetheart.  Get some sleep.”

“No,” Jonah sighed.  “I need to talk to you.  I’ve made you wait long enough.”

Garrett froze absolutely still for a second, then relaxed against Jonah’s body.  “Tell me.”

Jonah sighed deeply.  This was it.  Moment of truth.  “When I went to meet Kilroy, there was someone else there.  It was Jack.”

“Wait, Jack Jack?”  Garrett lifted his head a little, real surprise in his eyes.  “Your ex Jack?”

“That’s the one.”

“What the hell did he want?”

“To…”  Jonah tried to sit up, to make some space, but Garrett held him down.  “It’s complicated.”

“Just tell me in the simplest way you can,” Garrett urged him.  “Is Jack working with Kilroy?”

“After a fashion.  Kilroy wants…he wants information.  He want me to,” fuck fuck fuck, “to put skimmers in the mansion.  He wants ship names and numbers, for false identities.”

“Okay,” Garrett said soothingly.  “Okay, we can deal with that.  You haven’t done anything yet, you’re fine, and there’s no reason for you to do anything.  What else?  What’s the connection with Jack?”

“Jack is Kilroy’s ace in the hole.  He wants rights to Cody.”

Garrett lifted his head in shock.  What?”

“I know.”  Jonah covered his face with both hands.  “I never thought it would happen.  He was so against the whole idea of it when I brought Cody home, he was so adamant, I just…I didn’t tie up loose ends.  I just took Cody and ran away and tried to leave that all behind, but Jack’s got a lawyer now and…shit.”  Jonah took a deep breath, then pulled his hands away and looked straight at Garrett.  “The deal is, if I help Kilroy, Jack will work somethin’ out with me.  If I don’t, then he sics his lawyer on me and I could get forced into an arrangement that’s not…good.  He might be able to take Cody away from me.”

Garrett’s expression was absolutely cold.  Jonah lay still, frozen with fear until his fiancé spoke.  “First things first, it’s not just you.  It’s us.  And no matter how good your ex’s lawyer is, I can find one that’s better.”

“You can’t know that,” Jonah insisted.  “Law as it applies to Drifters is complicated, and we didn’t exactly get our boy on the up and up.  That’s what Kilroy’s banking on, to get me to deal with him.”

“He’s coercing you, he can be arrested for that.”

“He can just deny it all, there’s no record of the conversation.”

Garrett squeezed his eyes shut for a moment.  It almost looked like he was fighting himself, but when he opened them again they were clear and calm.  “It’s going to be okay.  We can handle this.  No one is going to take Cody away.”


“No, sweetheart.  That’s not going to happen.  It simply isn’t an option.  Even if the impossible happens and Jack’s got a leg to stand on, I’d be willing to pick up everything and fly our family somewhere not even a Drifter could find us.”

Jonah’s heart lurched a little.  “What, leave Pandora?  And Paradise?”

“If it means keeping us all together.”

“How could you just—baby, you’ve got so much here, your whole family, your career—”

“It doesn’t matter.  You two are more important.”  He leaned in and kissed Jonah, long and hard enough to take his breath away.  “But it’s not going to be necessary.  I promise.” He kissed him again, then settled in against Jonah’s side.  “Go to sleep, sweetheart.  Go to sleep.”  He rubbed his hand rhythmically against Jonah’s chest, and despite himself, Jonah drifted into unconsciousness.




                Garrett slowly extricated himself from Jonah’s embrace and out from under the blankets.  Jonah stirred but didn’t wake, and Garrett was relieved.  His heart was stabbing in time with the burning coal of shame in his stomach.  He hadn’t told him.  It was his chance, and he hadn’t said anything. 

But it wasn’t necessary!  Yes, Garrett had a recording of Jonah and Kilroy’s conversation, his ship’s com automatically recorded and saved calls coming through it for two standard months, and yes that could help in the long run, but it wasn’t going to be necessary.  And, all right, yes, he had promised to tell Robbie if Kilroy had proposed spying on them, but he knew that Jonah had a soft spot for the Drifter no matter what he said, and he didn’t want to damage that relationship any more than it already was. 

A distant part of Garrett’s brain tried to point out to him that he was behaving irrationally, and that it was something to be concerned about.  He ignored it.  He had other things to do, better things to do.  He could handle everything.  He got out of bed and straightened his clothes, and left his lover sleeping as he slipped away.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

* Updated* Damn It, Will Robinson!

Okay, so my laptop looks to be going on the fritz again.  Power and connection issues, this thing is a real kinky machine.  I'm not sure how long it will take to fix.  It could be done by this evening, I could be languishing for longer. *sigh*  In the meantime, I'm gonna save my battery.  Damn it, damn it, damn it.  Sorry.  It's just today is my day off, it snowed 4 inches overnight, I have a cup of tea and a fuzzy blanket and everything, and now my nearly favorite toy is broken again.

