Tag Archive | Jeremy Schwartz

Chapter 27 – Parents Worst Nightmare


“Hey man I’m so sorry” Malcolm coming into the break room “I just head. I’m so sorry.”

Jeremy sniffed shaking his head. He’d heard the same words before. Said the same words. They didn’t mean a thing until you were the one the words are directed to. Meaningless stupid words meant to make the person saying them feel better.

“You’ll get through this” Malcolm assured him gripping the other man’s shoulder. “Think of your son. Tristen needs you.”

An unreasonable rage flared like a supernova inside him. Jumping to his feet fast enough to knock the chair behind over. “This is all your fault. Come to Isla Paradiso. The best place to practice medicine and raise a family.”

“Whoa” raising his hands as if to defend himself. “This isn’t my fault. I didn’t make you come here. I didn’t force your daughter to take drugs.”


Jeremy’s face contorted sinking to his knees. “My sweet little girl” he sobbed “I couldn’t protect her. Couldn’t save her. I wasn’t there when she needed me.”

“For goodness sake man pull yourself together” Malcolm said coldly. “You’re a grown man who deals with life and death everyday.”

Several nurses shot him glares like death rays. “Who the hell do you think you are? The man just lost his daughter. Have some compassion.”

“My daughter has the good sense not to mix pharmaceuticals with alcohol.” He peered down his nose at the woman who dared speak to him in such a manner.

“Want to bet” the woman glared at him.


“You couldn’t afford to lose” he waved a hand in dismissal. Glancing at the clock he turned his attention to his sniveling coworker. “Pull yourself together at least long enough to finish your shift.” He ignored the gasps of disapproval from the nurses gathered in the room.

Jeremy stood up rubbing his swollen eyes “I quit.”

“You can’t just quit” he objected.

“I think he just did” the nurse who had confronted him before said with a smirk.

“Don’t be ridiculous” he scoffed “you can’t just quit.”


Walking towards the door Jeremy “as you pointed out, I have a son who needs me. I let you talk me into a different kind of lifestyle that cost me my daughter. I won’t lose him too. He and I are going home.”

“You were barely scraping by” he reminded him.

“True but we were happy. My daughter was alive.” Running a trembling hand through his hair “that’s the life I want for my son. It doesn’t matter the money or prestige.”

Watching the door slowly close behind him the nurse said “I guess you’ll be needing a replacement.”

“I guess I will” he grunted. He was about to follow Jeremy from the room when an officer stuck his head inside. “Can I help you?”



“Excuse me, I’m looking for Doctor Malcolm Schmidt” the officer said stopping him.

“I’m he” he grumbled irritation making his voice gruff.

“Are you the father of Olivia Schmidt” he asked

“I am” he spoke in a terse clipped tone aware of the curious interest of the nurses behind him. “Shall we talk somewhere more private” he extended an arm inviting the officer to follow.

“Sir” the officer nodded allowing him to lead the way. “Were you aware your daughter was named as one of the organizers of this evening’s disastrous teen party?”

“That’s ridiculous” he postured “my daughter would never do that. “She wouldn’t even be at such a party.”


The officer stared back at him letting his words hang in the air. He opened his notebook reading what looked like chicken scratches. “Several kids named her as one of the organizers. We’ve dispatched a squad car to your home to pick her up for questioning.”

“You have no right” he growled.

“I believe three dead teenagers and a dozen others in the hospital is all the rights I need” he retorted.

“She’s a minor” he blustered “you can’t question her without parental presence.”

“That’s why I’m here,” the officer informed him “I’m your escort to the police station.”

Jerking his arm away from the man’s touch Malcolm glared at him. “I can’t leave. I’ve lost on ER doctor due to this travesty. I cannot leave the ER unattended.”


“I have my orders sir,” the officer said politely with a hard edge.

“I have responsibilities. Patients,” his voice rose. Curious onlookers stared at them.

