Sunday Story Segment, writing

Hero : Asena Ch. 13

Feel free to check out the earlier chapters of Asena first. 

 

“What are you doing here?” I asked. My eyes were wide and my hands balled into fists. This could not be happening. Not now. 

“Can’t I just stop by?” he asked, his charming grin that had let him pull a thousand cons sliding into place. He looked older but not by much. His hair was still full and wavy. The deep black color struck a handsome contrast to his pale skin. His eyes seemed even darker, but he looked healthy enough. He wore a button up shirt with the sleeves rolled up and his black pea coat was draped over his arm. 

“No, you can’t,” I retorted, crossing my arms and sitting down. 

“It’s good to see you too, princess,” he said and slid into the chair Marlene had just left. I flinched at the pet name and dug my fingernails into my palm. I didn’t want him to see any kind of reaction. 

“I thought you were out in New Hampshire?” I asked, trying to catch him off guard. 

Instead, he smiled broadly. “Checking up on me?”

“Making sure you’re not hurting innocent people. Like that widow five years ago,” I said cooly. 

“You really have been keeping tabs on me,” he said and leaned back. He hung his coat on the arm rest and crossed his legs. I straightened mine, realizing I was mirroring his position. 

“Nope,” I answered. “But I did have a run-in with your former partner who thought I’d make a decent ransom to get the money you conned him out of.”

“What?” he asked, his smile gone. “If he laid a finger on you–”

“I can handle myself,” I said, cutting him off. “I’ve already dealt with it.” Huh, I thought. If that wasn’t what had brought him through my door, I wasn’t sure what else it could be. 

“That’s my girl.”

“I’m not your girl anymore,” I spat out. I unclenched my fist a few times and slowed my breathing while he stared at me with a small sad frown tugging at his lips. 

“You will always be my baby girl, I don’t care how much you grow up,” he finally said.

“What are you doing here?” I asked. I held my hands tightly together to avoid fidgeting.

“I wanted to see you. And see this new business you’ve got,” he said, smiling as he glanced around the room. “How many clients do you have?”

“Enough.”

“Any exciting jobs?”

“Nothing really,” I said and narrowed my eyes at him. 

“C’mon, there has to be something. Fill your old man in.”

It clicked as I realized what he was fishing for. He wanted Marlene for his next mark. “I’m gonna kill him,” I said, my nostrils flaring. There was only one way he would know I was working with her. 

“What?” Harold asked, and for a second it finally looked like I had thrown him off his game. 

“When did you see him? How long has he known you were coming?”

“I don’t know what–”

“Don’t you protect Danny. He had no right to tell you about my life!”

“You always were clever,” he said, frowning. “But don’t blame the boy. He’s always been an easy one to con. It sounds like I’m not the only one who’s been doing it. He told me about your meeting in the jail. I don’t think you were really looking for info on me, were you, princess?”

“Get out of my office,” I said quietly. 

“Princess,” he drawled.

“GET OUT!” I stood up, knocking the chair back. 

The door to the office slammed open, making both of us jump. Marlene stood in the doorway, her hair wild and her eyes big. Her cell phone was in her left hand and a canister of mace was in the other. She glared at Harold as if he was pure evil. 

“If you don’t leave right now, I’ll call the police and have you thrown in jail for trespassing.” Her voice shook slightly but she stood her ground. 

Harold blinked, wide eyed and stunned for a moment. 

I tried to stop smiling but couldn’t. Marlene looked like an avenging angel and Harold was more surprised than I had ever seen him. 

“You heard the lady,” I said, chuckling lightly. “Out you go.”

He turned to look at me and slowly got out of his chair. “I’ll be back, princess. I’m sticking around for a bit. Someone needs to watch out for you.”

“Someone already is,” I said and was surprised that I meant it. I looked over at Marlene and threw her a grateful smile. She gave me a tense one in return. 

“Huh,” he said and swung his arms into his coat. He gave Marlene a long look as she let him pass out the door. Once he was down the hallway a bit, she ran to the door and slammed it shut, locking it behind her. 

“Are you okay?:” she asked. She stared at me as I giggled slightly. “Are you in shock? Should I slap you?”

That sobered me a bit and I shook my head. 

“Marlene, you just met my dad.”

“Oh,” she said and guilt flooded her face. “I thought…”

“You were amazing. But what are you doing here? I thought you left?” She flopped back on the couch on the far side of the room and I walked over, sitting next to her. 

“He was in the hallway when I left. He seemed to be waiting for me to leave and I was pretty sure he had a gun in his coat pocket when he took it off. I rounded the corner and then waited outside after he went in to make sure you were okay.”

I opened my mouth to say something and realized I had no idea what to say. Though she had been wrong about me being in danger, she had just rushed in to save my life armed with nothing but a close range spray and a phone against a gun. 

“You didn’t have to do that,” I said quietly.

“I know,” she said emphatically. “But whether you like it or not, you’re my friend. And friends look out for each other. You’re stuck with me.” She crossed her arms and looked at me sternly, waiting to hear my disagreement. 

I was pretty sure Harold didn’t have a single person who would have done the same for him. 