Help me, mechanically inclined husband-man.  You're my only hope.

***My husband is the Dr. Frankenstein of gadgetry.  He pulled out his soldering iron, screwdrivers, shrink-tubing, friendly plastic and an entirely new plug setup and proceeded to make my computer sing for him.  Yes, it looks a little odd now (I have three inches of yellow cord sticking out of the original plug) but it works, and that's what's really important here.  In exchange, I made him banana bread (yeah, I realize it's disgustingly domestic, but whatever, it's cold and snowy and he's awesome.  I won't even relate how much other stuff I got done while unable to use my computer, because it would make me feel inadequate at life).

So!  That's awesome.  Also, I'm a reviewer now at Bending The Bookshelf, and my first review is up today!  The novel is called Acclamation, and if you want to happily drown in gorgeous description and slow romance, read it.  If you don't have time for pages and pages of internal monologuing, don't.  Check out the review for more details.

Finally, 8 inches of snow!  I hope it continues.  I'm living off a well now, and the last thing I want to do is haul water (been there, done that, not going back if I can help it).

Happy Friday to you, whatever your weather.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Paradise Post #11


Notes: Cody takes center stage again!  This is getting seriously plotty, and a little heavier than I imagined it would, but we’re definitely going places.  Read, enjoy, comment if you feel moved.  The future changes in my head all the time.


Title: Paradise


Part Eleven: Bugger All






It was hot at the edge of the mountains, out on the dry, rocky expanses of barren soil.  Thérèse dotted Cody’s face with sunscreen and watched it spread to cover all his exposed skin before giving him the okay to leave the shuttle, and even then she made him wear a hat.  “It doesn’t even have any of the Space Rangers on it,” Cody complained.  “My helmet has lightning bolts.”

“And mine is plain old brown.  Be happy you get a blue hat,” Thérèse advised unsympathetically.  “And no running off.  You stay within ten feet of me the whole time.  Don’t touch any of the things that you see without checking in with me first.”

“What about a rock?” Cody grumbled, wishing again that Garrett or his daddy could have come with him.  Or Wyl.  “Can I touch a rock?”

“No.  There could be rock spiders.”

“Really?”  Actually, that sounded pretty cool.  “Spiders that look like rocks?”

“Spiders that live under them.  They’re black and they have twelve long legs and they’re aggressive.  Don’t move the rocks.”

“Then what can I do?”

“You can stay close to me and ask before touching anything,” Thérèse said.  “Now.  Where do you want to start?”

Cody stared out at the landscape.  Red rocks, brown dirt, and tiny swirls of dust where the wind kicked up eddies.  “Are you sure there are actually salamapedes out here?  How can anything live without water?”

“There’s some water,” Thérèse said, walking over to a small rocky outcropping.  “When it rains, the water seeps into the ground and the cracks in the rocks.  It stays there for a long time, and these plants,” she pointed to a small, hard nubbin that looked almost the same as the surface of the rock itself, “grown down to use it throughout the year.”  She pulled the small, rough bud free and opened it up with the edge of her nail.  Cody leaned in close and saw how the pulpy innards glistened a little.  “Little creatures feed on the plants, and other creatures feed on them.  Plus, most of the animals that live out here don’t need a lot of water to survive.”

“Oh.”  Well, that was different.  “I’m more used to fish stuff.”

“That makes sense,” Thérèse agreed.  “Since you live on Pandora.  Are there many fish?”

“I think so.  Garrett said most of them are too big or live too deep in the ocean to be seen, so I’ve only seen two types.  The marine biologist he works with brought the little ones to show our class.  One had all these little tentacles that would poke out of a hard shell to cling to the rocks, and the other one was about this big—” Cody held his hands about six inches apart, “and it was round, and almost flat with just a little bump on top, and the bump had an eyeball in it!  It was really cool,” he grinned.

“It sounds really cool,” Thérèse agreed.  “There are some cool things here, though.  Let’s look around for them.”

Thérèse wasn’t from Paradise, she came from the same home planet as Claudia, but she was really good at tracking.  She found bug trails in the dirt, they watched a whole colony of linky ants build body chains that stretched over five feet long, and they even saw a fluffy little pikka stick its head out from behind a rock and make a grab for a shiny piece of dirt.  “What was it getting?”

“Silicates,” Thérèse explained.  “It used them to lay a trail out in front of its burrow to help attract a mate.  I guess the female pikkas like a shiny house.”

“I like a shiny house too,” Cody confided.  They watched the little pikka scuttle away, so light it didn’t even kick up any dirt.  “Once I made my whole room reflective, even the ceiling.  Daddy couldn’t even go in, he said it made him dizzy.  Garrett liked it, though.  He said it showed off his good side.”

Thérèse sniffed derisively.  “He thinks every side is his good side.”

“Why don’t you like him?” Cody demanded.

