Today’s topic is separation, distance, even death. The dark periods in a character’s story. Well, that’s right up my alley because anyone who has read any of my books knows I love angst. My characters have it in bucketloads. But I think one of my favorite scenes, and favorite characters, is Brett from TEXAS TANGLE, and how he tries to put distance between himself and the woman he loves in order to save his relationship with his best friend.
Surrendering to another night’s lost sleep, Brett headed back to the kitchen. He was just finishing the last of his second beer when someone pounded on his apartment door.
Dillon. It had to be. Who the fuck else would be awake at five-fucking-thirty in the fucking morning?
The door rattled on its hinges as a fist pounded it again.
“Come on, buddy, open up.”
He walked to the door, but before his hand touched the lock, he hesitated and rested his head on the jamb. All hope for happiness drained from him, as if someone had pulled a plug.
Get it over with.
“Brett, open the door, will ya? Your car’s out in the parking lot, so I know you’re here.”
He flipped the lock and, bracing himself, opened the door.
Dillon pushed past him and glanced around the apartment, as if he’d never been there before.
Not for the first time, he wondered why he couldn’t have been the one to drive past her that first night. To have bought the place bordering hers. Sometimes fate was a black-hearted bitch. “What do you want, Dill?”
Dillon took off his hat and banged it against his thigh a couple times before he faced Brett. “I want you to explain what the fuck you’re doing sleeping here. You’re supposed to be stayin’ at my place.”
Brett rubbed his hands over his face. “I felt like sleeping in my own bed, all right?”
He realized too late that he’d left the bedroom door open, and Dillon could see for himself he’d not slept in the bed.
Dillon tilted his head to one side, his eyes glittering obsidian in the dim light. “You look like shit. And Nikki was antsy tonight too. So you want to tell me what the fuck’s going on? Did you two fight or something?”
three vulnerable and loving characters…wickedly addictive and an emotionally stimulating love story.. ~ Book Junkie
“Yeah, she wouldn’t say anything. When you didn’t come home, I figured something may have gone on between you, and she was too polite to say anything. So what happened?”
There was the opening. He should just admit he had a thing for Nikki still and get it over with. “She tell you about what she found out at the bank?”
“About Phil cleanin’ out her bank accounts? Yup.”
“Yeah, well, she was crying about losing all her stuff, and I—”
Before he could get any further, Dillon interrupted him. “She was crying?”
“Shit!” Dillon ran his hand through his hair, spiking it in a half-dozen directions. “She’s not once cried around me.”
“She’s trying to be strong, Dill. She thinks she has to prove something. That she has to handle things all by herself, or she’s failed or something.”
Keep going. Tell him the rest of it. Go on, you coward.
Shaking his head, Dillon tossed his hat on the chair and began to pace. “Why would she think that? She has me to lean on.” He waved a hand in Brett’s direction. “She’s got you too. She doesn’t have to do everything all by herself.”
“She thinks she does.” Coward, coward, coward!
But I didn’t kiss her, he argued with himself. You can’t charge people for something they were thinking about but didn’t do. It wouldn’t stand up in a court of law, so why ruin things between him and Dillon again? He cursed the equivocation, hating when his suspects tried such games. “Outward she’s comes across confident, but inside? She’s probably hearing everything her parents said to her, about her being stupid and such. She’s hurtin’ still, Dillon.”
“Yeah, I know. That’s why I want you to come back.”
So I can act on my impulses? No fucking way. “You don’t need me there anymore. You didn’t before. Phil isn’t coming back. I’m the third wheel. I’m in your way.”
“You’re just going to walk away? Leave her to do the morning chores all by herself. Just like Phil.”
“I’ll get Matt to help her out in the mornings, before he heads to school. I got things to do. Responsibilities.” He walked to the door and opened it again. “I’ll let you know if I hear anything more about Nik’s stuff.”
Dillon rocked on his heels for a moment. “What about your responsibilities to Nik?”
“I’ve done what I can. It’s time to get back to a normal routine. To get on with life.” It’s too dangerous for me to go back there again. It hurts too much.
“Huh.” The white hat banged against denim with a sharp snap before Dillon placed it back on his head and walked to the door. “Never figured you’d walk away from a promise. Your word used to be good for something.”
Well, shit. Whoever said words couldn’t hurt didn’t know jack shit. Because he felt like he’d just been stabbed with a fucking bowie knife right in the chest.
“Tell Nik…” Tell her I love her. “Tell her I’ll call you if anything new comes up on her stuff.”
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