The sound of someone clearing their throat made both men turn to look. “Doctor Olson” he gasped. Looking around at the bystanders his eyes fell upon the nurse from earlier “you called the director.”

“Of course” she shrugged “someone had to do something.”

“You’re relieved from duty” Doctor Olson said with a note of finality in his voice

Without further argument Malcolm found himself sitting beside his daughter in an interrogation room. “Daddy” Olivia cried “make them listen to me. I keep telling them they made a mistake. Tell them I wouldn’t do what they are accusing me of.” Her large eyes wide and innocent seeming despite her too tight clothing and short barely there mini skirt. Her face was caked with makeup making her look years older than her 16 years.

“Don’t say another word” he snapped “we’re not saying anything until our lawyer arrives.”



Teasha held the door open for Phoenix to enter before her. There was no way she would ever be prepared to see her little girl in a hospital bed. Her eyes misted as her stomach churned as she took in the dark charcoal smudges around her mouth, bloodshot eyes and swollen lids.

“I’m sorry daddy” London sobbed holding her hands out to him.

Phoenix took them in his but it was Teasha who spoke first. “How long” fear making her voice gruff as anger gnawed at her insides.

Biting her bottom lip she stared at her feet sticking up from the thin hospital blanket. “I don’t know” she mumbled.

“You don’t know” Teasha repeated wanting nothing more than to take her daughter by the shoulders and shake her until her answers made sense. “That’s not good enough” her voice rose in the small room.

London inhaled sharply eyes darting to her father. “I never took anything before. I really wish I hadn’t today either.”


Phoenix patted her hands “why baby? Why did you?”

“I don’t know” she mumbled shaking her head as tears threatened to break down the damn she had around her feelings.

“Don’t lie” Phoenix gazed intently back at her.

Teasha sat on the edge of the bed, shoulders shaking as her anger dissipated. “I’m sorry for yelling baby. I was so scared. The thought of losing you.” Lifting her face, tears glistened on her cheek “you’re my baby. I love you.”

“I know mom” she sniffed “I just wanted to be accepted.”

“Accepted by whom” Phoenix asked “none of your friends were at this party.”


“Not them” she sighed “at least not the friends you know.”

Stroking her daughter’s long dark hair “did you have a falling out with Temperance and the others? Is that why you’re hanging out with kids we don’t know?”

Tucking her hair behind her ear, shaking her head. “It’s not that. I just wanted to friends who didn’t know …” Her eyes slid towards her father. Covering her face with her hands “I’m a horrible person. I’m the worst daughter ever.”

Reaching over Phoenix tenderly dried her eyes. He gave his wife a look of understanding and he could see it in her eyes that he was right. “I’m sorry sweetie but you have to tell us what you’re feeling. It’s the only way we’ll be able to help you.”

“ I wanted to be normal” she cried. It was as if the damn was broken and she couldn’t stop talking. “I was tired of being the responsible one. Never being able to do anything but work and school.” Taking a deep breath she met her father’s sincere eyes and knew how much she’d hurt him. “I didn’t want to be the girl who had to come home every day and check on you.”

Teasha’s sharp in take of breath and Phoenix’s bleak expression confirmed she was a terrible person. “I know it wouldn’t change anything. Not really. I am still that girl but for that moment I was someone else. Someone without any cares in the world.” She looked away unable to see their devastated faces anymore. She wanted nothing more than to be the little girl they thought she was. “I know saying I’m sorry isn’t worth much but it’s all I’ve got.”



Quenten threw the door open leading into his son’s room. “What the hell’s wrong with you” he demanded before his brain had the chance to notice the machines in the room. His son was lying on his back eyes closed connected to several beeping machines.

Slowing as his brain caught up with his mouth he dragged himself forward. Despite what his eyes were seeing his brain insisted it had to be a mistake. A horrible joke of some kind. “Micah” his voice cracked as he reached for his son’s cold limp hand. Nothing the doctor’s had told him had prepared him for this. Nothing. He’d been told but he hadn’t believed.