She frowned.  “What makes you think I don’t like him?”

“Because you never talk nice to him.  You just make fun of him or ignore him.  I know you thought I didn’t notice,” Cody added, and he knew he sounded a little like a brat but his daddy wasn’t here to tell him not to, and it had been bothering him.  “People always think kids don’t notice things, but I do.”

“So you do.”  Thérèse pursed her lips for a moment.  “I admit that Garrett has never been my favorite person, but it’s not really personal.  We have very different backgrounds.  I tend to…be a bit abrupt with people I don’t understand.”

Cody frowned.  “And that’s okay?”

“Oh, heavens.”  She rolled her eyes.  “We’re through talking about this.  We’re supposed to be finding salamapedes.”

“But you said they live under rocks and you won’t let me touch any of those!”

“I’ll turn some over with my boot.”

They went around to different structures and found loose rocks, small enough for Thérèse to tip over with the toe of her combat boots.  Three of them were barren underneath, one had a small rock spider that curled up into a ball and rolled into a sandy tunnel before Cody could get a good look at it.  The fifth one, though, had a salamapede beneath it, a small, flat creature that reared up as soon as the rock was removed.  It raised its foremost legs and waved them threateningly, turning from dusky brown to a brilliant crimson color in a matter of seconds.

“Wow!”  Cody kneeled down next to the rock and leaned in to get a better look.  “It’s so pretty!  I thought you said the animals wouldn’t be bright colors ‘cause that wasn’t good camouflage.”

“Some of them change colors when they feel nervous or alarmed, or when they’re defending themselves,” Thérèse told him, crouching down next to him.  “Oh, even his eyestalks are changing color.  He’s a mad little guy.”

“We should put him in the container Garrett made,” Cody said.  “Then we can take him back for my science project and then we can bring him back out here so he can be in his home again.”

“Where is the container?”

“I left it in the car.”  Thérèse gave him a look, and he said defensively, “It’s too heavy to carry around for hours and hours!  Will you go get it, please?  Pleeeeeease?  I can’t run as fast as you and he might be gone by the time I get back!”  He widened his eyes a little and clasped his hands pleadingly.

“You’re already too much like him,” Thérèse groused, but she pushed up from the ground and walked in long strides back toward the shuttle.  Cody turned back to watch the salamapede, entranced by the way it waved back and forth, back and forth.  It was kind of…hypnotizing.  He leaned in a little closer, putting his hand down on the overturned rock to help hold himself up as he did.  He didn’t even see the tiny, almost translucent insect huddled behind a plant bud that he almost crushed, or feel its stinger scratch the base of his palm.  He did feel the heat though, blossoming immediately in his hand, making it feel stiff and spiky.

“Ow!”  Cody sat up and looked at his hand.  It was pink becoming red, and there was a little black circle down near the bottom of it, right in the middle of the irritation.  “Thérèse?” he called out, not really scared but starting to feel a little dizzy.  Uh-oh.  Dizzy wasn’t good.  “Thérèse…”  He slumped back onto his bottom and watched his fingers multiply before his eyes.  It looked like a monster’s hand.

There was the sound of something falling, then fast footsteps running to his side.  “Cody?”  Thérèse was there, holding him up in her arms as she bent her head close to his.  “What happened?”

“I just put my hand on the rock,” he protested, “there wasn’t even anything there.  I just wanted to look a little closer.”  His hand spiked with pain, enough to make him whimper.  “I don’t feel good.”

“We have to get you back to the mansion, now,” Thérèse said briskly.  She hoisted him into her arms and started walking again, fast but not quite running.  Cody’s vision was a little blurry, but he could tell when they were back in the shuttle, and felt the sudden tightness of a pressure bandage around his arm.  The shuttle was moving, and Thérèse was talking into a com. 

“I need to know if antihistamines are contraindicated for him.  No, he was stung by something, I don’t know what.  No…no, he needs medical help now, I didn’t have time to look for the animal.”  Cody felt her hand press lightly on his throat.  “No, no problems with his breathing yet, and his pulse seems regular.  But he said he doesn’t feel good, he was on his side when I found him, and he’s in pain.  Yes.  I’ll bring him in that way.”

They weren’t far from the mansion.  It only took ten minutes to get back at top speed, but by then Cody’s hand was itching as well as painful, and he scratched at it fruitlessly before Thérèse noticed he was doing it and held his other hand down.  “No-no, Cody,” she said to him, gentle but not right.  She wasn’t who he wanted.  Tears welled in his eyes and he couldn’t stop them, even though he didn’t want to cry now, he was too big to cry. 

The shuttle stopped, people were there, strange hands and strange people and Cody didn’t like it, he felt cold and hot all at the same time.  They laid him down on a soft surface and he was okay, he really was, until something sharp went into his arm.  He wailed and tried to kick, but he wasn’t strong enough.

