Tag - Flash Fiction

THIRDS Thursday - 4/26/18

Prompt: Tony and the boys when they were young. I would like to see the first time that Cael had coffee and how they figured out he can’t have it ever again.

PART THREE

Man, his life was weird.

Dex stood just outside his little brother’s bedroom, hands on his hips as he watched Cael bounce around the room like a pinball machine ball. Shortly after his dad asked him to explain what happened, Cael distracted Tony by climbing up on the kitchen island counter, and proclaiming he was Superman. Knowing what was coming—and possessing the instincts of a fierce THIRDS agent and unflappable parent of two boys—Tony dove toward the counter just as Cael jumped, catching him before he could hit the floor belly first. Tony promptly decided they needed to “secure Cael” before any conversations happened.

Tony watched Cael, keeping him from climbing up on any more furniture while Dex “Cael-proofed” the bedroom. Every couch cushion, pillow, comforter, mattress, and throw pillow was currently in Cael’s room, lining the walls and floor. The furniture had been removed so Cael couldn’t climb anything and jump. Being a felid, Cael’s first instinct was to climb, and as he was not in his Therian form, not to mention still just a kid, there was no landing on his feet.

Until the caffeine wore off, there’d be no playing with anything that wasn’t soft and squishy. Not that Cael cared. He was too busy flinging himself at mattresses.

“Okay, now that we’ve taken care of your brother, explain,” Tony said, arms crossed over his chest.

“I left him alone for like two minutes! I didn’t know he was going to drink all my coffee, and you know what a pain in the ass it is to catch him, and on caffeine it’s even harder.

Tony narrowed his eyes. “What did I say about language and tone?”

“Oh, come on!”

“Dex,” Tony warned.

Dex thrust a finger out in Cael’s direction. “He was in a tree! Naked! Do you know how embarrassing that was?”

“Are you saying you’re embarrassed of your brother?”

Dex’s temper flared. “How can you say that? I was defending him! That asshole called him an animal and I wanted to punch his lights out, but you’re always telling us that you can’t fight stupid with violence. I would never be embarrassed of him. Why would you ask me that?”

“Why are you so angry?” Tony asked, his expression unreadable like always.

“Because I am.” Dex started pacing, his hands balling into fists at his sides. “Why do people have to be such assholes? Why can’t they just leave us alone? So what if we’re different? Who cares?”

“Son?”

Dex was so angry he wanted to punch something. “Fucking assholes.”

“Dexter.”

The soft-spoken word had Dex stopping in his tracks, and he reluctantly turned to face his dad, his eyes stinging at Tony’s concerned expression.

“What’s this really about, kiddo?”

“I left Cael alone because Tommy was at the diner. He was kissing another boy.”

“Oh.” Tony’s expression softened. “I’m so sorry, son.”

“He said it wasn’t serious.” Dex sniffed, and rubbed his eyes, hating that he couldn’t hold back the tears. “He was never going to be serious about me because… because you work for the THIRDS, and Cael’s a Therian.”

“Come here,” Tony said, pulling him close. Dex stubbornly didn’t move until his quietly dad said his name again then Dex flung himself into his dad’s strong arms. No matter what happened, his dad would always be there for him. “I know you cared about Tommy, but it’s clear he’s not mature enough to really understand you. If he has a problem with who you are, or who your family is, he doesn’t deserve you, kiddo. You’re too good for a guy like that.”

“Why don’t they ever stick around?” Dex asked, crying into his dad’s chest. It sucked. Boyfriends were jerks.

“Because you haven’t found the right guy for you. One day, you’re going to meet him, and he’s going to love you for who you are, because of who you are. He’s going to think he’s the luckiest guy in the world because you love him. It won’t be perfect. No relationship ever is. And I’m sure you’ll fight, and drive each other crazy, but you’ll stick by each other’s side through thick and thin. You’ll see. When you least expect it, you’ll run into him.”

Dex hugged his dad tight. “Thanks, Dad.”

“Dex.”

The wobbly, sniffly voice had Dex pulling away from his dad. He turned to find Cael standing on the other side of the mattress blocking the doorway, bottom lip trembling, big gray eyes filled with tears.

“Yeah?”

Cael lifted his arms, and Dex picked him up, laughing softly when Cael wrapped himself around Dex. Looked like the caffeine was finally wearing off.

“I’m sorry.” Cael sniffed before he started wailing in Dex’s ear. “Don’t be mad.”

“It’s okay, Chirpy,” Dex assured him gently, rubbing a hand soothingly over his back. “I’m not mad.”

“Tommy’s a butthead,” Cael said through his tears.

Dex chuckled. “He is a butthead.”

“You should—” Hiccup. “Put frogs—” Hiccup. “In his locker.”

“I don’t think the frogs would like that.”