He felt someone take his hand. Her words meant little to him. “Quenten” she tugged on his hand “the doctor wants to talk to us.”

Dragging his eyes from his son he tried to focus on the tired older man’s face “how is my son?”

Glancing at the boy he shook his head. “I wish I could say he’ll be alright. At this stage we were lucky to stabilize him. He’s still in critical condition. His organs are shutting down.”


“Isn’t there anything you can do” Quenten asked hands curling into fists.

“We’ve done all we can do” he rubbed the bridge of his nose. “I suggest you prepare yourselves for the worst.”

Gulping Quenten stumbled forward almost falling to his knees.

Moving fast Cassidy put an arm around him holding him close. “He’s strong. He’s going to get through this.”

Moving like a man lost in a fog he stared at his son. He dropped to his knees hands steepled in prayer. It was something he hadn’t done in years. His lips moved begging to whoever was listening for their help.

Cassidy followed his example kneeling beside him. Dante stood back watching. One thought running through his head. What if he had told his dad sooner. Maybe this could have avoided? This was his fault. He could have saved his brother if he’d only acted sooner.

Chapter 26 – Disturbing News /

Glitter – Chapter 23 – Must be Nice

Author’s note: This chapter comes with a trigger warning due to mentions of assault and drugs. Due to the sensitive nature of these subjects it may make some readers uncomfortable. Please stop reading if you do not wish to continue beyond this point. The title of the chapter comes from a Nickelback song that seemed to fit the chapter.


Cassidy joined her husband on the couch. The worried frown on his handsome face prompted her to ask “is something wrong?”

“I don’t know” he shook his head “it’s more a feeling than anything else.”

“Micah right” she asked taking his hand.

Nodding he sighed. “I wish he’d talk to me.”

She could hear his frustration rising in his voice. “Have you tried going to him” she asked.

He started to nod than stopped. “I was hoping he’d come to me.”


“Honey I love you but that’s a bit naive” she kindly rebuked him. “He’s a teen boy who feels his dad committed the biggest sin there is by marrying someone closer to his age than his dad’s age.”

Running his fingers through his hair Quentin groaned. “I really didn’t think this through.”

Frowning Cassidy pulled away from him. “Are you saying you regret marrying me?”

Reaching for her hand Quentin attempted to apologize. “No sweetie. That’s not what I’m saying.”

Stepping back she crossed her arms. “That’s what it sounds like.”

Going to her he tried to put his arms around her. “Sweetie please understand. I don’t regret marrying you. Not ever. I just wish we did it another way. One that didn’t alienate my kids.”


“That….” she stepped closer. “I understand.”

Leaning forward he wrapped her in his arms. “What I want is a way to go back to the way things were before they felt I betrayed them. I hate feeling like I don’t have any part in their lives.”

“If we give them time I think they’ll come around” Cassidy said.

“How much time” he asked “too much and they’ll think I don’t care. Too little they’ll think I’m pushing them.”

“I don’t know” she tried to swallow her growing frustration. Sometimes she felt he expected her to be an expert in raising kids. She wasn’t even close. It wasn’t until she met Quentin’s sons that she ever had to deal with kids in any way.

“Dad” Dante’s voice interrupted them “Can I talk to you?”


“Son you’re step mother and I are in the middle of something” Quentin said. Looking down when Cassidy squeezed his hand “what” he asked.

“Don’t push him away” she urged “you just got done saying how much you missed them coming to you. Now when they do you tell him to go away.”

“That’s not….fine” turning to his son “what do you want?”

“I’ll come back later” Dante said retreating towards the stairs.

“No” Cassidy said with a smile towards the teenager. “Talk to your dad.” Leaving the room she gave them no choice but to talk to each other.

“What do you need” he asked resigning himself.


“Um” Dante looked around the room “are you sure you want to talk?”