“Partner and friend? That’s a lot, but I guess I can make it work.” I said with a small smile. Olive branches were pretty new to me but I must have done it right, because she shrieked and hugged me tightly. 

“That doesn’t mean I take back what I did,” I said, detangling myself. “But I’ll let you know next time.

“I’ll take what I can get,” she said with a laugh. “Do you think you’re dad is gonna hate me now?” She bit her lip.

I laughed out loud. “That was probably the best first impression you could have given him.”

writing

How to Avoid Getting Murdered in a Quaint English Village — Nicholas C. Rossis

Enjoy this hilarious read from Nicholas C. Rossis. For anyone who loves a good English murder mystery or is looking to take an English holiday or simply wants to laugh.

We’ve been watching a lot of Midsommer Murders and the likes with Electra over the years. From which we have concluded that few places are as dangerous as quaint English villages. Now, a hilarious article by Maureen Johnson on Crime Reads, explains just how dangerous they really are – and what you can do to […]

via How to Avoid Getting Murdered in a Quaint English Village — Nicholas C. Rossis

Sunday Story Segment, writing

Bluffing : Asena Ch. 12

The next chapter in Asena is here and the spunky detective has some surprises in store for her! It has been a while since the latest update so feel free to check out the earlier chapters of Asena first. 

 

My office usually felt like a second home. I had slept here many nights and I could walk around it blindfolded. 

Today it felt a lot less like home.

“How dare you do something so risky without telling me?!” Marlene barked. She resumed her pacing, slowly wearing down my carpet in front of my desk. I was plopped in my chair behind the desk, attempting to act as if what she was saying was rolling off my shoulders. 

Instead, all I could think of was how my father had betrayed every partner he had. 

“I get you didn’t like our plan,” Marlene said, stopping in front of me. Her coat and gloves were discarded on the chair she had flung herself out of after hearing of my trip to the police department. She was in a flouncy green dress with crimson tights on that nearly matched her hair. “But we’re partners,” she said, her lip trembling more than it had been as she was raging. She sat back down and took a few deep breaths. 

“I’m sorry,” I stressed. “I just didn’t want you to get hurt. And I had to move fast.”

“Texting takes like two seconds,” she said. She crossed her arms in front of her. “You didn’t need to put yourself in danger.” I resisted the urge to laugh. She had planned to deal with some big nasty criminals with nothing but a handful of money to keep her safe. Yet when I go in to a single criminal who was already behind bars that I had a great deal of leverage on, she gets upset.

“I was safe,” I stressed. “He never would have hurt me while he thought I had the tape.”

“But you were bluffing!” she said, her voice raising.

“Marlene,” I said, my voice dropping. “This is the world I live in. It isn’t safe. It isn’t an adventure or some fun mystery novel. People get hurt, and I will put myself in danger if I need to. I’ll do what I have to to get a job done. And that bluff worked. Trust me, I know what I’m doing.” 

“You waved an old Maroon 5 CD at him,” she said, throwing her hands up in the air. 

I stared at her, my arms crossed. 

She stared back, her bottom lip stuck out in defiance. 

“What did Danny say to this plan?” she asked. 

I bit my lip. I hadn’t even realized she’d paid enough attention to Danny to even remember his name. But the smirk on her face told me she thought she’d won a point. 

“Danny helped me, that’s all that matters.”

“Did he even know?” She was annoyingly perceptive, and I remembered again why I had agreed to let her help. She was good at getting a read on people, which meant I needed to be a lot more careful around her. 

I put on a sweet smile as I answered. “Danny knew plenty. He may have not been thrilled with the idea, but do you really think he’d let anyone go in there if it wasn’t safe?” She frowned as she thought about it. “And speaking of, I had the whole of the police department around me. Nothing was going to happen and I have complete assurance that nothing will happen. And, now I don’t have to worry that my friends are going to get themselves killed on a fanciful idea.”

“Friends?” Marlene asked after a moment, a half smile curling her lip. 

“Associates,” I corrected as if I didn’t care. What was I doing? I was getting way too close to her. Even Emmett was blurring the line of friend and informant. 

I sighed loudly. “It’s probably best if you left. I have another case I need to do some background reading on and the quiet would help.” 

She stood and gathered her coat. Her eyes darted around the office and finally landed on me again. “You can lie to me all you want. You’re good at it, but I figured out your tell.” She stalked out of the room, leaving a whisp of sweet perfume in the air. 

It felt like she had taken all the energy out of the room too. I slumped in my chair and leaned my head against my palm. 

She was right, I didn’t have another case. I had a few people I could call or email back but nothing that sounded worth it. I just couldn’t deal with this weird sense of guilt that kept rising as she sat there, concern seeping into every annoyed word of hers. I didn’t do guilt. I avoided the feeling as much as possible and if I couldn’t, I would avoid the person who reminded me of it. It’s why I hadn’t seen Danny in months. And it certainly was why I didn’t want to see Marlene. 

I should read up the names that Bernie had given me, but even that didn’t interest me. 

“Ahh,” I growled. I stood up, pushing my chair back forcefully. “I’m better than this. I don’t need anyone!” I shouted to myself, my breath coming out ragged.

“Well, I hope you still need your old man,” a voice said quietly from the doorway. 

“Dad?”

WordSmith Musings, writing

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