It’s the beginning of Nanowrimo!
I’m using mine to finish the final Mina and Matty series. I have the first story finished, so I figured I’d share the beginning of that.
Warning: MASSIVE Monsters of Pittsburgh Spoilers to follow:
His battered kidneys protested as Rick stretched. He’s been distracted knowing that Jen would be here soon, and Mina had pounded on him mercilessly every time she slipped past his guard.
He glanced at her in the mirror, and had to choke back a laugh. Her gaze was obviously glued to his ass.
“Hey lady, my eyes are up here.”
Her olive faced flushed a deep red. “Oh gods.”
This time the laugh escaped, and he turned to her. “That’s the third time tonight. What’s up with you?”
She covered her face with her hands for a moment, then laughed as well. “Just feeling… lonely.”
Rick’s humor vanished. This time of year was the hardest for her. It had been two years since the Trojan left on Christmas Day. “Want to go out with us tonight?”
She gaped at him for a moment, then shook her head. “Really? How are you going broach that subject to Jen? ‘Mind if my ex-girlfriend, who I live with, tags along with us on our first date in three weeks? I noticed her checking out my ass earlier, and I think she needs to get out of the house.’” She rolled her eyes. “Are you trying to get dumped?”
He shrugged, fighting the growing embarrassment. “When you put it that way…’
“Besides I already have an appointment to third wheel. Matty wanted to do movie night.” Her smile wavered, and Rick pulled her into a hug before she could cry.
She clung to him for a moment, but pushed away with dry eyes. “You stink. Get a shower before Jen gets here.”
He grabbed her shoulders. “Are you sure you’re okay?”
“Not really. But I’ll be better on the 26th. You know that.” She pulled in a deep breath, resting her hands on his forearms. “You’re the best. I’m lucky to still have you.”
He kissed the top of her head. “I’ll always be here, you know that.”
Her face fell further.
Rick sighed, he knew she was thinking of the Trojan again. “He’ll be back, Mina. He loves you.”
She swallowed and nodded. Rick pulled her into another hug. For a moment, he wished things had worked out between them. It wasn’t that he still wanted her. In fact, after the break up, they’d fallen back into the old sibling-like relationship with only a few bumps, and he couldn’t wait for the Trojan to prove him right. Days like this though, when she was lonely and miserable, he wished he’d been who she wanted. He hated seeing her cry.
“Thank you,” she said into his chest. “For everything.”
“Just three more days and then Christmas is over.”
She stepped away with a nod, wiping at her eyes, finally. “I know. And I’m doing better than last year.”
Rick forced a laugh. “I don’t think Sam could have handled another drunken holiday.”
She snickered as she tossed him a cold water bottle from the mini-fridge. “He should have known better than to try and go shot for shot with a werewolf.”
Her Speaker might have a good hundred and twenty pounds on her, but Mina’s ability to heal meant that she could drink far past what her slim frame suggested. Poor Sam had been fall down drunk by noon and burnt dinner to a crisp. They’d had a TV dinner Christmas to the old man’s annoyance.
She smiled over her shoulder at him. “Jen’s going to be here any minute, and you really need to shower.”
He shrugged. “She doesn’t mind the sweat.”
“No, I love the sweat.” Jen strode into the gym with leaves in her short, dark hair. She often spent days on end in the forest tracking monsters. This last trip had had her out of cell phone range for three days.
Rick pushed her thick, black glasses up her nose, and nibbled on her ear. She smelled like wood smoke and the clean pine of the woods.
She nuzzled his neck for a moment before flashing Mina a smile. “How’s the bar?”
Rick beamed, and thanked the gods again that these two women were friends. Outwardly, they had nothing in common. Jen wore her second hand shop finds with pride, and Mina hunted down designers like she did monsters.
At a even more basic level, their personalities couldn’t be more opposite. Mina was dynamite. A tiny package of explosive damage. Jen was more like her rifle. Large, adaptable, and so warm to the touch you almost forgot it was deadly.
Mina shrugged, a smile on her thin face. “My reputation is fearsome enough that I can put down most fights by frowning these days.”
Jen chuckled. “So, what are we doing for New Year’s?”
Mina’s hands waved in the air. “Matty wanted marathon 50’s sci-fi movies.”
“No.” Jen shook her head. “You and I will hit up Rita’s on our own before that happens.”
Mina raised a hand for Jen to slap. “She’s gonna ask me to come in to work anyway.”