Quentin could hear the uncertainty in his voice making him regret his earlier rebuff. “No we can talk. What’s on your mind?” He was expecting girlfriend troubles not anything of real importance.

“I think Micah needs help” Dante blurted out in one breath “the party’s he’s been going to are known for their drugs…..”

“What” Quentin asked not understanding what his son was telling him.

“You know” he shrugged “a what the media calls a pharm party. Everyone brings some prescription drug and everyone’s contribution is put into a community bowl. Everyone helps themselves to whatever’s in it.”

“Are you saying your brother is doing drugs” his voice rose exploding in the room.



The room was warm, bordering on uncomfortable. The loud music vibrated through her body. Someone’s hand slid up her thigh as they ground against her. “I need to sit down” she shouted above the music.

Nodding Micah led her to a small love seat. “I’ll get you something to drink” he offered.

“No” she tugged on his hand “I want you to stay.”

Her pull on his hand wasn’t great but it was enough to convince him to stay. Sitting on the cushion beside her he grinned. “This is nice” he said clumsily dragging his arm across her shoulders.

His elbow hitting the side of her face almost giving her a black eye. “Hey watch it” she warned rubbing her cheek.


“Sorry” he mumbled.

“You better be” she yawned “I really should go home.”

“But the party’s just getting started” he whined.

“But I’m tired” she yawned again. “I have to get up early tomorrow.”

“But it’s summer” he protested “no one has to get up early in the summer.”

“Thy do if they have a job” she pushed him away from her.

“I know what you need” he said getting up almost knocking her off the love seat in his haste.


Glaring after him she fixed her hair while she waited. She really should leave but she didn’t want to be rude. She was sure no one would notice except Micah and even he wouldn’t care for long.

“Here” he said holding his hand out.

She looked dubiously at the little pills in the palm of his hand. Shaking her head “what are they?”

“They’ll pep you up” he assured her.

“I don’t know” she said doubtfully.


“Come on. Just try it” he begged “I want to party and you never do anything fun.”

Hesitantly she reached for the pills. “Maybe I try one. See how it affects me.”

“What are you worried about” he asked blinking at her his eyes glazing over.

“Well” she remembered all the meds and painkillers her dad was on. All the side effects were bad to awful.

“Take the plunge” he encouraged “no one’s gotten hurt from taking pills. Doctors prescribe them to people all the time.”


Closing her eyes to popped the pills into her mouth. For once she wanted to be like everyone else. Not the girl who couldn’t do anything because she had to hurry home to take care of her dad.

An hour later the room spinning around her. “I need to sit” she yelled but she wasn’t sure who she wanted to hear her. Reaching for the wall she fell forward onto her knees. Her insides felt as if they were on fire. Her stomach heaved spilling all its contents onto the floor but it didn’t make her feel much better. Others around her were moaning and clutching their stomachs. Micah lay on the floor his eyes closed his face a chalky white.

The room tilted and swam before her eyes. Jerkily she pulled her phone out with unsteady fingers she pressed the numbers to summon help. She passed out before she heard the emergency dispatcher speak in her ear.



“What’s up with every teenager tonight” Malcolm demanded as he walked into the break room. Jeremy was already sipping a lukewarm cup of coffee.

Looking up from reading the newspaper spread out in front of him Jeremy said “it feels like every kid is on a death wish tonight.”

“What’s it been? Two fatal car accidents and a suicide so far” Malcolm asked sitting down across the table.

“So far and the nights not over yet” he sighed. “Night’s like this I hate being a doctor.”

“Be thankful you don’t have to work in the ER every weekend” Malcolm said.

“Believe me I am” Jeremy agreed grimacing at the now cold coffee in his cup. “It’s bad enough having to work it once every couple of months.”


A nurse stuck her head inside the room. “Heads up doctors. We’re getting more casualties.”

“Another car accident” Malcolm groaned knocking back his coffee.