“He doesn’t like shots,” a new voice said, and it was one of the best voices.  Cody’s vision was blurry but he turned toward Garrett anyway.  “Let me in.”  A second later the bed shifted, and Garrett pulled his head onto his lap.  “Hey, sweetheart.”  Cody felt a cool kiss on his forehead.  All of Garrett felt refreshingly cool.  He buried his face in Garrett’s stomach and whimpered.  “I know, it sucks, buddy.  But they have to give you another couple shots, okay?  It’ll make you feel better.  I promise.”

“Don’ like ‘em.”

“I know, but it’ll be over with soon.  I promise.”

Cody sighed heavily.  “’kay.”

“Thank you.”  Garrett ran his hands through Cody’s hair and distracted him during the other shots, and when the doctor took blood.  He got kind of fuzzy after that, but what he did know was that Garrett didn’t leave.  He stayed, and it was almost as good as having Daddy there.




                “Oh hell.”

                Garrett opened his eyes and looked at Jonah as he hurried across the infirmary.  “All I heard was somethin’ stung him,” Jonah said as he leaned in over both of them, his gaze glancing uneasily between them.  “I got back as fast as I could.  Is he okay?”

                “He will be,” Garrett said.  Something raw in him felt soothed as he saw his fiancé, even overpowering the warring guilt and curiosity he’d dealt with all day.  “The doctor figured out what stung him and they gave him antivenin, but because he’s a natural it’s going to take a lot longer for his body to deal with both the toxin and the side effects of the cure.  The dizziness and nausea should taper off gradually.  He’ll be here for a few days, is the current estimate.”

                Jonah didn’t say anything, just sort of sank into the edge of the bed and laid his hand across Garrett’s where it rested on Cody’s head.  “Fuck,” he muttered.  He looked ragged around the edges, rough, and Garrett desperately wanted to ask what had happened, but he had no idea how to phrase it without letting on that he’d been spying, and now…now was not the time to let on about that.  Not with Cody the way he was.  “This has been one of the worst days,” Jonah said quietly.

                “I know the feeling.”  Garrett leaned over and kissed Jonah’s temple.  “We can deal with everything else later, though.”

                “Right.”  Jonah kissed him back, sweet and soft against his lips.  “You feel cold, darlin’.”

                “I guess you’d better cuddle up, then,” Garrett suggested, and they settled in around their kid, putting off more reality than either of them realized in favor of a few hours of peace.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Paradise Post #10

Notes: Oh, jeez!  Things just keep rolling over our heroes!  The next part will likely be a split POV, and I can almost promise some sweet sweet loving, even if it isn’t the uber-smexy scene I’ve got written up.  You will have it before the story is up, though.


Title: Paradise


Part Ten:  Staggering From Day To Day







“Jack.”  Jack Jack Jack…  Jonah numbly shook out the bottom of his shirt, soaked with water from the glass he’d just fumbled and dropped.  Jack…it hardly seemed possible that he could be here.  Jonah hadn’t spoken to Jack since the night he took himself and Cody away from his mother’s ship, and then it had only been via com.  He hadn’t seen him in person for…god…three years.  Four.  Not since Cody had barely been walking. 

Jack looked so close to how Jonah remembered, tall, a little thicker through the torso and thighs, strong and solid.  His hair was a dark, curly mess, the same texture as Cody’s.  His face, roughhewn but attractive, wore a hard expression.  He sported enough stubble to practically qualify as a beard, and there were a few grey hairs in the mix that Jonah had never seen before.  “Where the hell did you come from?”

“Been prowling this system for months, ever since I figured out who your new paramour is,” Jack said as he sat down at the table, spitting the word “paramour” like it was a curse.  “I thought you’d head here eventually.  I couldn’t afford to fly all the way out to Pandora to see you, but I’ve got enough connections out here that I found the work to keep me close.”

“But why are you here at all?”  Why the hell are you here?  Why are you fucking with my life right now?

“’Cause I decided I’m not gonna let you be the judge of whether or not I can be a part of our kid’s life,” Jack said flatly.

“What?”  Surely Jonah wasn’t hearing this right.  “As I recall things, you dictated the situation to me back in the beginnin’ when you said we couldn’t take him and oughta throw him back.”

“I was in shock, Jonnie.”

“Don’t say that,” Jonah snapped.  “Don’t start callin’ me by names that you think mean something, you don’t have that right.”

“And you don’t have the right to keep me from my child just because I made a bad decision years and years ago!” Jack replied, his own voice rising with strain.

“Ho-kay,” Kilroy said, raising his hands placatingly.  “Let’s just calm things down now—”

“So, what, you had some grand moment of goddamn revelation and decided the best way to fix your woes was to throw your lot in with this jackass?” Jonah demanded, completely ignoring the third wheel.  “Do you have any idea what he’s askin’ me to do?  And you wanna help him to commit, fuck, treason by forcin’ me to betray the confidence of people who never treated me like anything other than family, just so you can reclaim some sort of happy family daydream?  It’s not gonna happen, Jack.”