Cael nodded his agreement. He pulled away enough to look skeptically at Dex. “You promise you’re not mad at me?”

“I promise,” Dex assured him.

Cael hugged him tight before turning and holding his arms out to their dad. Tony took him from Dex, and Cael snuggled up close.

“How about we order a Therian-sized pizza from our favorite place?” Tony headed toward the stairs, and Dex followed.

“With extra cheese?” Cael asked, perking up.

“With extra cheese,” Tony agreed.

“Yay!”

As they headed downstairs to the kitchen, Dex shoved his hands into his jean pockets. Cael rambled on about how yucky coffee tasted and when could he have hot chocolate again, and for a moment Dex thought he was off the hook. They reached the kitchen, and Tony settled Cael at the dinner table with his Gameboy so he could order the pizza. He turned to Dex and arched an eyebrow.

“No phone for a week.”

Dex let his head fall back with an epic sigh. “But, Daaaad. I’ll be socially isolated.”

“You’ll see your friends at school,” Tony replied, heading for the phone.

“Yeah, but what if something happens after school? And what about over the weekend? How am I supposed to stay in the loop? My reputation will suffer.”

“You’re a teenager. You don’t have a reputation.”

“Totally not true.” Dex threw himself dramatically on the couch, face buried against the cushion. Man, he couldn’t wait until he was an adult. Things would be so much easier then.

“You know better than to turn your back on your brother. A few seconds is all it takes. What if he’d gotten hurt?”

Dex grunted.

The couch cushion dipped, and Dex turned his head, bottom lip jutted out when Tony put a hand to Dex’s hair.

“You’re a good brother, Dex, and I know it’s not easy. I’m at work a lot these days, and sometimes you just want to be out being a teenager, but it’s just the three of us kiddo. We have to look out for each other.”

Dex’s heart squeezed in his chest. “I know.” He hated that his dad had lost almost all his friends and family after adopting him and Cael, though it had been the Therian baby that had been the real issue for them. Screw them. They didn’t deserve his dad. “Can I still have friends over?”

“Yes, you can still have friends over.” Tony stood, and went back to the phone. “I’m sorry we missed the movie tonight. How about we go tomorrow?”

Both Dex and Cael jumped up from their seats.

“Can we get popcorn?” Cael asked excitedly.

“And nachos,” Dex added. “With extra cheese.”

Tony laughed. “Yes, fine.”

“Woot!” Dex turned to Cael, and they high-fived while doing silly victory dances around the kitchen. They had the best dad ever, and he was right. One day Dex would find the perfect guy for him, and their family would be even bigger and more awesome. One day.


Copyright © 2018 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.

THIRDS Thursday - 4/12/18

Prompt: Tony and the boys when they were young. I would like to see the first time that Cael had coffee and how they figured out he can’t have it ever again.


PART ONE

“When’s Dad going to get here?” Cael huffed, swinging his legs back and forth on his side of the booth, his feet not touching the floor. “I’m hungry. And thirsty.”

“Soon,” Dex replied, rifling through Cael’s Tiny Toon Adventures backpack. “He probably got stuck at work.” He pulled out a sandwich bag with some pretzel sticks then handed them to Cael who scrunched his nose up at them. “Just until Dad gets here. Then you can have a burger that’s bigger than your head.”

“But I’m so hungry now,” Cael moaned. “I could die.”

Dex rolled his eyes. And his dad said he was dramatic. “You’re not gonna die.” He pulled out a kiddie cup with water, and placed that in front of Cael who eyed it like it was going to eat his flesh or something. “Would you just chill out.”

“Dex,” Cael whined.

Dex put his hand up. “Talk to the hand.” His hand was smacked away, and he was met with a very stern pout.

“How come you get to have pie?”

“Because I’m not a cheetah Therian whose hormones are all over the place.” Cael had his first shift just a little under two years ago, and since then his little Therian hormones were going nuts. The doctor told them not to give him anything with too much sugar or caffeine. His mood swings were totally freaked out. Sometimes he was sweet and adorable, sometimes everything made him cry, and sometimes he was a little shit.

“As if! You’re a teenager, so your hormones are just as bad.”

The duh was implied.

“Are you giving me sass?” Dex arched an eyebrow at him.

Cael’s exasperated sigh was loud as he rolled his eyes. He tilted his head and studied Dex who took a sip of his cappuccino because finally his dad said he could have coffee. Not that he hadn’t had coffee a long time ago, but now his dad knew about it. The diner didn’t actually offer cappuccinos, but the waitress thought he was cute, so he’d batted his lashes at her and boo ya! Cappuccino.

“Why does all your clothes have stripes now?”

“Because it’s cool,” Dex replied.

“You look like Freddie Krueger.” Cael giggled his face off at his own joke.

“Are you saying I haunt people’s nightmares?”

