Friday, April 29, 2011

Flashfiction - Out of the Mud

featuring the characters from Checkmate
550 words


Coming home from visiting Don at the store, Vincent parked in the driveway and for a few seconds watched the intense rain beat the windshield. The spring storm didn’t look like it would abate any time soon, so there was no point in waiting for the rain to stop. Finally getting out of the car, he rushed to the front door, shoulders hunched, splashing water with each step.

He had his keys in hand but the door was unlocked, as usual. Lilia had once told him that locks were for people who didn’t have fangs. He tried not to argue about that; some things were not worth fighting over.

It was also a gesture of peace if he toed off his shoes in the entrance and shrugged out of his jacket rather than tracking water inside. He was surprised to see that Lilia’s leather boots, on the mat behind the door, were wet, too, and splattered with mud. Had she gone out in the rain?

“Lilia?”

“In here.”

He followed her voice to the living room and, of course, the fireplace. They had only lived there for a few weeks, but it was already her favorite spot in the house – that, and the oversized tub. She was standing with her back to the roaring fire, wearing nothing more than her underwear. Her jeans and shirt – Vincent’s shirt, he noted, amused – were piled up on the right side of the hearth, mud staining them both. She was toweling her hair dry.

Vincent approached slowly, his eyes roaming over her, enjoying the lovely view she made. She caught him staring and grinned, then threw the towel at him.

“Dry yourself. You’re going to catch your death.”

He grinned back and ran the towel over his hair. “Would you worry that much if it didn’t mean your death, too?”

She huffed and turned to the fire, rubbing her hands together toward the flames. “Funny, Jordan. Very funny.”

He grimaced as he watched her. He wanted to ask her to take a step back so she wouldn’t get burned, but any such advice was likely to be met with little more than scorn or an eye roll, so he didn’t bother. Instead, he draped the towel over his shoulder and came to stand behind Lilia, his arms easily sliding around her. She shivered when he pressed his mouth to her neck over the silver scar he had left on her skin what seemed like so long ago.

“You went out in the rain,” he said, his lips still caressing the Mating marks, and his tone made the words a question.

Lilia arched her neck a little more and rested her arms over his, entwining their fingers. “Hmm. It’s nice to be out during the day, sometimes.”

The admission surprised him; she wasn’t one to dwell on things she couldn’t do. “What did you do outside?”

She turned in his embrace and gave him a mysterious smile. “You’ll see.”

“See what?” Vincent asked – or at least he tried to. She covered his mouth with hers mid-word, and for the next hour or so, Vincent didn’t worry about anything, not even the mud on Lilia’s clothes.

But a few weeks later, when tulips, daffodils and hyacinths started blooming all around their yard, he remembered, and understood.

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