“Multiple overdoses” the nurse said “a bunch of kids decided to throw themselves a party.”

“Stupid kids” Jeremy complained getting up and tossing the remnants of his coffee in the trash.

To the nurse Malcolm said “make sure we have a large supply of activated charcoal on hand. We may be needing that tonight.”

“Already done” she said as the emergency doors whisked open and the first victims were rolled inside.

Jeremy turned around shock freezing him in place.


“Daddy” his daughter’s voice breaking him from his trance. “I’m sorry daddy.”

“It’s going to be alright sweetie” he blinked back the hot tears stinging his eyes. Turning to the nurse “go get another doctor in here stat.”

“Right” she left at a near run.

“Sweetie” he pressed down on her abdomen “does this hurt?” His heart shattered when she shrieked in pain. “Do you know what and how much of it you took?”

Shaking her head crying “it really hurts daddy. Please make it stop.”


“We’re going to do everything we can sweetie” he stepped back to allow the other doctor room to work. A tug on his arm caused him to look down at a nurse.

“ Doctor you’re needed in exam room one” she said.

He wanted to scream at her he couldn’t be bothered but he knew there was nothing he could do in here. His little girl was in the best hands possible and he would be better off helping someone else.

Following the nurse to exam room one he took a deep breath forcing the sense of dread filling his stomach away. He looked down at another teenager writhing in pain. “Someone find out what these kids were talking” he shouted at anyone within earshot.

It was going to be a long hard night before things calmed down. He later found out that out of the twenty kids that had been brought in there had been two fatalities. Six in critical condition. The rest were resting comfortably



Jace walked along the quiet beach. Seagulls called at each other occasionally swooping down to inspect the lone figure walking below them. Jace hated their raucous calls and the way it make him feel they were about to attack. It stirred up uncomfortable feelings he was reenacting a scene from an old movie he’d seen once and thoroughly expected a whole flock of birds to swoop down and peck him to death.

Stopping, he turned wishing he weren’t alone. It was his own fault. It was his decision to go for a walk thus separating himself from his friends. The fact that no one had noticed convinced him that he really was invisible. A feeling he’d had more and more lately. Not that he blamed Jason. If anyone deserved to be lost in a world all his own it was him. It was good to see him happy not to mention that Damian was hot!

A soft mewling sound caught his attention. Looking around he tried to make out where the sound was coming from. His first instinct was to run. Anything making that sound couldn’t be good. Taking a deep breath he tried to calm himself as he searched for the source of the sound. “OMG” he muttered recognizing a nearby figure.

The man’s eyes fluttered open, red from tears. He moaned trying to curl into a tight ball as if he were afraid of Jace coming towards him. His arms were wrapped tightly around his middle holding his shirt closed.


“Are you alright” Jace asked reaching out to touch the man’s shoulder.

Flinching at his touch the man attempted to scurry further into the bush behind him.

Raising his hands up holding his palms out “I’m not going hurt you” Jace assured him.

“I want to go home” he whispered in response to Jace’s words.

Frowning Jace knelt beside him. He could tell from the bruises on the man’s face and the lack of buttons and tears in his clothing that something horrible had happened. “Would you like me to call someone to come help you” he offered as he scanned the darkening beach.

Tears running down his cheeks “I want to go home.”


“Where did you park” Jace asked wondering how he’d gotten there.

“The resort” the words were spoken from swollen lips.

“Can you walk” Jace asked. When the man almost fell flat on his face in his attempt to gather his feet beneath him Jace reached out to help him. “Perhaps it’s better if I take you to my place. It’s not too far away. Probably closer than the resort.”

From the blank look on the guy’s face he doubted his words even registered. It was a longer walk than usual as Jace kept having to stop and rest. He wasn’t built to carry someone larger than he was. The whole process was an awkward experience. Upon reaching his little bungalow on the beach Jace helped him to the couch frowning as he curled up on the couch in a catatonic state.