Cael nodded, his expression turning very serious. “Except you don’t kill people, you just annoy them.”

Wow. Pre-teens were the best. Not.

Dex brushed his long bangs away from his eyes, and glared at his little brother. “I remember when you used to be cute.”

Cael smiled wide and put his index fingers to his dimples. “I am cute.”

Dex snorted. “Whatever.”

“And your jeans are full of holes.”

“That is also cool.”

“It’s silly.”

“Because you’re nine.”

“Nine and a half,” Cael clarified. “If your boyfriend kisses another boy does that mean he’s not your boyfriend anymore?”

Dex almost choked on his coffee. “What?” he wheezed.

“I said, if your boyfriend kisses another boy does that mean he’s not your boyfriend anymore?”

Dex wiped the coffee he’d dribbled on himself. “Why would you ask that?”

Cael pointed behind Dex, and Dex turned to find his boyfriend—no, ex-boyfriend—sucking face with another guy. Dex jumped out of the booth, and marched over, his arms crossed over his chest.

“Hey, Tommy. Found his tonsils yet?”

Tommy jumped so high, he hit the table with his knees, spilling the milkshake he was sharing with some guy who was not Dex.

“Dex! What—what are you doing here? I thought you were going to the movies with your dad and little brother.”

“I am. Unlike you, I didn’t lie.” Dex grinned widely at the blond guy who looked like he was about to freak out. “Hi, I’m Dex. Tommy’s ex-boyfriend as of….” He checked his watch. “Two minutes ago, when I discovered he was a cheating asshole.”

“Come on, Dex,” Tommy said, running his hands through his long hair. “It’s not like it was serious or nothing. I mean, your dad works for the THIRDS and your brother’s… one of them.”

Dex flinched. He hadn’t expected that. “One of what?” he asked through his teeth.

“You know,” Tommy muttered, shrinking back into his seat as Dex loomed over him.

“I don’t know. I need you to be more specific, Tommy. You didn’t seem to have a problem with my family when you were moaning my name in the boy’s locker room during the pep rally.”

“Dex,” Tommy hissed, his gaze darting around the diner, and his face as red as his hair.

“Wait,” blond guy said, sitting up with a frown. “Last week’s pep rally?”

Tommy groaned and slunk down so far in the booth he was almost on the floor.

“You said you had band practice!”

Dex grinned. “Oh, he was blowing something all right, but it wasn’t a clarinet.”

The blond grabbed the milkshake and threw it in Tommy’s face. Dex jumped back quick enough not to get strawberry milkshake all over him. He laughed as the guy stomped out of the diner.

“Dex, please, I’m sorry.” Tommy grabbed his hand, trying to stop him from going. “It won’t happen again. I promise.”

Dex snatched his hand away. “You bet your ass it won’t. We’re over Tommy.” Jerk. He marched back to his booth, and stopped short. A gasp escaped him at the sight of pie crumbs, but it was the empty cappuccino mug that was freaking him out. He looked at Cael who was completely still, his pupils blown so big his silver eyes were black.

“Cael, where’s my coffee?”

Cael smiled big, and Dex took a step back.

“I drank it. Aaaaalllll of it.”

O.M.G.


Part Two next week. Copyright © 2018 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press. 

THIRDS Thursday - 9/28/17

Prompt: Can we see Tony and John during their detective days? Like maybe on a stakeout or something?

PART TWO (Read Part One here)

Tony quickly checked the street before throwing his car door open, hurrying out, and slamming it shut. He darted onto the sidewalk, chucking his coffee cup into a trash bin he passed as he bolted down the sidewalk, John several feet ahead of him. Damn, but the man could run. Even without the head start, John would still be ahead of him. His best friend might be a smartass, but when it came time to get down to business, he was intense.

Two days they’d waited for their guy to show up, and finally they were going to bring him in. John was shouting at the guy to stop, but the bastard just bolted into the middle of the street. Tony cursed under his breath when John followed. Fucking idiot was going to get himself hit by a car.

They ran through the street, cars screeching as they skidded to a stop, horns blazing while the three of them dodged vehicles coming at them from all directions. He felt like the frog in that damn arcade game John loved to play. Here’s hoping none of them went splat. Tony’s heart almost stopped when a car headed straight for John.

“John!”

John didn’t stop. Goddamn son of a bitch slid over the hood of the car and kept on running like he was the Six Million Dollar Man. Tony was going to kill him. If they survived this, he was going to strangle his best friend. No, he had a better idea.

“Stop!” John shouted, gaining on their guy when the he took a sharp left onto 5th street. Tony lost John for two seconds before making the turn and in time to see John disappear into a building. Tony was panting by the time he got there. He ran up the stairs into the converted brownstone when he heard the commotion above him. “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.”

