Flash time!

Since I’m participating in NaNoWriMo this month, all of my flash’s will be from my WIP for the month of November, which just happens to be book 3 in the McCord series. Consider these sneak peeks!

This week’s prompt was one that took some thought, but actually worked well with my character. Dare, Deja’s brother, is a bit of a smartass. So it actually worked perfectly. It’s also the longest flash I’ve done so far, but I wanted to share the entire scene.

Prompt: They say you don’t dream in cryosleep

Dare stepped inside the house, sighing silently. This house, besides the crappy look of peeling paint outside, looked like a real home. Cozy. Lived-in. Cheery.

He stood in the foyer, able to see down the hallway that led to the kitchen, the stairs leading to the second level, and the living room off to his left.

Pink curtains covered the living room windows, little frilly stuff hanging off the walls. There was even a chair made out of what looked like pallets, with intricate designs painted on it. And the smell. A lavender type smell that made his nose itch.

This house didn’t reflect his sister at all. But shit, what did he know? He hadn’t spoken to his sister in the past ten years. It was for the best. Staying with her wouldn’t make everything okay in the world. Nothing would.

“Are you hungry?”

Dare eyed his sister and shrugged. He was a lot of things right now. Hungry wasn’t one of them.

“Don’t do this. Don’t shut me out like this.”

“I shouldn’t be here.”

“Fine. Get out.” She threw her hand toward the door. “Go get drunk in the bar and arrested again.”

Now, this. This was his sister he knew. The tough one. The one who didn’t take shit from anyone. Not this girly shit decorating the house.

“I didn’t drink tonight.”

Deja propped her hands to her hips. “You smell like a damn brewery.”

Dare narrowed his eyes. “That’s because the big lug who got in my face, threw his beer at me.”

“Why’d you go there in the first place?”

He turned away from her penetrating eyes. “Do you own this place?”

“I hate it when you ignore me like that.”

He grinned, glancing at her. “Just acting like your brother. Just like you wanted me to. That’s what I do.”

“Fine. We’ll ignore the elephant in the room for now. This is my friend Sophie’s house. She’s getting married soon and decided to move in with her fiancé next door. They’re neighbors. She said I could still stay here.”

“Free of charge?”

“God, no. I’d never let her do that. I pay rent.” She sighed. “Not as much as I would like, because she’s stubborn, but I pay some.”

“How much?”

“Why?”

He cocked an eyebrow. “I’m having a conversation with my sister. I thought you’d appreciate that.”

“You can be such a jerk.” She turned toward the kitchen and walked away. “Three hundred.”

Nobody was that nice. Not in their world. “That’s pretty damn low. What’s the catch?” He followed her into the kitchen.

“There is none. Sophie’s the best friend I never had growing up. She gets me. I get her.” Deja stood at the counter, her eyes glued to a pie. “She gave me a new beginning when I didn’t deserve one.”

“Don’t say shit like that. I’m the only bad seed in the family.”

“Her fiancé—Austin—I broke into his house and stole money from him. A few days later, I tried to steal from her.”

Never. His sister would never do something like that. She was the only bright light in their family. “I don’t believe that for a minute.”

She turned around and rested against the counter. “Believe it. If not for Sophie, I would’ve been arrested. Because of her, Austin let me pay him back the money I stole and the cost to fix his window I broke.” She looked down at the floor. “When you left, life wasn’t easy. I had to do things I’m not proud of. I was all alone. I still feel alone.”

“Deja…” Shit. What did he say to that? Didn’t she see how bad it would be if he stuck around? “That’s why I should go.”

Her head snapped up. “So I remain alone? It was an—”

“Shut up.” He pressed his lips together to stop himself from spewing more hateful things. That asshole back at the precinct was right. His sister deserved to be treated better. He knew this, yet, couldn’t stop himself. He didn’t want to keep hearing her say it was an accident. The hell it was. He killed their parents. That was no accident.

“Life wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns for us, Dare. I’m not saying they deserved what happened, but I don’t miss them as much as I miss you. We were a team. You can’t have a one-man team. I need you.”

Brows puckered, fists clenched, her stance like beams of steel. He still saw the pain, the anguish, the strength it took to say those words. He didn’t deserve those words. He didn’t want to hear them.

“Don’t say that. You don’t know what you’re saying. I’m bad.”

“You’re not.”