Nibbling on his bottom lip Jace pulled his phone out. He needed help and the only person he knew well enough to call for help was the one he’d left on the beach with his new boyfriend. With trembling fingers he pulled up his contacts and waited for Jason to answer. “Hey I know this is a bad timing but I could really use your help. I found Christopher on the beach and I think he’s been beaten pretty bad….”

Chapter 22 – Crossroads / Chapter 24 – A Family Affair

Glitter – Chapter 10 – Beauty Finds Me


With a feeling of trepidation making if feet feel like lead weights and his heart race in his chest Will trudged up the stairs towards the intimidating door. He stood at the top gathering the courage to bring his hand up to knock on the same door to summon from inside the house.

The door opened while he was still coaxing himself into knocking. “What are you doing here” a girls unfriendly voice demanded.

His eyes lifted to find Temperance scowling at him holding the door like a shield between them. He dropped his eyes to her feet where he could see small scratches going down her legs ending at an ace bandage around her ankle. “Did I do that” he asked his voice coming out in a squeak.

“What do you want” she repeated moving the door like she was about to close it in his face.

“Temperance who is at the door” Hannah called coming up behind her.

“Just some idiot” she pointed in the direction of Will’s shocked face.


Hannah frowned “isn’t that Unity’s cousin?”

“Yeah the loser” Temperance said emphasizing loser rolling her eyes.

“Temp” her mother’s voice rose in reproof “ask your guest inside. Honestly where’s your manners?”

“I don’t think that’s wise” Temperance objected “Dad might kill him.”

“Whatever for” she exclaimed shocked.

“He’s the one who did this” she waved a hand towards her wounds.


“Let him in” Hannah insisted “maybe he came to apologize.”

“But Mom” Temperance whined.

“Invite him in” Hannah insisted giving Will an apologetic smile.

“It’s your funeral” Temperance mumbled stepping aside and motioning Will inside.

Will gulped loudly as he was met by an older red-haired male. He took the offered hand “I’m Donovan” the man smiled introducing himself.

The ice blue of the man’s eyes made Will think of the iceberg that sank the Titanic. “I’m sorry” he yelped “I should have stayed to help. I’m sorry I didn’t.”


Donovan stared at him noticing how the boy fidgeted under his glare. “Just don’t do it again. We all make mistakes. I trust you’ve learned something from this.”

“Yes sir” Will nodded his head feeling the anxious knots release from inside his stomach.

“That being said I’m not the one you should be apologizing to” Donovan nodded towards his daughter. She was leaning against the door giving her visitor a nasty look.

“Err” Will murmured tongue-tied at the prospect of facing her. It was worse than facing her parents. Taking a hesitant step forward he said “I’m sorry.”

“You should be” she snapped unwilling to give him an inch much less to forgive him.

“I should have helped you get home” he continued “I’ll do anything to make it up to you.”


“Anything” she asked her eyes brightening.

Nodding he felt he had somehow walked into a trap. “I guess” he said with some trepidation.

“Take me to the end of summer social at the resort” she said.

“Temperance” her mother scolded “you can’t use his apology to get a date.”

“But mom” she cried “ how else am I supposed to know he’s sincere?”

“You know better than that” Donovan’s voice was stern making her sigh and gave him a penitent look.

“I’m sorry” she said turning to face Will giving him a sweet smile. “I accept your apology. No strings attached. You don’t have to take me to the summer social.”



Benjamin hopped out of his truck hurrying towards the hood where steam was coming from beneath it. In his head he could hear his dad rebuking him. He had been warned to have the radiator checked. He thought it would be okay. It’s not like his dad was a mechanic or anything. He knew computers not cars. No doubt his mom would use this as an example of why he should follow the recommended maintenance schedule. Sure he received the email alerts from On Star every month. It’s not like he read them all. Who had time for that?