The door to the roof slammed open, and Tony reached deep to keep going. His chest was burning, and everything hurt. There was something off about their guy. Why wasn’t he getting tired? Tony made it out onto the roof just as they man jumped across to the next roof. Tony gaped after him. Then he saw John picking up speed.

“Are you fucking crazy!”

“Come on, partner!” John made the leap, and Tony’s heart jumped too, right into his throat. Oh, John was so going to get it. John landed in a roll before popping up and taking off full speed. This was insane. His partner was insane. He was not going to jump a damn building—

“Anthony, I need you!”

Tony let loose with every swear word he knew and then some, taking off before common sense could prevail. He said a quick prayer, and made the leap, landing hard on the other side, but rolling like they knew to do. He pushed himself as hard as he could to catch up to John, and just as he did, they dove for their guy, tackled him to the ground. The man was strong. Stronger than they were. John turned the guy over, and all the pieces came together. It was obvious by the reflection of light in his eyes.

“He’s a Therian,” John said. He reached for his cuffs, and the guy threw his hands up in front of him and curled up into a ball.

“Please don’t hurt me!” The man was genuinely terrified.

John slowly kneeled beside him. “Hey, it’s okay. We’re not going to hurt you, but we do need to bring you in for questioning.”

“I didn’t do anything. Please.”

“Why did you run?” Tony asked.

The guy looked from Tony to John and back. “I was scared. It’s not safe for people… like me. For… Therians.”

Tony let out a heavy sigh. He couldn’t argue with that. Ever since the May Day Massacre a few months ago, it felt like the world was coming to an end. The city was burning around them, citizens against citizens. There was so much death and destruction.

“What’s your name?” John asked gently, helping the guy sit up.

“Will.”

“Will, we’re not going to hurt you, I promise,” John said. “We received information that you might have information we  can use to help solve a murder where a man was shredded to death.”

Will’s eyes went wide. They welled up, and Tony felt for the poor guy. He looked to be about in his thirties, which meant he’d been real young when he got infected.

“You a soldier?” Tony asked.

Will nodded. He lowered his gaze to his fingers. “That’s how I got infected. Doc says I… I probably won’t live to see forty.”

John cursed under his breath and shook his head. He gently placed his hand on Will’s shoulder. “You don’t know that, Will. I hear they got top scientists working on how to help Therians. Don’t lose hope.”

“Doesn’t matter. I’ll be in jail anyway.”

They helped Will to his feet. The poor guy had given up already. Tony couldn’t have that. “What kind of Therian are you?”

“Um, a wolf,” Will replied. He gave Tony a small smile. “Guess it fits. I’ve always been more of a dog person.”

“Well, we’re pretty certain our victim was killed by a Therian with really sharp claws.”

John nodded. “Plus, it happened three days ago, and after changing back, you’d be in no position to give us the run of our lives you just gave us.”

Will perked up. “That’s right. I try really hard not to give into the urge to change. The first time I changed back, the doctors said I almost died. I’m terrified if it happens again that I won’t survive.” Will let out a heart wrenching sigh, the tears rolling down his cheeks as his bottom lip trembled. “Doesn’t matter. I’m still going to prison. They don’t care if I’m not the right kind of Therian. The fact I’m a Therian is enough. It wouldn’t be the first time. Seems like it’s happening every damn day.”

John took hold of Will’s shoulders. “Now you listen to me. We’re not going to let you go down for a crime you didn’t commit. You come down to the station, let us take your statement, go over what you saw, and we’ll fight for you.”

Will’s jaw dropped open as he stared at them. “You—Why?”

John smiled warmly at Will and patted his shoulder. “Because you fought for us.”

God, he loved this man. Tony couldn’t help his dopey grin. “Trust me on this, Will,” Tony said, jutting his thumb at John. “If this guy knows you didn’t do it, he will move heaven and earth to make sure you get the justice you deserve.”

Will was silent for a moment before he nodded, a look of determination coming onto his face. “Okay.”

They escorted Will back to the car, and helped him get into the back. They didn’t cuff him. Something told Tony they weren’t going to need them. As Tony drove them back to the station, he could feel John’s eyes on him.

“What?” Tony grumbled.

“I can’t believe you jumped for me.”

Tony scoffed. “Are you kidding me? If I didn’t, Gina would tear me a knew one for letting you go off on your own like the damn fool you are. Which reminds me, if you ever do anything like that again, I will bust out Old Betsy. Do you hear me?”

John was looking too smug for his own good, and Tony knew just how to wipe that smile off his face.

“On second thought, I might just tell Gina.”

John gasped. “You wouldn’t.”

Tony arched an eyebrow. “You wanna try me, Daley?”

“Who’s Gina?” Will asked.

“His wife, who is currently balancing work and a little boy just like him who’s going through his terrible two’s.”