“Deja, I was high as a kite that night. I should’ve never—” He eyed the pie behind her, anything to look at but her trusting face. “It’s in the past.”

“We’ll get you some clothes tomorrow and look for a job. Both of us.”

Why did she insist on helping him? He should’ve kept those handcuffs on and let them toss him back into prison. He fit in there. Here. In her world. He felt like an interloper.

“You have a job. What was that asshole’s name again? Your boss that got into my face?”

He wanted to smile. At least someone was trying to take care of his sister. Something he should’ve been doing all along. Not sitting in prison the last ten years. Didn’t mean the guy still wasn’t an asshole talking to him that way. Nobody talked to him that way.

Dare didn’t think her face could get any more forlorn. It did. So much it broke his heart a little more. Without even trying, he was hurting his sister as each minute passed.

“After what happened today, I’m sure Emmett doesn’t want me coming back to work.”

“Did he say that? He whispered to you before he walked away. What the hell did he say?” He’d track him down and beat the shit out of him if he fired his sister for no damn reason.

“No. He didn’t say that. But still…”

So she wouldn’t tell him what he said. He could only imagine. He saw the look in his eyes. “He likes you.”

Deja laughed with not much humor behind it. “Not likely.”

He grinned, cocking a brow, probably looking like the devil himself. “I might’ve been behind bars the last ten years, Sis, but I know when a man looks at a woman he likes. I’ll kill him if he hurts you.”

Her eyes went round with shock, her skin turning ashy-white in an instant. “Don’t say things like that, Dare. You’re not a killer.”

“That’s funny. That’s what I was in prison for.”

What was even funnier to him was his sister liked this Emmett guy back. Not that she’d admit it. His sister rarely admitted things like that to him. Because she knew he’d take care of any asshole that treated her wrong. Even the tiniest amount of disrespect deserved a punch in the face.

“We need to talk about it.”

“Nope.”

He glanced around the kitchen, noting more frivolous knickknacks hanging around. Perhaps her friend Sophie didn’t take all her crap with her when she moved. His sister’s bedroom, from what he could remember, was always clean, but sparse. She didn’t hang posters on her walls or collect anything. She didn’t buy things just to decorate a room and make it more colorful. Neither did he. They never had the money to do that in the first place. Still. This house didn’t reflect the sister he remembered.

“Dare, please, I think—”

“They say you don’t dream in cryosleep.”

“What?”

“They say you don’t—”

“I heard you the first time, idiot.”

Smirking, he propped himself against the kitchen table and crossed his arms and legs. “Then why’d you ask what for?”

“Could you, for once in your life, try not to be a smartass all the time?”

“Just one of the many reasons you love me.”

“I do. I love you, Dare.”

He glanced down at his feet. He didn’t deserve her love. “I hate dreaming. You could call it nightmares.” Looking at Deja, he saw the understanding in her eyes. “I’m not ready to talk. I might never be ready.”

She smiled. The first real smile of the day. He missed seeing that. He hadn’t realized it was something he needed in his life. “I’ll wait. Forever if I have to. I’m not going to let you shove me out of your life. We’re a team again. Whether you like it or not.”

“Well, partner, just know I’ll hurt anyone who hurts you, including that asshole Emmett.”

“You have nothing to worry about. Emmett doesn’t like me like that.”

“Yeah, right. You’re delusional as shit, D.”

She smiled again. His sister was so beautiful when she smiled. And since this afternoon, all he had been doing was making her frown. It was good to see her happy again. All he had to do was call her by her nickname.

“You need to watch your language. Sophie won’t put up with that.”

Dare laughed. A true laugh, for once. “Whatever.”

“You’ll see. One look from her and you’ll be watching what you say.”

“I haven’t seen you watch your mouth.”

“Hmm…you bring it out of me so easily.” She grinned, the mischievous smile he missed seeing.

They could never go back to the close relationship they once had, but he could try a little harder to be nice.

“That pie any good? Maybe I am a little hungry.” He nodded his head to the pie sitting close to her.

“It’s the best. I’ll grab you a slice.” Deja turned around to grab a plate from the cupboard.

Dare took a seat at the table. A piece of pie sat on a plate, the fork dangling on the edge. Looks like someone left in a hurry.

Because of him.

This would never work. He couldn’t stay with his sister for long. He didn’t want her to get too attached.

Hell, he didn’t want to get too attached. Leaving would be the best for everyone.

♥♥♥

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