He reached for the hood release only to jerk his hand away with a muttered curse. “Shit” he shouted waving his hand around attempting to cool it off.

“Didn’t anyone ever tell you not to open the hood when there’s steam coming out of it” a voice asked behind him.

Scowling he turned around “mind your own damn business.”

“Whoa” the boy raised his hands up in mock surrender. “Whatever your issue is I didn’t do it.”

A low rumbling growl from the dalmatian standing at attention beside the stranger had Benjamin taking a few steps backwards. “Call your mutt off” Benjamin snapped eyeing the dog uneasily.

“He’s not a mutt” the boy cried defensively his hands rubbing the dog’s head as if to reassure it. “He’s a purebred dalmatian.”


Rolling his eyes he stretched his neck. “Whatever” he mumbled. The last thing he wanted to do was get into a discussion about dog breeds.

“You should get your hand looked at” the boy observed “I live just over there. If you wanted to follow me I could put something on it.”

“It’s not that bad” Benjamin lied wincing as he forced his fingers to bend.

“Suit yourself” he shrugged turning to leave. “Whatever you do better make it quick before infection sets in and you can use that hand anymore.”

Benjamin scowled watching at the boy walked away with his dog in tow. He looked at his hand and the painful red blisters stretching his skin. “Wait” he called hoping the boy was still willing to help him.

Stopping the boy turned “change your mind” he asked giving him a doe eyed innocent look.

“Yeah” he shrugged “give me a sec while I get my stuff from the truck.”


Reaching inside the cab he grabbed his duffel bag and laptop case. He could feel the curious gaze of his benefactor watching him. Catching his reflection in the rear view mirror he hastily finger combed his hair.

“Do you always have a laptop with you” the boy asked eyeing the case with distaste.

“Only when I have work to do” Benjamin shrugged “currently I’m redesigning the web page for a friend’s resort.”

“Oh” his eyes lifted with interest “that’s ok then.”

“You have a problem with gamers or something” he asked unable to contain his curiosity.

“Not especially” he shrugged “it’s a long story.”

“Maybe one day you’ll tell me about it” Benjamin flashed him a boyish grin. “For now I’ll settle for your name.”


“Oh” the boy seemed somewhat flustered “I’m Jonas Matthews.”

“It’s nice to meet you Jonas. I’m Benjamin Bennett” he said introducing himself. “If you haven’t guessed yet I work for the best resort on the island.”

“I kind of guessed that” he smiled. As they entered to houseboat Jonas asked “do you need any help with your redesign? I have a lot of ideas on how you can improve their site and get the most from social media.”

“You may have just saved my life” Benjamin announced “I’ve been stuck on how best to redesign it. The last guy really botched the job and made a royal mess.”

“Let me fix up your hand and you can show me what you’ve got” Jonas suggested.

“Aren’t you curious how much you’ll get paid? It won’t be much. This is pretty much pro bono for me” Benjamin lost his smile becoming serious.

“How about we get the job done” Jonas suggested “When it’s done you pay me what you think it’s worth. I just really want to get my name out there. If I do a good enough job on this maybe it’ll lead to something else.”



Christopher swung a leg over his motorcycle as his eyes swept the parking lot. He had arrived early just as Royal requested. “Typical” he muttered beneath his breath. He had only agreed to come because Royal said it was super important. Royal’s words not his. Everything to Royce was super important. With an irritated huff Christopher stood from his motorcycle, striding towards the bar.

The bar was fairly empty. The bar man nodded, a knowing grin on his rugged face. “The usual” the barman asked.

“Yeah” Christopher sat at the end of the bar closest to the speaker. The music so loud and the base so high it vibrated through his chest. Lifting the drink to his lips he gasped as the whiskey burned it’s way down his throat. His eyes watered blurring his vision. Blowing fumes from his nostrils it felt like he had snorted gasoline. “What the hell” he croaked.

Despite the ringing in his ears he knew the bartender was laughing at him. Someone slapped him on the back sending him reeling.

