Not sure how we end up with two flash fictions in a row, but… It’s time for June’s Promptly Penned. I love seeing where everyone goes with this one. In the past, I’ve tried hard to use the prompt as the opener, but…when I saw this month’s, I decided it had a very specific location.
Here’s the prompt…
Person A: “How long have you been standing there?”
Person B: “Longer than you’d like.”
I think you probably know where I want these lines to go, lol. So, without delaying any longer…
Devlyn paced the length of the room, hands fisted at her sides, heat simmering beneath her skin. She did her best to stem the anger burning hot in her stomach, but each deep breath only infused Ryker’s scent into her senses, reviving the memories she’d spent the past six months burying.
She paused at the back of the sofa, allowing her frustration to manifest by punching the top of the cushions. The material scratched at her knuckles, the slight sting easing the tight feeling clenching her muscles. What the hell was she doing? And why had she even agreed to work with the bastard after everything he’d done.
Or hadn’t done.
She hissed out a curse, allowing her head to tilt up as she strove to control the frantic beating of her heart. God help her, but she still had feelings for the man. Still shivered at the sound of his gravelly voice, still reacted physically to his presence. It didn’t matter that a part of her wanted to claw at his chest and rip out his heart—a larger part wanted to love him. Hear him whisper her name as he held her close, making her feel whole when she rarely felt anything other than emptiness.
“You goddamn, son of a bitch!”
She let her voice echo in the small room. Just another factor that pissed her off. For some unknown reason she’d allowed him to convince her to stay behind—heal. Well, her side could heal after they stopped Strider from hunting down every last mark they had. Destroying not only the centre’s reputation, but years worth of work on cases still waiting to be brought to trial. Until then, she’d work through the pain. Besides, the wounds were nothing compared to the hollow feeling inside her chest. The one that made it hard to breathe whenever Ryker was around.
A dull ringing tone interrupted her thoughts and she made her way over to the coffee table. One of her burner cells vibrated across the wooden surface, the name Penelope Reid flashing across the front.
Devlyn grabbed the phone, putting the call on speaker as she answered it. “I thought this mission was silent running. No communication with anyone, even you.”
Penelope snorted. “Is that any way to say hello to your best friend? You seriously need some down time, Dev.”
Devlyn grinned, darting to the fridge to grab a beer as she raised her voice so her friend could still hear her. “While that’s true, I also know that if you’re calling me, it’s not as my BFF. So spill. What the hell does the director want now? Isn’t it bad enough I have to work with Ryker?”
“Which is exactly why I’m calling—as your friend. When I heard…” She sighed. “You okay?”
“You mean besides standing here warring between wanting to kill the bastard and wanting to pounce on top of him and fuck him into submission? I’m peachy, thanks.”
Penelope tsked her. “We both know you want to do far more than fuck him.” The woman’s breath sounded through the room as she exhaled. “You’re still in love with him, aren’t you?”
Devlyn flopped onto the sofa, taking a swig from the bottle, glancing at the phone. She contemplated taking it off of speaker, then changed her mind. Ryker wouldn’t’ be back for another hour or two, and it made the cabin less lonely hearing her friend’s voice fill the space.
“Love’s nothing more than a mirage. An image you see in the sand that’s not really there. And I, for one, am not going to be fooled again. Especially by the same, arrogant jackass I let break my heart before.”
“You do know you use deflection when you don’t want to answer a question, right? Like changing the subject or making a blanket statement.”
“I thought you didn’t want to be an operative? Because it sounds a lot like you’re profiling me.”
“Just because I’m calling you on your bullshit doesn’t make me the enemy. It makes me your friend. One that’s worried this situation might end up getting you killed.”
Devlyn groaned. “Thanks for that vote of confidence, sweetie. Glad to know you admire my skills as a field agent.”
“That’s not what I meant and you know it. I’m merely worried that being around Ryker will be distracting. And god only knows what might happen if you’re too focused on him instead of the mission.”
“I’m fully focused on the mission.”
“Which one? Where you stab him in his sleep or fuck him?”
“Currently? I’m leaning more toward killing him, though I’d never stab the bastard. Way too much clean up involved.”
Penelope sighed. “And there you go using humour to cover your feelings. This isn’t healthy, Dev. It’s just me. Can’t you just be honest for one second? It’s not like I’m going to tell anyone.”
“You already know the answer to that.”
“Why is it so hard for you to admit you’re still in love with him?”
“Because he left. And not just with my DVDs or my favourite sweater. He left me for dead. Bleeding on that godforsaken platform, without so much as a backwards glance. Admitting I ever loved him is…weak.”
“I don’t think it’s that black and white. He must have had a reason. Have you asked him?”
“Fuck, no. Besides, it doesn’t matter. He’s had six months to explain…I don’t care anymore.”
“But that’s the problem. You do care.”
Devlyn rubbed her hand down her face, letting her head fall back against the cushions. “Admitting I feel anything but soul-deep anger towards him is…”
“Is the truth. One that scares you more than facing Strider or a dozen rogue agents. Because it means you’re human.”
“It means I’m stupid. Ryker’s made his feelings and his priorities clear. And I’m didn’t make the cut on either list.”
“You’ll never know that unless you talk to him. Hear what he has to say. If nothing else, it might give you some closure.”
“Don’t worry, Penelope. I have all the closure I need in the form of the front door.” Devlyn rolled her shoulders, taking another drink. “I’m fine. Just…see what you can do to track down those two leads for us. The quicker we find Strider and haul his ass in, the quicker I get to go back to being—”
“Alone. You’ll go back to being alone and miserable, like you’ve been since you and Ryker split up.”
“Maybe. But it beats the alternative.”
“Being happy? Loved?”
“Hurt. Again.” Devlyn leaned forward, bracing her elbows on her knees. “Come on. Do you really believe there’s anything he can say that justifies how he left? Honestly?”
“As a matter of fact, I do.”
Devlyn jumped when the male voice sounded behind her, tripping to her feet as she reached for her weapon, pointing it at the man standing in the doorway, a couple of bags of groceries snugged in his arms. H’ed centred his gaze on her, those brilliant blue eyes studying her every move.
She forced her arms to lower, tucking away her gun before crossing her arms on her chest. Penelope’s voice sounded over the speaker, but all Devlyn could do was stare at Ryker’s blue eyes. Her lungs burned in protest and she realized she was holding her breath.
She reached for the phone, muttering a token “I’ll call you back,” at Penelope before tossing it down. Her pulse thrummed in her head as she gathered her composure, nodding at the man. “How long have you been standing there?”
A cocky smile lifted his lips as he leaned against the doorframe, looking as if he didn’t have a care in the world. “Longer than you’d like.”
And that’s it for me. Now go and check out the other ladies….