Howdy all! I’m working on the final edits for Healing Glass, but I was getting twitchy without new words, so I’m splitting my week into editing days and writing days. And for this WiP Wednesday, I’ve picked one of the stories I’m actually writing at the moment: Two Divided by Zero, an extension of an older short story, Bait & Tackle.
I wrote that one for the Kickass Anthology to help author Eric Arvin and his family. And adding Jack’s backstory into the tale all the way back then would have made sense to nobody. Not without me expanding the short well past its brief.
Now, though…. it’s time to tell that part of Jack’s story in full. (Especially since I’ve just booked myself an editing slot for it to make sure it doesn’t slip through the cracks again. 🙂 )
And since it’s WiP Wednesday… there’s a bit for you under the image…
Regrets and Coffee
“I can’t settle to anything,” Jack admitted.
“Ah can see tha’,” Rio scoffed. “Ah know how you look when you’re no’ sleepin’. Wha’s up?”
“’s not as if it came out of the blue, you know? Me leaving the army, I mean. I’ve thought about it for a whole bloody year. Only now, it’s…” He swallowed. “It’s a mess.”
“Ah never understood why you joined up in the first place. But once you were in, it seemed to suit you, didn’ it?
“Like the comfiest pair of slippers,” Jack replied without thinking twice about it. Then he shook his head. “Ah, no, that’s pushing it. It wasn’t all fun and games, but… yeah, it suited me.”
“Then why did you leave?”
And wasn’t that the jackpot question? “I made a mistake.”
“Can’ have been too bad a one. They didn’ throw you out.”
“No, but—” Jack hated that he couldn’t even explain the mess he’d mired himself in. Rio was good at untangling mess… if he knew where Jack was going, that was. “My CO got shot and it was my fault,” he tried again, voice wobbling a little when the shadows of sand and blood teased at the corners of his vision. So much fucking blood—
“Did he tell you that?”
“Did he argue for or against you leaving?”
Jack felt the heat in his neck. Fucking Rio. Always with that voice and the uncomfortable questions. He’d always been able to do that, put his finger right on the sore spot. And just as always, he was as patient as the tide until Jack had sorted out what to say in reply.
“He didn’t want me to leave.”
“You’ve always been a stubborn sod.” Rio got up and left the room. When he came back, he held two bottles of beer, dewing in the warmth of the living room. “Way I see it? You’re runnin’ on regrets and coffee, Jack. Tha’s no way to live your life.”
It wasn’t. The exhaustion dragging on him told him that as much as the dark cloud that seemed to be hanging over him, and the empty spot in his days where Gareth Flynn had been.
He’d screwed up.
It was high time he accepted that and moved on.
Gareth wouldn’t appreciate him wallowing. Neither would Rio.
And as if on cue, Rio set his beer down and got to his feet. “Now, do you feel up to helpin’ me with a little project? Ah reckon it be righ’ up your street.”
And before I run off…
Since it’s Wednesday, today is your final chance to bag the first four Jack & Gareth books at a very special price! I don’t often get the chance to do a flash sale, but – thanks to the wonderful folks at Dreamspinner Press – I got to put the first three Power of Zero books on sale for $0.99, $1.11 and $2.22 respectively. And because it wouldn’t be fun if you only got a shot at three of the first four books, I’ve added a deal of my own for Swings & Roundabouts!
So… if you’ve not yet met Jack and Gareth, don’t delay, because this deal won’t stick around much past Midnight tonight. 🙂