Whoa! Lots to inpire us writers today! Believe it or not, this scene with 250 words. And it grew like the Green Giant’s magic bean vine. Our prompts this week include the #1lineWed. theme **PERSIST: Hold the fort, stay the course, die hard.** And from #ThursdayThreads, we have this line: “Maybe I was falling for her.” As for context, I don’t know if this belongs in a future Hard Target book or it it’ll be part of the epilogue in CROSSFIRE. We’ll see when I get to that point. In the meantime, I enjoyed the hell out of sitting down and whipping out over 700 words. And usuable words at that!
The crowd in Mother Goose’s was mellow. Something country played on the juke box but not loud enough to intrude. The entire Hard Target team, along with Corey and Meg occupied one corner. The men had pushed several tables together and the women laughed as all those alpha males jockeyed for the prime seats—those against the wall so they could see all the exits and no one could come up behind them. Duke, Tank, Kin, and Loch won. Everyone shuffled into seats. Tank and Lock sat at each end while Duke, Corey, Meg, and Kin sat along the wall. Uri sat next to Loch, then Brady, Shane, Dalton—stuck in the middle facing the women—then Bo and Dom.
Bear manned the bar and at the moment, the two waitresses were perched on barstools taking a break. They’d already delivered drinks and bar food to the group. Corey snagged the basket of fried mushrooms and placed it conspicuously between her and Meg. Dalton pushed all the little bowls of ranch dressing in their direction. The men savaged the mozzarella sticks, marinara, and the loaded nachos. Most of the team had frosty mugs of beer. Lock and Kin had tall glasses filled with dark Guinness ale. Corey sipped a wine spritzer and Meg went hard core—a margarita on the rocks.
Corey studied Dalton, who only played with the mozzarella stick on the plate in front of him. He’d also ignored his beer. The last few days, he’d been noticeably absent. When she’d commented to Duke about it, he’d told her to leave it alone. But she was worried about the good-hearted surfer boy and despites Duke’s warning, she waded in. “So what’s going on with you, Dalton?”
He took a bite of the fried cheese and made a show of chewing. When he finally swallowed, he said,
“You’ve been moping around lately.”
“I don’t mope.”
“Then what would you call your behavior?”
Meg jumped in. “And where’s that pretty girl you were hanging out with. I haven’t seen her around.”
Dalton took another bite. The women glanced at each other as Dalton swiveled around and yelled, “Yo, Bear! Can we get some more cheese sticks?”
“Dalton.” Corey used her mom voice, drawing out his name and using a warning tone. “So what’s up.”
“Inflation. The price of gas. You name it.”
Duke pulled Corey’s chair closer and draped his arm over the back. “Corey,” he cautioned.
In spite of Duke’s actions warning her off, she continued. “Why do you persist in this?”
“In this what?”
“In everything you are doing right now.”
He flashed his winsome grin and shrugged. “What does that even mean?”
“Persist, Dalton. It’s in the dictionary. It means to stay the course.”
“Hold the fort,” Brady suggested.
Tank looked up. “Die hard.”
Corey made a face. “Die hard? Seriously? What does dying hard have to do with persistence?””
“Yeah, seriously. “Die Hard.’ John McClain. You know, the movies? Now he was a persistent sonavabitch.”
All the men nodded and made sounds of agreement. Corey considered performing a head slap. “You’re doing it again, Dalton.”
“This!” She let her frustration leak into her voice. “Every time. You’re deflecting.”
Duke took her hand. “Princess, has it occurred to you that he might not want to talk about it?”
“Yeah,” Dom agreed. “ We’re manly men. We don’t talk about feelings.”
Meg jabbed Kin in the side with her elbow before he could agree. “Well, it’s true, lass, we don’t,” he grumbled.
“I call BS. Right, Corey?”
“Look, just because you two are happily married, that doesn’t mean the rest of us need to go all girly.” Dom didn’t know when to quit.
Both women stared at Dalton. He looked away first, much to his consternation. He loved both of them like the sisters he never had but they had his number and he knew it. And now that there was two of them in the fold, they had the tendency to gang up on a guy.
“It’s no big deal,” he said quietly. “She left. End of story.”
Corey and Meg exchanged a long look and the men who understood their expressions physically braced.
“You really liked her.”
“Yeah, okay. Maybe I was falling for her.” And he had. Hard.
Writers, you know the drill. Pick one, both, or all and do some free writing. Readers, this is a serious question because the season isn’t too far away. IS “Die Hard” a Christmas movie?