“If he’s the only way I’m gonna get close enough to make you work with me, then I’d help him burn this whole place to the ground,” Jack said.  There was no give in his face, no flexibility in his expression.  “I’d make a deal with the devil himself to make my point to you, Jonah Helms.  Kilroy ain’t quite the devil, but he’ll do.”

“No need to be insultin’, now,” Kilroy protested, but he shut up a second later as two sets of eyes glared in his direction.  “Fine, fine, I’ll just…I’ll just go talk to your young man, huh Jonah?”  He stood heavily and wandered over in the direction of Corporal Kelly, who was looking rather grim faced on the other side of the room.

Jack watched him go.  “That’s not…”

“Not my fiancé, no.  He’s my bodyguard, and I’m less than a minute away from feignin’ an injury and havin’ him take you out for me, so why don’t you tell me exactly what you want, Jack?  We’ve known each other for too long to dance around like this.”

“I agree.”  Surprisingly, Jack backed down, the rigid line of his broad shoulders relaxing some as he looked down at his hands.  He had big, firm hands, heavily calloused, so different from Garrett’s.  Jonah could remember the way they felt on his hips, his back.  He squashed the memory down viciously. 

“We were together for a long time, Jonah.  I’ve known you since we were kids, your mama was like my own.  I switched allegiances and joined your clan when we got together even though we could have gotten our own boat, because it was what you wanted, Jonnie—Jonah, sorry.  Jonah,” he raised his eyes and looked straight across the table, “you’ve been a part of my family for most of my life.  It wasn’t always easy, but we made it work for a long time.  We could have made it work with Cody.”

“He can’t live on a ship,” Jonah said, remembering this argument from before.  “It’s not clean enough, goes too many places.  Doesn’t matter how many things we vaccinate him against, he needs a stable environment to be healthy.  You didn’t want to give up on the lifestyle, you didn’t want the burden of a kid who’s gonna grow old and die in a fifth of your lifetime, you didn’t want us.  Those are your words, not mine, Jack.  And gettin’ my mother on your side, gettin’ her to speak to me for you…that was low.”

“It wasn’t the best play, but I was out of options by then.  You’d already run with my first, frightened impressions and cut me off.  Yeah, frightened,” he added when Jonah scoffed.  “I was scared shitless, Jonah, how was I supposed to be acting?  Calm and collected, reasonable, even when things are changin’ so fast I couldn’t keep ‘em all straight in my head?  You stopped livin’ with me, you cut me off with the rest of the ship.  I had to get my own boat after all, only this time it was just me, no one to share it with, no family.  Then when our kid gets big enough to start interactin’, becomes someone I can really get to know, you decide it’s time to take off for a bright new world.  Leave all the rest of us behind, and take the dregs of the life I always wanted with you.

“Well, no longer.”  Jack leaned in close, speaking softly but firmly.  “I’ve made mistakes in my life, Jonah, and lettin’ the two of you go is something that I regret every day.  But while I know better than to try and get you back, I’ll be damned if I let you keep me from our kid any longer.  When it comes down to it, legally speaking, he’s half mine.  You never served me papers and I never gave up my parental rights.”

Jonah stared in astonishment, his hearing a little muffled.  He could barely feel the tips of his fingers, for some reason.  “So, wha—” He cleared his throat, then tried again.  “What, are you saying that you’re throwin’ your lot in with Kilroy as a way of forcing me to give you access to Cody?”

“I’d be pushin’ for it either way,” Jack replied, “but there are two ways I can go about this.  I spoke with a lawyer already, a good one.  I could legally claim that by takin’ Cody away without gettin’ me to sign off on it, you were kidnapping him.”

Bullshit,” Jonah growled.  He had never wanted to badly to hit another man as he had in that moment.

“I could,” Jack continued warningly, “or I could keep this just between the people it really concerns.  We could work out a deal to let me see him without gettin’ the law involved.  This is what I want, Jonah.  I never wanted to hurt you.  I did, and I’m sorry about that, but I’m not gonna back down just because I made some mistakes in the past.  You work with Kilroy, we’ll take that path.  You don’t…” He let it drift off.

“You’re blackmailing me.”

“I’m doin’ what I’ve gotta do to see my boy.  He’s it, Jonah.  The only good thing I have left from the life I always wanted, and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna vanish into the dark like some sort of specter just ‘cause it’s easy.”  Jack sighed deeply.  “You get any paler, I’m gonna have to force your head between your knees, just like when you were sixteen and pulled too many g’s in that shuttle.”

“Don’t do me any favors.”