“Hey leave the kid alone” someone said moving to help Christopher up. “Here let me help you.”


Feeling like an idiot he jerked his arm away falling completely off the bar stool to the floor. The gales of laughter making his face burn.

The bartender nonchalantly leaned over the bar “next time you come into my bar pup, order a man’s drink.”

“Leave the kid alone” Christopher’s self appointed protector repeated.

“The kid shouldn’t be in here” the bartender growled mopping up the spilled drink.

“You’ve obviously served him in the past,” the man pointed out.


“Always coming in here ordering coke” the man muttered.

“Good thing too” the man said “you could have your liquor licence pulled if anyone found out you were serving minors.”

“Hey now” the bartender scowled “I was just having a little bit of fun.”

“You had your fun” the guy growled “now leave the kid alone.”

Christopher pulled his feet beneath him. With flushed face he staggered to the exit. Bumping into someone on his way inside. Looking up he found his Royal staring at him in shock. Growling he snarled at Royal as he pushed past him to the outside.


“Hey” Royal shouted after him.

“What do you want” he demanded sitting on his motorcycle revving the engine.

Running up to him Royal yelled over the noise “I thought we were going in for a few drinks.”

“Change of plans” he breathed heavily into Royal’s face.

“Have you been drinking” he asked waving a hand in front of his face. “Should you be driving?”


“Who the fuck cares” Christopher shouted back revving the engine louder.

Reaching for the kill switch Royal said “I care for one. Your parents for another.”

Somewhere the words sunk into his brain making inroads into his anger. “Sorry” he sighed “I don’t know what got into me.”

Nodding towards the entrance Royal asked “anything to do with that guy?”

“Naw” shaking his head Christopher said “he tried to help.”



Talia leaned into her date as they walked along the shoreline. It felt nice to have someone hold her hand and treat her like she were special. A small contented sigh escaped her.

Jeremy looked down smiling “I be I know what that was for.”

“What was what” she asked wishing she could pretend everything was alright.

“You’re wishing Will liked it here” he stopped gazing at the ocean. The seagulls calling to each other was the only sound besides the lapping of the waves.

“That would help” she agreed.

“But…” he looked at her expectantly.

“But he doesn’t like you either” she admitted.

“Do you want him to like me” he asked.


“Of course” she agree a little too loudly and without meeting his eyes.

“Then why haven’t you introduced us” he asked “I don’t mean the incidental introduction either. Let us get to know each other.”

“I guess” she said somewhat hesitantly as if she had something else on her mind.

“What” he prompted. He half suspected what she was about to say.

“Do I get to meet your kids” she asked “I gather from the frowns your daughter gives me she  doesn’t like me anymore than Will likes you.”

“It’s not that bad” he protested laughing softly. “She just wants to make sure you’re not some sort of nut job.”

“This weekend” she said “we do something as a family. You me and the kids.”

“This weekend won’t work” he shook his head “it’s my weekend rotation at the E.R.”


“I thought you were an oncologist” she frowned up at him.

“I am but the E.R. is short-staffed so everyone is taking turns to cover the E.R.” he explained.

“That’s nice of you” she said.

“It is but I’d save any emergencies for another weekend” He chuckled at the shocked look she gave him “I’m a little out of practice on skinned knees and flu bugs.”

“That’s not the only emergencies the E.R. gets” she chided him.

“I know but those are the ones I’m hoping for” he said. “How about the following weekend? We could have a family picnic at the beach.”

“Sounds like a plan” she smiled up at him not exactly hiding her concern how the kids were going to react to their plans.

“Don’t worry so much” he put a gentle arm around her shoulder “it’ll be great.” He chuckled at the image of Tony the Tiger that entered his mind. He could only shake his head at Talia when she gave him a baffled look. Instead of explaining he kissed her cheek instead.

Chapter 9 – Seek Beauty / Chapter 11 – Free Spirit