Happy holidays, folks. And welcome to the last edition of Promptly Penned for 2016. Christ, where did the time go? I swear it vanished. I remember training for my race then bam, it’s nearly 2017. Though I hope to run a ton more in the new year…once this silly groin is fixed for good.
By I digress. So… at least some things don’t change. It’s down to the wire and I, as usual, don’t have anything for this post. But, in the spirit of giving, I’ll try. Here’s the prompt…
It’s odd how life is rarely about those big important choices, but hinges on the small stupid choices you didn’t even realize were choices until it was too late.
And here’s the resulting story. I’m continuing on from July’s Song Fiction. Which I think was a continuation from a couple of other ones, lol. You can hop skip and jump back if you’d like. But hey, I’m desperate.
Devon groaned as she rolled her head to the left, wincing when the slight movement sent a jarring stab of pain through her temples. Either she’d drank far too much tequila, or she’d fucked up. Again. She pried open her eyelids, blinking the scenery into view. A man sat in the seat beside her, his face washing in and out of focus with the passing lights. The window wipers slapped against the windshield, keeping tempo with the music playing quietly in the background.
She stared at the man’s face, wondering why he looked familiar when images and memories came slamming back—fighting off Slader, barely making it back to the facility alive, stumbling into Smither’s office.
The guy glanced at her, frowning when their gazes clashed. “Go back to sleep before you start puking on me.”
Names bounced around in her head, one finally sticking. “Ryker?”
“So that’s a positive on the concussion. Might have to make that trip to Mercy General, after all.”
“What…” She groaned as more pieces of the evening shifted through her mind. “Damn. I’d kinda hoped it had all been a dream.” She glared at him. “Or should I say, nightmare.”
“Guess this wasn’t your lucky night. Is that patch job I did holding?”
Ryker shook his head. “Mercy General, it is.”
“No.” She grunted as pain throbbed through her side when she reached for his arm. Instead, she lifted her shirt, staring at the taped up bandages. “You did this?”
“You never were that great at the medic side of things, Dev. Those Sterie strips you’d plastered on your skin hadn’t come close to closing the wound.”
“It was the best I could do with Smithers breathing down my neck. I was going to fix it.”
“When?” He arched a brow. “Because you passed out before we made it out of the damn building.”
“If you hadn’t distracted me, I would have been out in half the time.”
“Or, you would have bled to death on Smither’s floor.” He sighed, focusing purposely on the road. “I’ll freeze and stitch it once we get to the safe house. Where you’ll keep your ass planted to the couch until some of the colour returns to your cheeks. You look like a ghost.”
A new pain sizzled to life in her gut, only it had nothing to do with her injuries. “Don’t worry, you’re still the resident spectre where I’m concerned.”
He slid a glance her way before raking his hand through his hair. “I’d explain, despite your protests, but something tells me you’re not going to remember any of this once you finally get coherent.”
“I’m plenty coherent.”
“Right, which is why you were surprised to see me when you woke up.” He turned to look at her, flashing her a smile that dropped her stomach and made the interior of the car overly hot. “Just…go back to sleep. We’re still a ways out. I’ll wake you once we get there.”
Devlyn let her head fall back against the seat rest. While she wanted nothing more than to challenge his claims, the incessant pounding in her ribs and echoing beat in her head stole her resolve. It didn’t help that she already felt as if she was fading, her vision starting to darken around the edges.
Ryker’s hand landed on her thigh and he smiled again when she managed to met his gaze. “I know how pissed off you are about…well, everything. But just for tonight, trust me to keep you safe. And yeah, I know how hypocritical you probably think that is, but it doesn’t change the fact I’m the only backup you have.”
She released a weary breath, allowing some of the tension to ease from her muscles. “Who knew accepting a lame-ass money laundering assignment would end like this. Of all the ways I’d seen it finishing, this didn’t even make the list.”
She slapped at his shoulder, ignoring the strength of his muscles as her hand connected with his body. “Not sure what you find funny? Pretty sure I’m the last person you want guarding your ass, considering I’m just a liable to kick it as save it.”
His expression sobered. “I’ll admit. This wasn’t what I had in mind when I walked through the doors to Smither’s office tonight. But like my grandpa always said… It’s odd how life is rarely about those big important choices, but hinges on the small stupid ones you didn’t even realize were there until it was too late. Thinking we’re both victims of that.”
“Trust me. I’m intimately familiar with all of the choices that lead me here. And they started six months ago on that damn train platform. Not that it matters.” She closed her eyes, wishing for the hundredth time she’d killed Slader instead of worrying about her damn mark. “Fine. We’ll play it your way for now. But don’t think this changes anything. You’re still the enemy, albeit the lesser of two evils at the moment.”