“I don’t reckon I am,” Jack said, and he sounded genuinely sad about it.  “I’m sorry, Jonah.  I mean that.”  He pushed his chair back and stood up.  “You’ve got three days to get us an answer.  You could give us up to the Federals, but there’s nothin’ to prove yet, and that ain’t gonna make me go away.  It’s just gonna make me fight harder.”  He turned and left, and Kilroy followed him out. 

Corporal Kelly came over to the table frowning.  “Are you all right, sir?”

Jonah couldn’t catch his breath in time to speak, so he just nodded.  It was maybe the biggest lie he’d ever told.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

This Was My Saturday

Hi darlins.  General update post, plus a snippet of my RL, which was just funny this week.  Paradise in a few more days, I'm working it up for you now:)

Let's see, I'm submitting a story to a charity anthology Storm Moon Press is putting out for Lambda Legal.  I've got a story titled The Solstice Gift coming out in a Total E-Bound anthology in December, focusing on Oberon's court and the Winter Fae.  I'm very proud of that one, it's got some pretty interesting world-building, plus, TEB is awesome enough to give me my own cover, even though the story is part of an anthology.  View, and feel yourself flutter:

I'll snippet you again as we get closer to the release date.

I'm also going to be doing a serial story project with Storm Moon Press.  The title is up in the air, but it's going to consist of sex episodes of everywhere from 10-20k words, with a new episode being posted every month.  The episodes will be fairly self-contained but will build on each other up to the finale.  This is going to start in January, and getting a handle on the writing will be my NaNoWriMo this year.

And now, RL hilarity!  My man and I went to watch the Colorado Arm Wrestling State Championship at McCarthy's Sports Bar and Grill yesterday, and it was awesome.  Only two women competed, but there were men of every height, weight, and arm preference.  Two of Damian's scientist friends took championships in their weight classes, and we duly cheered them on.  It was pretty fun.

The competitors take this pretty seriously.  That's a specially made table with elbow rests and pegs for the opposite hand to hold onto in the pic.  There's all sorts of strategy and things like top-rolling and hooking, and then there's the bondage version, where the ref ties the competitors together because they can't stop moving their hands trying to get an advantage with grip.  Gotta say, that part was my favorite.

Happy Sunday, darlins.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Paradise Post #9

Notes: So…you’re going to read this and then you’re going to want to strangle me, because…bit of a cliffhanger.  Just a little one.  Teensy.  Weensy.  Little cliffhanger.  And still no sex.  WHYYYYYY?????  Well, because, lovers.  But enjoy it all the same.


Title: Paradise


Part Nine: Listen Up







Jealousy.  It was an ugly word.  It was a word that Garrett had heard thrown in his direction by far too many people to completely discount.  Garrett knew, he was perfectly aware, of his tendency to be proprietary towards people and things.  He played and he tasted and he sampled, but when he found something he wanted to keep, he sank his claws in and clamped down tight.  He had tried to break that mold with Robbie, and look what that affair had turned into: history. 

Jealousy was indicative of all sorts of other less than savory emotional and physical habits, like clinginess, a sharp tongue, a complete disregard for personal privacy…in short, it meant Garrett acting like an asshole.  So he tried to reel it back, tried to consciously prevent himself from behaving like an ingrate for Jonah’s sake.  It was hardly his fiancé’s fault that he was too polite to tell Kilroy Whoever-the-fuck-he-was to take his overture of friendship and shove it.  The man wanted to “talk.”  That was fine, Jonah could talk with whomever he wanted to.  Garrett knew, he did, that nothing the man could say would persuade Jonah to go back to that life, so there really wasn’t anything to worry about.

Plus, he was too busy to worry.  Garrett had let his work schedule slip those first couple of weeks, and after a firm discussion with Martina over the com, he threw himself into the backlog.  That, plus tutoring Cody for four hours a day, plus helping Claudia decide between cream colored or ecru linens, daily conversations with Wyl and occasionally Miles and Robbie, and doing his damndest to exhaust his lover every night meant he was completely played out.  There was no time for indulging subconscious fears.

Well…that wasn’t completely true.

“You want a what?”

“A slimdisc.  Just for listening!” Garrett emphasized.  “I don’t need visual, I just want to be able to hear what they’re saying.”

“Gare…” Robbie looked as close to floored as Garrett had ever seen him.  “You do realize that you’re asking me to help you spy on your fiancé.  You don’t think that’s overkill?  You could just ask him about his talk once it’s over with.”

“Jonah’s not going to tell me the things he thinks will upset me, though.”

“And that might be smart,” Robbie rejoined, “given the way you’re acting now.”

“Oh please, as though you aren’t just as interested in finding out what those Drifters are up to,” Garrett scoffed.  “You’d have him bugged yourself if you thought he’d agree.”

“But he won’t.  I know that, without even having to ask, which is how I know that Jonah isn’t going to appreciate this from you.”

“He doesn’t have to know.”