Will cringed. “Ooh, I would admit defeat if I were you, buddy.”

“Fine,” John huffed, folding his arms over his chest, and pouting.

Tony held a hand to his ear. “Fine what? That didn’t sound like a promise to me.”

“I promise I will not jump off buildings,” John said. The smug grin returned. “Especially since my best friend who loves me will jump after me. Because he loves me.”

“I don’t know how Gina puts up with you,” Tony grumbled.

“Because she loves me, yeah, yeah, yeah,” John sang.

“Oh God, and the singing begins. Sweet baby Jesus, help us all.”

John continued to sing, and Tony shook his head with a chuckle. His friend was all kinds of crazy, and all kinds of amazing. Tony wouldn’t change a thing.


THIRDS Thursday is on hiatus during the release months of October and November and will return in December with a holiday special!

Copyright © 2017 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS Published by Dreamspinner Press.

THIRDS Thursday - 5/18/17

Prompt: In Darkest Hour Before Dawn we learn Darla has a new beau. Can we see Calvin and Ethan having dinner with Darla and her new man? Also, Dex gets himself invited.


PART TWO

Ethan licked the corner of his mouth before falling back onto the bed. His chest rose and fell rapidly as he tried to catch his breath. Calvin flopped over him, sprawled across his chest, his blond hair tousled, his face flushed, and his lips swollen from being kissed. He was beautiful.

“I can’t move,” Calvin groaned, his breath steadying as he absently stroked Ethan’s stomach. “You sure we have to go?” He lolled his head back so he could look up at Ethan with a pout. “Can’t we just stay home and do that some more?”

Ethan kissed Calvin’s lips. “When we get home. I promise.” Ignoring his boyfriend’s protests, he slipped out from under Calvin, and walked to Calvin’s side of the closet. He pulled out a pair of dark blue jeans, a blue and white checkered shirt, and a blue V-neck cashmere sweater that went perfect with Calvin’s eyes. Then he grabbed a brown belt, and a pair of dressy brown boots. He walked the clothes over to his boyfriend, and held them out.

“Wear this.”

Calvin took the clothes from him with a nod. Post-sexy-times-Calvin would pretty much do whatever Ethan told him. As Calvin got dressed, Ethan went to his own closet, and picked out a simple outfit. Black jeans, his new black boots, and a dark gray sweater that Ethan loved because it was super soft and cozy.

Once Calvin was dressed and they’d brushed their teeth, they grabbed their wallets, keys, and the flowers Calvin had picked up for his mom. They locked up, and on the way to Ethan’s truck, his phone buzzed. He smiled down at it.

Hey, bud. Sloane and I are going to have a Bill Murray marathon. You guys in? I know you love the B-Man.

Ethan quickly texted back. Sorry. Dinner with Darla and her new guy tonight.

Pause.

Define “her guy”.

Crap. Did Dex not know? Ethan had assumed everyone knew considering his mom told Hudson, and Hudson and Dex were the gossip kings. If Hudson knew it, Dex knew it, and vice versa. After that, then pretty much everyone else knew. Unless it was confidential or something crazy important, but…. Ethan stilled. Son of a rum puncher! He’d just told Dex that Cal’s mom had a boyfriend! Just as the thought crossed his mind, his phone rang.  

Ethan picked up.

“Holy Shatner!”

Dex’s voice was so loud, Ethan had to hold the phone away from his ear.

Calvin spun on his heels, and stared at Ethan. “Tell me that’s not who I think it is?”

Ethan quickly unlocked the truck, and pushed Calvin toward the passenger side.

“Damn it, Ethan! You tell that nosy shit that if he utters one word of this to anyone, I’m going to take that five-pound bag of gummy bears he has stashed in his desk drawer at work and shove them down his throat until he chokes!”

Ethan hoisted Calvin up, pushed him in, and closed the door, cringing at Calvin shouting from the other side.

“You can’t tell anyone,” Ethan said quietly into the phone, locking the truck doors before Calvin could get out. Calvin unlocked it, and Ethan clicked the button on his key fob, locking it again. Oh, my God, he’s going to kill me.

“Who is he?” Dex demanded. “Do we know him? How many times precisely has Calvin lost his shit? Has he threatened to snipe the guy?”

Ethan groaned. He held his phone out so Dex could hear Calvin pounding on the truck’s window, cursing them out. He returned the phone to his ear.

“You see what you did?” Ethan hissed. "Now I have to deal with the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog.”

Dex howled with laughter. Stupid Dex and his stupid nicknames. Ethan’s other line beeped. “Hold on.” He answered it, and immediately regretted it.

“The fuck did you just call me?”

Ethan’s eyes widened, and he turned, staring at Calvin glaring at him from inside the truck, his phone against his ear.

“Um….”

“Think faster,” Calvin warned.

“It was Dex!”