He laughed. “Promise me I won’t have to pick you two up at the clinic again.”
Mina shrugged. “We kind of had to take Seth.”
Jen nodded. “We did put him through the window. It was the only decent thing to do.”
Mina headed for the door. “But, despite the popular and very smelly opinions in this room, I desperately need a shower. C’mon, Hudson.”
A tiny meow came from the corner, as a gray cat with darker gray stripes uncurled and chased after Mina.
Jen shook her head. “That is uncanny.”
Rick smiled. He decided to head off her awkwardness. “Go ahead and say it.”
Jen’s pale skin flushed, darkening her freckles. “Fine. Jerk. Is that a werewolf thing? The connection with the cat?”
“Nope. Dogs are intrigued or a little confused when they encounter a werewolf in wolf form, but they aren’t more obedient or anything like that. Most animals don’t react to werewolves any differently than to regular wolves or people. Hudson just showed up one day and adopted Mina.”
Jen cocked her head. “Who the hell knows why cats do anything. I swear they aren’t really domesticated. Not like dogs or horses.” She stepped away from him. “Want to go another round?”
He grinned. Jen didn’t spar with him often. She did her demon hunting with guns and traps.
“Bring it on, woman.”
She took off her hiking boots and her flannel shirt. Rick stretched as he enjoyed the view. She was tall with the long, lean muscles of someone who spent lots of time walking.
She stepped gracefully around him. “You just gonna stand there, big guy.”
He hid a smile. Her hands were up, but her stance was sloppy. He slipped to side, and tapped her head gently. Startled, she tripped over her feet, stumbling a step or two.
As he stepped back, her eyes narrowed. “You’re not taking this seriously, are you?”
“I always take fighting seriously, but you aren’t fighting. You’re just dancing around.”
She rushed towards him swinging. Rick took one weak punch to the shoulder, and grabbing her other wrist. She offered no resistance when he pinned her to his chest.
Instead, she slipped her free hand around his neck. “Forget sparring.”
“Sounds good to me.” He ran his lips along her long neck.
“You’re a caveman.”
He nodded, and gripped the back of her thighs. Tall as she was, he could still lift her, and she loved being manhandled.
“So, you and Mina are sparring a lot again?” The tone was too innocent to be anything but fishing.
He tried to lift her, but she resisted. Rick pushed away his sudden sense of worry. “A little more than usual. The holidays are hard on her. She needs to blow off steam.”
Jen’s lips pressed together.
Rick let her go. “What’s wrong?”
She gave a strained laugh. “Nothing’s wrong. I just, I don’t-” She took a deep breath. “You two are very touchy-feely.”
His eyebrows shot up. “How long have you been here?”
“Good. If you heard the whole conversation, then there’s nothing to explain. She’s my family, and she’s in pain.”
“She’s your ex-girlfriend, who you invite out on dates.”
“I didn’t mean it.” He shrugged at her incredulous stare. “I wasn’t thinking, I was reacting.”
“Reacting to her checking out your ass?”
“Jen, it’s not- she and I-” He pulled in a deep breath. “She’s not interested, she’s lonely. I thought you two were friends.”
“We are friends. That doesn’t mean I’m comfortable with her eye humping you.”
Irritation welled up in him. She’d never been jealous before. “So when random women slap my ass that’s funny, but when my roommate has a bad day and needs a friend, that’s a problem?”
Her hands curled into fists. “Matty is your roommate, Mina is your ex-girlfriend.”
“Emphasize the ‘ex’ a little more, please. Maybe it’ll sink in.”
“I’m not sure it will, Rick. It’s been two years since you broke up and you still ask ‘how high’ when she says ‘jump.’”
“Who doesn’t?” He shrugged. “It’s Mina for gods’ sake.”
Jen took a deep breath. “Have you even considered getting your own place?”
Rick pushed down anger. He’d explained this to her before. “I can’t move out. Matty still needs me.”
She rolled her eyes. “Matty’s doing just fine.”
“How the hell would you know?” Her eyes popped, but Rick kept talking. “I’ve told you before, he’s my best friend, and he needs the support. He’s always going to need the support. As well as he’s doing, he still has his bad days. I promised him that I’d always be there for him, same as I promised Mina. They need to know somebody in this world has their back no matter what.”
Her clenched fists were on her hips now. “Are you sure you know which one them you dated?”