Garrett slammed his hand down on the desk between them.  The noise startled both of them.  “I’m coming to you with this because I need this, Robbie.  It’s ugly and it’s stupid and it’s unworthy, but surprise!  That’s me sometimes.  I can’t sink any lower in your estimation of me, you’ve known me for too long.  I’m trying to preserve Jonah’s illusions for just a little bit longer, so please, help me with this.  Or I’ll risk what’s left of my reputation by asking around on the open market.”

Robbie looked honestly bewildered.  “What…Gare, I don’t think badly of you.”  He narrowed his eyes.  “You’re sweating.  What’s really going on?  Are you sick?”

“I’m fine.”  And he was.  Completely fine, except for this strange, tugging ache inside of his chest.  It felt like someone was hammering, very gently, on his heart, trying to pry it loose from its attachments.  Anxiety.  It was just anxiety.  “Are you going to help me or not?”

“Fucking hell.”  Robbie made a face, then stood up and turned to one of the in-wall cabinets.  One touch opened the drawer, from which he took a small plastic container.  He pulled something out of it, resealed the drawer and came back to sit on the desk beside Garrett.  “Slimdisc,” he said, putting the transparent circle in Garrett’s hand.  “The transponder number can be read by and synced to your com.  It’s got a very limited range and it’s very fragile, so don’t get it wet or run it into anything.  Take the tab off the back and it’ll stick to his clothes.”

“Thank you,” Garrett said fervently.  He stood up and hugged Robbie, enjoying the way it made the hammers in his heart slow down for a moment.

“Just don’t make this into a slippery slope,” Robbie grumbled.  “And if you hear anything about bugging us, I want to know about it immediately.  That’s the justification for me giving you this tech, got it?”

“Got it.”  Garrett pulled back and tried not to wince as his chest began to hurt again.  “I’ll be good.  I promise.”  He left, and tried not to let the irony of his last statement get the better of him as he brushed his com against the slimdisc, then went to find Jonah so he could attach it to him before his meeting.

Jonah and Cody were at the family breakfast table, along with Miles and Claudia and Renee.  Cody was eating, but all Jonah had was a cup of coffee in his hands.  He stared at it pensively, brows drawn together, but he perked up when he saw Garrett.  “Hey, darlin.”  He reached an arm out and pulled Garrett into a kiss.  It was almost too easy to slip the slimdisc under the hem of the front of his shirt, and as soon as he did a wave of guilt wracked Garrett, so strong that he felt weak in the aftermath.  He covered it up by sliding onto Jonah’s lap and turning their kiss into something deep and long and almost overpowering.  Distantly he heard Claudia giggle and Cody make a gagging sound, but he didn’t care.  Everything was fine as long as Jonah didn’t push him away.

The kiss finally ended, and Jonah looked at him starry-eyed.  “What brought that on?”

“Oh, nothing in particular,” Garrett said easily, waiting for his legs to stop trembling so he could stand up.  “Just indulging a whim.”

“Try to hold off on indulging like that until you’re in the bedroom,” Miles said dryly from across the table.  He had Renee in his arms and was feeding her a bottle.  “The rest of us are trying to eat.”

“You’ve seen worse.”

“Oh, I know.  That doesn’t mean I want to relive your teenage years.”

“You’ve done worse yourself,” Claudia reminded her husband, coming in on Garrett’s side.  “I think it’s sweet.  And hot.”

“Ooh, naughty step-mommy!” Garrett grinned.  He felt his legs steady and got to his feet, resolutely not staring at the spot where he’d left the slimdisc.  “What are you two doing today?”

“I’m talking to the caterer at three,” Claudia said.  “Will you be here?”

“I should be.  I’ve got a ton of work to catch up on.”

Cody’s face fell.  “Does that mean you still can’t come look for salamapedes with me and Thérèse?”

“Sorry, Cody.”  Garrett squeezed his shoulder gently.  “But you’ve got the container I made you to put one in, right?”  Cody nodded.  “When you guys get back, we can look up the taxonomy of it together, okay?  Your teacher will be so impressed with your biology study when we get home.”

“Can Daddy help too?”

“If Daddy is home by then.”  Garrett arched a brow at Jonah.

“I should be,” Jonah said.  “Can’t imagine my meeting with Kilroy’ll last more than an hour or so.”

“Lovely.  And you’re taking Kelly?”

“I’m taking Corporal Kelly,” Jonah agreed, rolling his eyes.  “Anything else?”

“Not a thing.”

They went their separate ways after breakfast, and Garrett retreated to his ship, where he did all of his work.  Also, there he could copy the transponder onto the ship’s com, which would make for easier listening.