“Way to throw me under the bus there, buddy,” Dex grumbled.

Shit! Hadn’t he put Dex on hold?

“I know what you’re thinking,” Dex said, “and no. You did not put me on hold.”

“Dex, you dick,” Calvin growled. “What the fuck? Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog?”

“Well, yeah. Cause you’re all small and cute, but piss you off, and no one's surviving.”

“Screw you!”

“So,” Dex said casually. “I hear your mom has a boyfriend.”

There was a click, and then the sound of Dex cackling. “Oh, my God, this is the best thing ever! You know, pissing off Ash is fun, but watching Cal lose his ever-flipping mind gives me life.”

“You’re an ass,” Ethan muttered, heading for the driver’s side. He stopped next to the door. “I’m hanging up now.”

“Wait!”

“What?” Ethan asked, sighing.

“Hashtag my boyfriend is a killer rabbit.”

Ethan hung up on Dex, and slipped his phone back into his pocket. Deep breath. He could do this. He opened the door, and jumped in.

“You can’t murder me because Sarge would be mad!”

Calvin narrowed his eyes at him, and Ethan quickly closed the door. He turned in his seat and smiled.

“And because I just gave you an awesome blowjob.”

Calvin yanked at his seatbelt, clicked it into place, the crossed his arms over his chest. “Just start the damn car, Ethan.”

Ethan quickly did as he was told, hoping Calvin would calm down on the drive over to Darla’s, which gave them just a few minutes really. Ethan fastened his seatbelt, and turned the radio on, forgetting it was set to Retro Radio since Ethan had driven Dex home from work after Dex’s car got a flat tire. Dex had been very… Dex about it. Dropping to his knees dramatically, arms raised, cursing the heavens.

ZZ Top’s Rough Boy came blasting through the truck, and Ethan’s jaw dropped. He turned his head just as Calvin’s eyes got huge. He slowly panned to look at Ethan. Before Calvin could say a word, Ethan threw a hand out and shut off the radio.

Ethan opened his mouth to say something, then thought better of it. He closed his mouth and got them moving. They drove in silence with Ethan throwing the occasional glance in Calvin’s direction. His eyes looked less murderous, so that was a good sign. Thankfully, Ethan found a parking spot across the street. Maybe their luck was changing.

Calvin took his keys form his pocket, when the door swung open.

What the fun?

Dex grinned wide. “Hello, boys. Glad you could make it to dinner. Darla made her amazing pecan pie.”

Ethan groaned. So much for his luck changing.


Final part next week 5/25/17.

Copyright © 2017 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS Published by Dreamspinner Press.


THIRDS Thursday - 3/30/17

Prompt: Would love to see Cael and Ash baking on a lazy rainy Saturday. Cakes, cookies, all kinds of heavenly sugary goods. Maybe Ash finally sharing or showing the how-to of a recipe Cael just never could get right. Just them goofing off and having a good day. Would like it to be after they got officially together. And as always, a little touchy-feely never hurt anyone. ;)

****SPOILER ALERT**** This takes place after Thick & Thin.
Part Four last week. Read it here.

FINAL PART

Ash had to admit, Dex was one tough little son of a bitch. “Do you really think he’s going to leave you, or your dad, or Sloane? Think about it.”

“But what if it’s out of his control? He’s not invincible, Ash. What if he had died at that TIN facility after his DNA changed? What if—”

“Stop,” Ash said firmly. He cupped Cael’s face, relieved when Cael visibly relaxed. “No more what-ifs, okay? Asking yourself those kinds of questions won’t do you any good. There’s only one solution to this.”

Cael blinked at him. He turned and sat back on his heels, his hands on Ash’s knees and his eyes wide. “What?”

“We ask Sparks for more training. Sloane promised me he’d bring me in if he needed me. If they were going somewhere they’d need backup. I’m not about to let him or Dex traipse around the world without backup. If they need an extraction, I’m going to be on that team. Chances are they’re going to need some pretty fierce tech support. Your brother might get trained, but we both know his tech skills are shit, especially compared to yours.”

“Do you think Sparks will let us?”

“All your brother has to do is ask. TIN’s so desperate to have your brother, they’ll give him whatever he wants, and if that means training up his assets, there’s no way they’re saying no.”

Cael worried his bottom lip with his teeth. “Dex isn’t going to like it.”

“Dex doesn’t have a choice. Don’t ask him, Cael.” Ash reached out placed his thumb to Cael’s bottom lip. “Don’t let him underestimate you. You’re talented, incredibly smart, and far more resourceful than you or your brother give you credit for. He’s always going to be your big brother, but you’re not a little kid, Cael. You don’t need to ask Dex, your dad, or anyone for permission. If this is what you want, you talk to Dex, and you tell him how this is going to go. He can either help you, or you’ll figure it out on your own.”

