Sunday, November 6, 2011

"Fall From Grace"

Good morning!

I'm in the middle of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) so this weekend I wanted to share what I have been working furiously on for the month of November.

~
     Someone was pounding on the door.
     Cyrus Ranger groaned and rolled over, letting loose a string of obscenities that only a sailor could muster.
     “It’s not time to get up,” he muttered, glaring viciously at the alarm clock.
     Easter Sunday. He and his friend Adam were expected in the kitchen where Adam’s mom was patiently waiting to try, yet again, to teach the duo how to properly prepare a holiday feast.
     “I heard that, Ranger!” Came the voice from the other side of the door. “You need to watch that filthy mouth of yours or mum’ll wash it out with a bar of glycerin soap!”
     His eyes popped open and he grinned despite himself. The nagging voice belonged to none other than his favorite co-worker, Carmen A. Ramirez, or Alex for short.
     She was the epitome of female; from her sweet milk and honey scent right down to the enormous collection of shoes she had stashed away. The difference was her consistent refusal of the title “female”, or any other name that made the mistake of categorizing her as a girl.
     “Non-girl,” he breathed, smiling.
     He threw off the blankets and was reaching for his boxer shorts when the door flew open.
     “What the fuck?” Cyrus scrambled to cover up as Alex strolled in. “I’m, erm, in a compromising position, Alex. Couldn’t you have knocked?”
     She smiled sweetly. “Nice, erm...”
     He was holding a bed sheet around his mid-section, she noticed. He had covered quickly, but not quite fast enough that she hadn’t seen what was hidden underneath.
     “Modesty is over-rated, Ranger. I’ve seen it before.” She looked at the boxers that had been tossed on the floor and chuckled as his cheeks flamed.
     “Can I help you?” He asked, trying to remain casual.
     “Mum wants you in the kitchen. Yesterday.” She turned her eyes back to him and he shivered.
     “I’ll be right down,” he managed.
     She nodded but didn’t move. Her eyes slowly inched their way across him.
     She smirked and turned to the door. “I’ll let her know. Don’t keep her waiting.”
     The door closed and he listened to her footsteps as she travelled down the stairs.
     Cyrus shook his head and waited for his heart rate to slow down before reaching again for his shorts.
#

     By the time he managed to get to the kitchen Adam and Alex were sitting down on the stools, their elbows resting on the countertop. The steam still rose from their coffee mugs and the scent tantalized him from across the room.
     Adam’s mom stood at the sink. She had been dubbed “Mum” by most, if not all, of his friends. He lightly kissed her on the cheek and gratefully accepted the cup that she offered.
     Mum was a tall graceful woman with a sun weathered face and sparkling green eyes. She had a strong jaw and smooth sand colored hair. Her long tapered fingers were holding a mug on her own.
     She was already wearing a bib apron over her jeans. Her blouse sleeves were rolled up past her elbows.
     Mum had a soft spot for kids and a tendency to unofficially adopt her children’s friends. At twenty-three, Cyrus was far from being a child, but she had greeted him warmly and welcomed him into her home with open arms and an open heart, the Christmas after he and Adam had returned from a tour of duty in the Middle East. Having no family left of his own, Cyrus was grateful for the invitation and had been given a place in her life as one of her own children.
     Six years later Cyrus Ranger had come to view her with the love and respect he felt he would give his own mom had she still been alive.
     “Are you boys ready to start soon?”
     Adam and Cyrus looked at one another and grinned, their eyes alight with mischief.
     “Of course mum,” Adam said as he reached over Alex to nab a muffin.
     The last two times she had tried to teach them the basics of holiday fare had proved disastrous. Thanksgiving had found the turkey still raw. Christmas had produced one overcooked with smoke wafting off of it. Cyrus figured the result of this day would be somewhere in the middle.
     “Third time’s a charm,” Mum murmured, echoing his thoughts. She placed a stack of material on the counter. “Get dressed. There’s an apron here for each of you.”
     Adam snickered and tossed a pink flowered one to Cyrus, snagging a blue and white one for himself. There was one left on the counter. Alex’s eyes widened.
     “Oh hell no!” she said as the boys started to howl with laughter.
     Mum winked at her. “I need another woman in here to help me keep these two under control.”
     Adam had tears in his eyes. Cyrus snorted. “She’s worse than both of us put together!” he managed.
     “I most certainly am not a woman!” she snatched up the apron, indignant. “It’s pink!” she wailed.
     “You guys have thirty minutes to get yourselves ready,” Mum called as she walked down the hall, barely managing to suppress a laugh until she made it around the corner.
  

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