Really, at first it was pretty boring.  Garrett calculated out climate modeling equations, modified his various programs and tried not to feel relieved when the minutes passed and all that Jonah and Kilroy talked about was common acquaintances, shipside issues and various ports they’d visited.  Maybe his paranoia had all been for nothing.  Maybe everything really was fine.  Maybe…

“Can’t get a permit to land on Ostria anymore,” Kilroy griped over the line between noisy sips from a mug.  “Can’t get permits on half the planets in the Fringe these days, not for the big ships, and our little shuttles just ain’t big enough fast enough, y’know?  If we had an emergency and had to land, some places would as soon shoot us out of the sky as look at us.”

“That’s rough,” Jonah said, and he really sounded like he meant it.

“It is.  Havin’ to resort to other options, these days.  Lotsa people don’t like Drifters, but tell ‘em you’re something else and they can’t welcome you fast enough.  I came into Gregoryville broadcastin’ a Federation signal and they rolled out the red carpet.”

“Broadcasting another ship’s transponder code is illegal.”

“We don’t use ‘em more than once,” Kilroy said placatingly.  “Not lookin’ to get pinched by the Feds, or ruin anyone’s reputation.  It’s not a charade we can keep up for long, you know, pretendin’ to be Federation.  Independent merchantmen, they’re a better bet, but a little harder to get codes for.”

There was a long silence.  “So you do have a skimmer.”

“How’d you know that, Jonah?”

“It’s how you found me, isn’t it.”  His voice was angry.  “You’re skimming ships as they land here.  God damn it, Kilroy, do you know how much trouble you’ll be in if the Feds can confirm this?  Your whole clan could be brought in for questioning, they could arrest people…hell, even if they don’t, the fines would cripple you.  You can’t do this any longer.”

“No other choice,” Kilroy said softly, but he was just as angry.  “You don’t see it anymore, do you?  Their constant disdain.  Their classist bullshit.  Like we’re nothin’ to them, like we’re not even people just because of how we choose to live: free, not tied to a single planet.  You used to care about this, Jonah.  Used to get you riled up, how people would disregard us, lie to us, ignore us.  You used to be a fighter.  Then came a pile of shit about your kid and your momma and your man—”

“Don’t talk about Cody to me.”

“And you gave up.  Gave up on the life you love, the life that made you the man you are, because your little feelins got hurt.  Well guess what, boy?  The wound don’t vanish just cause you slap a bandage over it.  You ain’t seein’ it now, but us, we’re livin’ it still.  And if I gotta steal a few codes to get my people fed, to get them care and support them, then that’s what I’ll do.”

In the sudden silence, Garrett realized he’d just typed over a thousand zeros in a row because he wasn’t paying attention.  He began to repair the code, slowly, captivated despite himself.

“I don’t see what you want from me,” Jonah said at last, sounding tired.  “I won’t tell anyone you’re skimming,” Garrett bit his lip as he heard that part, feeling guilty about Jonah and Robbie now, “but I’m just a guest here.”

“But you have friends in high places.  If you heard the right things, got into the right places…maybe left a microskimmer here and there—”

“I am not helping you spy on my fiancé’s family!” Jonah hissed.  “That’s a military facility as much as a residence, and when—not if, when—they found the skimmers, you could go down for treason.  They could hang you for that, Kilroy.”

“Not if we were already gone.  I’m that desperate, Jonah.”  And determined, from the sound of it.  “Figured I might not be enough to convince you, though.  Soon as I heard you arrive here, I sent word to a mutual acquaintance of ours.  Someone you might be more willin’ to listen to than me.  Someone with personal business with you.”  There was the sound of a chair scraping back, and a moment later Jonah’s breath caught in his throat.  Another chair scraped, then there was the sound of breaking pottery, a cut-off swear word—

Then nothing.  The slimdisc went dead.

“Oh no.”  Garrett checked the transponder signal, then tried his com.  Nothing.  “Oh no no no…”

Shit.  The connection was gone.  From the sound of things, it had probably gotten wet when the zawhatever-it-was broke.  Shit.  Mutual acquaintance?  Personal business?  If it was someone Kilroy knew, it couldn’t be good. 

Garrett’s first urge was to call up Jonah and tell him to come home immediately.  His second urge was to drive into the city, track Jonah down and bring him back in person.  Neither of those options worked if he wanted to keep his bug a secret, though.

He’s okay.  Physically, Jonah had to be fine.  Corporal Kelly was with him, and if anything was wrong, he would have sent an alarm back to Robbie before diving into the fray.  The kid was a brutal fighter, Garrett had seen him exercising with the other marines.  He could handle a Drifter; hell, he could handle a dozen of them.  So Jonah was fine.

But that sound, oh…that choked sound of surprise and shock.  That hadn’t been good.  Garrett’s own throat tightened just to remember it.  But there was nothing he could do.  He had to wait for Jonah to come home.  He just had to wait.

Garrett stared at his program but didn’t see it, and clenched his hands in time with the painful hammer of his heart.  He just had to wait.  That was all he could do now.