Cael seemed to think about it. “You really think I can do this? TIN’s like… a whole other level of tech.”

Ash smiled. “Baby, I don’t think you can do this, I know you can.”

Cael took hold of Ash’s face, and brought him in for a kiss. It started sweet, soft, and slow, Cael’s mouth slanted over Ash’s. The kiss quickly grew heated, and Ash wrapped his arms around Cael, bringing him up against him. Cael was always telling Ash how he saw him, and it was true that no one saw him or understood him the way Cael did. If only Cael could see himself the way Ash saw him. Yes, he was sweet, soft, vulnerable, and adorable, but he was also fierce, strong, and incredibly capable. Every day, little by little, Ash did his best to help Cael see that he was so much more than he gave himself credit for.

One of these days, Cael would wake up and realize he had every right to be confident in his skills, in his abilities. Underneath the timid, fidgety cheetah Therian was a confident young man who could easily become an unstoppable force.

Ash returned Cael’s searing kiss, greedily accepting everything he was offered, allowing Cael’s adoration to wash over him. Cael straddled Ash’s lap, his arms wrapped around Ash’s neck as they kissed. Ash loved everything about Cael. Loved his scent, the taste of him, the feel of his sinewy body against Ash. Like they’d been made to fit together.

Cael slipped his fingers into Ash’s hair. There was barely anything there to hold onto, but Cael managed just fine. For a small Therian, Cael could be just the right side of rough, and Ash loved it. Loved when Cael took charge. In the bedroom, Cael was plenty confident. He knew his body, and by now knew enough about Ash’s body to drive him absolutely fucking insane. Never in a million years would Ash have thought Cael would be so wild in bed, and he was never selfish. Seeing Ash ready to come apart from want was as much of a turn on to Cael as any of the toys he enjoyed so much.

With a hum, Cael pulled back. “You’re right. We can do this. I can do this.”

“And I’ll be with you every step of the way.”

Cael smiled wide. He leaned in to kiss Ash when the oven beeped. Cael pulled back, his grin wicked. “But first cake.”

Ash threw his head back and laughed.

“And don’t think I’ve forgotten about my promise,” Cael said, sucking Ash’s earlobe between his teeth before flicking it with his tongue. Fuck. Okay, He could do this. He could wait, because he knew when Cael got his hands on him it was going to be mind-blowing.

Ash got up, watching as Cael bounded into the kitchen, rambling on about what kind of cool tech TIN probably had. Ash leaned against the counter as Cael pulled on oven mitts, so excited with everything, from the idea of learning secret ninja skills, to life in general. Ash just watched him and listened, offering the occasional reply. He was just… captivated, and so stupidly, ridiculously, hopelessly in love. He should have been scared shitless, wondering when the hell it had happened, or why it was happening so fast, and then Cael turned, met his gaze, and smiled that big beautiful smile of his. Okay, he got it. He got the whole love thing, and not the whole brotherly love thing. He got that ages ago. Sloane was his brother, and there was little Ash wouldn’t do for him, but Cael? This was something else altogether.

“This is going to be so great, Ash.”

Ash left the counter, bringing Cael into his arms for a kiss. “Yeah, it is.” They were going to be great. Every doubt Ash had about them, and where they were going vanished. He knew just what to do. There was a lot to do. People he had to talk to. And of course Cael.

But first cake.


THIRDS Thursdays goes on hiatus the month of a new release, so we'll be back on May 4th!
Copyright © 2017 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.

THIRDS Thursday - 3/16/17

Prompt: Would love to see Cael and Ash baking on a lazy rainy Saturday. Cakes, cookies, all kinds of heavenly sugary goods. Maybe Ash finally sharing or showing the how-to of a recipe Cael just never could get right. Just them goofing off and having a good day. Would like it to be after they got officially together. And as always, a little touchy-feely never hurt anyone. ;)

****SPOILER ALERT**** This takes place after Thick & Thin.
Part Two last week. Read it here.

PART THREE

Showers had vastly improved since Cael started joining him. The two of them seemed to be in sync more and more each day. When Cael chatted away at him, Ash happily listened. When Cael was quiet, and needed to be in his own head, Ash left him to it. When that happened, Ash found himself having to touch Cael in some way. As if he needed to feel him, to assure himself Cael was there, which was ridiculous. He could see Cael, so why should he need to touch him? To say this was all knew to him was an understatement. It struck him then that in four months, he and Cael would have been together a year. Yet it felt like they’d been together so much longer.

“That feels good.” Cael hummed, drawing his attention back to the present, and the deliciously naked Cael standing in front of him, his back to Ash.

Ash smiled as he continued to massage Cael’s scalp. Cael let his head fall back against Ash’s chest. He opened his big gray eyes and smiled.

“Hi.”

