Welcome to Wednesday Briefs, a blog hop where authors post 500-1000 words of free flash fiction. I am serializing a story, so this post continues with Carson, a hopeful submissive who is finding out things he doesn’t want to know and trying to figure out what to do next.
Because I’m either in the hospital or have just gotten home, I set this story to post ahead of time. The group kindly sent me a couple advance prompts, and I have used “Make yourself at home.”
Want to read the story of Carson’s first meeting with the mysterious “Sir”? You can read “Unwrapped” here. The chapters are linked.
Want to start with the first chapter of Uncool? Click here. These chapters are also linked.
“I’m serious, Carson. Is this guy trouble?”
How was I supposed to answer that? I didn’t know much of anything about Bradley, not much more than a name. I think I might have met him once, but I couldn’t even remember him.
“Stewart doesn’t seem to think he is.” Lame as it was, that was the best answer I had.
Lenie picked up a cookie and snapped hers in half with an evil grin. “Sounds like Carson needs to conduct a little research.”
“Says the woman who works with mummies.”
“Mummies may not talk, but they say a lot.”
Maybe they did, but I wasn’t about to follow suit and unwrap my past. My past wasn’t a place I liked to visit. “Maybe you should ask the Pharoahs what they think about all this.”
“Don’t mock them.” We both knew none of the mummies had ever been pharaohs. “They possess the wisdom of the ages and they would tell me you need to get out more. You can’t expect to meet the kind of man you need when all you ever do is see every man you meet as the man you think you want.”
I would have called her on her bullshit—except she was right. It was really irritating when Lenie and Stewart agreed on something.
“You can cease with the psychology.” I munched on the rest of my cookie.
“Psychology? The Pharoahs and I employ common sense. Everyone has it except you.” Lenie turned to look at the clock on the wall. The timepiece was enormous and garish, with the Eye of Ra in the center and hieroglyphs where the numbers would be. Her grandmother had given it to her when she graduated high school. I wish my grandmother had given me something like that. “Shit,” she said, “I have to get to the museum. I don’t trust the holiday staff to triple check the settings on the exhibits. I don’t suppose you drove over and would be willing to give me a ride?”
I shook my head. “Walked.”
“That’s why you get socks.” She climbed off the couch and one by one tossed the empty coffee cups into the trash with a practiced flip of her wrist. “Make yourself at home. If you need it, the WEP key’s on the fridge under Anubis.”
* * * *
It didn’t take me long to find the WEP key. I know who Anubis was and actually think he’s kind of cool in an uber-dom, Egyptian dog god kind of way. I pulled out my laptop and as soon as I entered the key and was connected, I typed out the name of Reed Bradley. But then I paused.
Why would I even want to know more about this man? I wanted to put my parents and the mess they had created of their lives, and of my life, behind me, not front and center.
Then again, if I knew more about Bradley, what he looked like… I could protect myself. He wouldn’t able to hang out anywhere near me without me knowing. And if he did something creepy like show up here at Lenie’s—
My finger twitched and search results flooded the screen. I clicked on an article from Forbes about “The Man Reshaping Philadelphia’s Skyline” and there he was. He looked fit, confident, even thoughtful, with that touch of arrogant reserve most wealthy, aggressive assholes acquire along with their ability to wear David Chu suits in penthouse boardrooms. Despite aristocratic cheekbones, there was something rugged and streetwise about Bradley's face, and the deep set sky blue eyes that looked out from beneath trimmed brows were definitely commanding. He perched on the edge of a desk, with the city spread behind him. He might be forty, or maybe not forty yet, given his salt and pepper hair was receding only a little, but he wasn’t old. I could imagine him speaking with that devastating voice.
And I was so screwed up my cock was hard just from me looking at his damn photo.
I slammed down the screen, making the image go away. Barely a minute later, I swore again and flipped the screen up so I could scroll past his face to the article. The information I needed wouldn’t be found in a picture.
Reading about Bradley was less painful than I’d thought it would be. At only one point did the Forbes article touch on his dealings with my family, mentioning Bradley’s acquisition of the old Great Valley Steel industrial yard and how he’d turned outdated warehouses and buildings into premiere living space. I skipped that part. The rest of the article corroborated what Stewart had already said, how Bradley’s parents had sold everything to send him to Penn but he’d bought an apartment building instead, a total dick move, except then he’d worked his way through school and turned that apartment building into an empire. Now he supported the community and was giving back, blah blah blah. I wondered if that last part was the reporter’s idea, or his.
Once I got past the picture, mining for facts became a game. I grew up around business people and crooks. The two often go hand in hand. My accountant, Saul, delighted in teaching me ways to track down the “real” story behind any business deal. He pried at a deal until it screamed for mercy and only then would he possibly concede he knew the whole story. I’d used those methods to dissect grant applications but had never put those skills to work on the death throes of Great Valley Steel. It was time I did.
Reed Bradley wanted to be in my life? Fine. I went in search of answers I’d once sworn I didn’t want to know.
And then I went and found a bench across the river from the Steelyard. I stared at it until the sun sank away and, one by one, bits of light from the steel and glass structure’s windows reflected in the sluggish water like stars.
All of the Wednesday Briefers have great stories to offer this week, so check them out!