Have a wonderful holiday, whichever holiday you honor. Tomorrow, I’m spending the solstice in a day of meditation.
Content Warning: While these fics take place after the event, they will discuss a school shooting.
Copyright 2017 Thianna Durston
Links to this flash fic are fine. Please do not repost elsewhere.
Rafe cleared his voice softly, startled when every eye turned toward him. Heat flooded into his cheeks. “You know, the QSA doesn’t have a permanent place on campus. They’re the ones he went for. It might be nice to have something besides a meeting room in the student union where we get together once a week.”
“What? Like a frat house?” Santi asked, sounding more like the Santi he knew as he ate.
“I don’t know.” The idea had just hit him and now he worried he shouldn’t have said anything. Plus would that give some jerk just a rainbow flag to go after?
“That’s a good idea,” Levlin said slowly. “You know what might also work? There are plenty of young gay men who are struggling. I know. I see them daily. The problem is that when they run out of capital, they disappear. It might be nice to create a fund where when a gay man in the area runs out of funds, there are some to use so he doesn’t have to fade. I worry about them when they’re suddenly gone.”
Slowly but surely more ideas began to fill the space. They went from small to extreme, and while some of them were interesting, nothing felt right.
During a break where some of the men were upstairs, including Levlin, Rafe went up to the main floor and down to the guest room where Nick was. He knocked on the mostly shut door.
“Come in.” Ethan’s voice sounded calm, but then he rarely lost his cool.
Rafe opened the door and walked inside. Nick lay on top of the bed with Ethan seated beside him. “Perfect timing,” Ethan said with a smile. “I want to get Nicky and myself a plate but didn’t want to leave him alone. Mind sticking around for a few minutes?”
Ethan left and Nick gave him a wan smile as he sat up against the pillows. “Nothing quite sounds right, does it?” he asked, his voice a bit raspy.
“There are some good ideas,” Rafe said as he sat down next to his friend. “But nothing that’s excited anyone. Levlin said sometimes it takes several hours for the right idea to form and take shape. And he said Cory wasn’t kidding about keeping us here until we came up with something.”
Nick chuckled lightly. “We have a crazy family.”
“That we do. Now how are you doing? Santi, Finn, and I have missed you this week.” School went back into session on Wednesday and it still felt strange being there. He couldn’t quite get comfortable and while he had only told Levlin, he’d not once looked at the library.
“I missed me this week too,” Nick said wryly. “Ethan set me up with some shrink. I see her tomorrow. Not looking forward to that.”
Grinning, Rafe nudged him. “Levlin set me up with one too.”
Nick grasped his hand suddenly and held it tight. “You were supposed to be there,” he said in a husky voice, all pretense of humor gone. “I know you were.”
“I was running late.” Rafe shook his head and looked toward the window. Unfortunately it gave him nothing to look at as the blinds were closed. “Levlin’s had to tan my hide a couple times this week because I’m having a difficult time with it.”
Nick squeezed his hand and pulled him into a hug. Rafe wrapped his arms around him and held on. “I keep dreaming that I got there on time,” he whispered in a shaky voice. “And watched as that guy…” He gulped and held Nick tighter, unable to repeat the worst part of the nightmare. “What happened with you?”
“I’m still not sure. Supposedly the psychiatrist will help me figure it out. I remember a barrage of images—it was like being attacked—and then everything went dark. Next thing I knew, I woke up in the hospital with a worried Ethan at my side.” Nick sighed and pulled back. “I feel like I’m fighting something I can’t see and it’s pissing me off.”
“Yeah,” Rafe agreed. “I’m not sure if our brains are a good thing or a bad thing. Levlin says my waking nightmares are my brain’s way of working through everything. I told him I thought my brain was out to get me.”
Nick smiled. “What did he say?”
“He said no. That was his job.” The memory of the smile in Levlin’s eyes when he’d said it made Rafe smile. There had been so much love unspoken in that smile.
With a small laugh, Nick nodded. He glanced toward the open door and then back at Rafe. “As long as the shrink okays it, I want to go to school on Monday. I missed a week to go to Europe and another week due to this. Any more school missed and I’ll have to take all the classes over.” He blew out a long breath. “And I want to graduate with you guys.”
“That will be great,” Rafe agreed. He, Santi, Finn, and Nate would all graduate in just over a year’s time. It was going to be wonderful. But he also worried about what would happen then. He was in Falcon Pointe for the long haul, though he had no idea what he’d do as a Ufologist in Falcon Pointe. Levlin’s job was here and he loved the place. Rafe thought it wouldn’t feel so much like home if Santi, Finn, and Nick went elsewhere for work. “Know what you want to do when you graduate?”
Rafe snorted a laugh.
Nick shrugged. “Ethan wants to travel a bit, so we might do that for the first year or so. But then I’ll have to figure something out. He said he’s willing to train me on the whole venture capital side if I’m willing, but I’m not sure if that’s what I want to do. I’ve got a while before I need to decide, I guess.”
“I’m still waiting for Santi and Finn to declare their majors. They’re a year late,” Rafe said. He had created his own major in Ufology right before the second semester of his sophomore year.
“Leave it to Santi. Finn I would have expected to have it figured out by now. But Santi loves to wait until the last minute.”
“He’s got more than enough credits to decide on several different majors. The guy’s an overachiever.”
“He’s our overachiever.” The warmth in Nick’s voice made him smile.
“Yes he is.”
The door opened and Ethan stepped inside, two plates and cups in his hands. Rafe leaped to his feet and grabbed the cups. He set them on the side table as Ethan handed Nick a plate filled with food. “They’re about to start again,” Ethan said.
“You should go down,” Nick said quickly. “I want to hear what’s going on.”
“I’m not leaving your side,” Ethan said patiently. “If someone’s with you, you don’t panic. But left alone…” Nick flinched.
“Ethan,” Rafe said. “How did you do it before?”
“I had my phone on speaker and he had his mic muted.”
Rafe pulled out his phone. “I can do it. I’ll call you as soon as I get down there.”
“Thanks, Rafe.” Nick gave him a tired smile and he nodded.
He left and went back down to the basement. It was still heavily crowded and he made his way over to Santi and Finn. Frank had joined them since he left. “Hey, Frank.”
“Rafe, how’s Nick doing?”
“Okay. I need to call him so he and Ethan can listen in.” Frank nodded and Rafe hit the speed dial. Once he was sure they could hear everyone well, he leaned back against the wall and waited for the meeting to resume.
If you have enjoyed this tiny window into Falcon Pointe, check out the first books in the Men of Falcon Pointe series.
Flash Fic #13 will be posted on Wednesday, Dec 27th. (Only a few more to go!)