Ash hunched over and kissed Cael, upside down, making him laugh. “Hi. Rinse, before you get conditioner in your eyes.”

“You’re so adorable.”

Now there was a word no one had ever associated with Ash Keeler, and anyone who dared call him that to his face would get an earful. Except Cael. Cael was the exception to every rule.

Cael stepped under the shower and washed the conditioner out of his hair while Ash finished washing up. They got out and dried themselves. Ash hung up his towel and turned to find himself wrapped up in Cael’s arms and a huge fluffy towel.

“Thank you, Ash.”

“For what?” Ash brushed Cael’s wet hair away from his brow, his pulse picking up, and his heart beating fast. It always did when Cael looked at him like he was now. Like Ash was the most amazing thing in the world.

“For being you.”

Ash swallowed hard. It wasn’t easy being on the receiving end of such adoration. It wasn’t long ago that he didn’t think himself worthy of such a look. “You’re the only one I’ve ever known who didn’t want to change me.”

“Because no one has ever taken the time to really look at you. They don’t see what I see.” Cael cupped Ash’s face, his sparkling gray eyes filled with so much love. For him. “There’s so much… wrong with me, yet you’re always so patient. You know how to deal with me.”

Ash’s expression softened, and he brushed his fingers along Cael’s jaw. “First off, there is nothing wrong with you, sweetheart. None of us get through life without picking up scars along the way. Even your brother Mr. Perfect, isn’t so perfect. Second, you’re not someone I deal with. You’re someone I love. Someone who means the world to me, who makes me cherish every minute we’re together. When you’re having a panic attack, I want to make it better for you, and I do my best to show you you’re safe. When you’re feeling anxious, I try to show you how much you’re loved. When you’re scared, I do everything to assure you that I’m right beside you. I’ll do whatever it takes to make everything okay again. Because it’s you.”

Cael averted his gaze, but his lips were pulled up in a shy smile. “See. You always know just what to say.”

Ash gently turned Cael’s face so their eyes could meet. “I love you.”

“I love you too.” Cael stood on his toes and kissed him. It was sweet, slow, and filled Ash with the kind of hope he never thought he’d feel. Ash ran his hands down Cael’s arms, his skin soft in Ash’s rough hands.

Ash pulled back, feeling breathless. He couldn’t take his eyes off Cael. “I gotta say, sweetheart, you terrify me.”

Cael tilted his head. “Me?”

“Yeah. I don’t think you know the power you have over me. You got me thinking all kinds of crazy things.”

“Like what?”

Ash shook his head. “I don’t think I’m ready to say them out loud.” Just thinking about it scared the shit out of him.

“Well, when you’re ready,” Cael said, smiling as he kissed Ash, sweet and quick. “I’ll be right here.”

Ash nodded. He breathed in deep through his nose, and released the breath slow through his mouth. He motioned toward the door. “How about we get dressed and get to baking?”

“Sounds awesome.” Cael pulled away and left Ash holding the towel. He walked off naked, and Ash turned to watch him go, the sight of Cael’s tight ass making him groan.

“Really? You want me to think about baking with you strutting around here like that?” He followed Cael out into the bedroom, and folded his arms over his chest. The little tease. Cael slipped into his boxers nice and slow, his back turned. Ash had never seen anything so sinful.

“You teach me how to make the perfect, fluffy angel food cake,” Cael purred, “and after, as a show of gratitude, I will let you pick any toy from the drawer to use on me.”

Ash stifled a gasp. “I get to choose?”

Cael looked at him from over his shoulder. “Yep.”

“Anything?”

Cael nodded. “Anything.”

Holy shit.

Ash was pretty sure he broke a world record with how quick he got dressed. When he was done, he grabbed Cael’s clothes and thrust them at him. “Come on, we got some baking to do.”

Cael waggled his eyebrows. “With great power….”

“Oh, you’re in for it now.” Ash grabbed him and lifted him off his feet, laughing at Cael’s yelp and flailing arms as Ash hoisted him over his shoulder. He smacked Cael’s ass for good measure.

“Ash!” Cael laughed as Ash carried him down the stairs.

“Challenge has been accepted. There’s no turning back now.” The perfect angel food cake was the only thing standing between him and hot, toe-curling sex. He was not about to lose.



Part four next week on 3/23/17!
Copyright © 2017 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.

Dex and Sloane THIRDS Valentine's Day Flash Fiction!

Hello, all! We have a special Valentine's treat for you! The fabulous RJ Scott is hosting a number of authors on her blog to celebrate Valentine's Day, and today we have a fun little Valentine's Day flash fiction story featuring our devious duo Dexter J. Daley and Sloane Brodie. Check out what mischief Dex is up to on Valentine's Day.

http://rjscottauthor.blogspot.com/2017/02/a-dex-and-sloane-thirds-series.html

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