Good Monday morning, Orgiasts! Welcome to another week. Let’s hope this one plays nice, eh?
Just one announcement today before we jump back into Parson’s Hollow. It’s officially Halloween month, and nothing says Halloween better than a collection of spooky stories (well, maybe a body in the freezer of your basement, but that’s besides the point). Freaky Flashes, a collection of short, spooky stories, is now available for pre-order from Breathless Press. Inside its sexy, creepy cover, you’ll find flash fiction from Lee Brazil, Havan Fellows, Dianne Hartsock, and yours truly, Hank Edwards. Click HERE to pre-order your copy today!
Ready to see about our boys in Parson’s Hollow? I think it’s time we checked in with Cody Bower, don’t you? Let’s go!
The prompt for this week is: You’ve stayed too long.
Parson’s Hollow Series, Book 1
by Hank Edwards
“Visiting hours are over,” the nurse said in her deep, masculine voice that startled Cody no matter how many times he heard it. “You’ve stayed too long. Again.”
Cody turned away from the bed where his Grandma Felicia lay sleeping. “How’s she been?”
The nurse shrugged. “Same as she ever is. Good days and bad. We keep an eye on her, though.”
A scuffle from the hallway just outside the room caught the nurse’s attention and she stepped out of sight, saying, “Here now! Mr. Kelmer, you know better than that.”
Cody shook his head and turned back to the bed. Grandma Felicia lay beneath a mound of covers, breathing quietly. Just as the nurse had explained, she had good days and bad days. But, to Cody, the bad days seemed to be outweighing the good days as of late, and he had a bad feeling about it.
His grandmother snorted in her sleep, and Cody decided it was, indeed, time to go. He wasn’t doing her, or himself, any good by sitting there. He was starting to get hungry, and, besides, the scuffle out in the hallway seemed to be getting louder. He was curious about Mr. Kelmer, as well; he sounded like a scrappy old man, and if there was one thing Cody thought he was going to become when he was older, it was definitely a scrappy old man. He pushed up out of the chair, bent over the bed to give his grandmother a kiss on the cheek, then stepped into the hallway and tried not laugh.
The nurse had just managed to pull a man, who he assumed was Mr. Kelmer, off another old man who did, indeed, have multiple pudding cups on his dinner tray. The nurse had gotten behind Mr. Kelmer and put her arms around him, locking her fingers together over his chest. Mr. Kelmer cursed and shouted so forcefully that spittle flew from his lips. His red face glistened with sweat, making a few dark spots beneath his right ear stand out even more, and his eyes shone with the depth of his anger.
“Mr. Kelmer!” the nurse shouted into his ear. “Calm down!”
“He’s a thief!” Mr. Kelmer jabbed a long, crooked finger at the other man, who sat, wide-eyed and blinking. “He’s always been a thief! Always!”
Rolling her eyes to meet Cody’s, the nurse asked, “A little help?”
Cody fought back a sigh and stepped up to take one of Mr. Kelmer’s arms as the nurse took the other. Together they dragged him down the hall and into his small room. Cody helped the nurse deposit Mr. Kelmer in a worn and duct taped Naugahyde recliner, and then took a few steps back. As the nurse scolded the man, Cody looked around the room at Mr. Kelmer’s meager belongings, letting his gaze move over the faded paperbacks with cracked spines, tiny carved figurines scattered across the top of a small dresser, and a painting of mountains rising out of a forest, their peaks shrouded within heavy mist.
“And you!” Mr. Kelmer snapped, his voice bringing Cody’s attention back around to find the old man glaring up at him from the chair, fingers gripping the armrests. “I’ll see you again, you can count on it.”
“Okay then,” Cody said and gave a small wave. “Take your meds and sleep well. Night.”
He walked down the hall and pushed out the main entrance of Parson’s Pines Nursing and Convalescent Home of Serenity. After a quiet snort—serenity, ha!—Cody continued to his truck and pulled out of the parking lot, headed into town. It was seven thirty and he was definitely hungry, so he thought maybe he’d stop in at Margie’s Diner and get a plate of meatloaf. Besides, it was Thursday, and Vicki Downing would probably be waitressing. They’d been circling each other for about a year now, flirting like mad, but each time one of them became available, the other one was seeing someone. Maybe, since Cody was unattached, he might luck out and Vicki would be as well.
A parking spot down the street from Margie’s Diner opened up as he approached, and Cody pulled in. He paused to check his hair and teeth in the mirror, then got out and walked down the sidewalk with a bounce in his step. He thought about the opening scene of Saturday Night Fever, that shot of John Travolta strutting down the sidewalk to the beat of “Staying Alive,” and imagined he looked something like that, only five times as cool with a billion times less money.
As Cody passed Antonio’s, the long, narrow Italian restaurant three storefronts down from Margie’s, he glanced through the window and came to a sudden stop mid-strut. A couple walking behind him bumped into Cody’s back and staggered around him before continuing on, the man saying, “Asshole,” over his shoulder.
But Cody didn’t hear the insult. His gaze was locked on the couple sitting a table beyond the front window of Antonio’s. They talked and laughed, exchanging mildly flirtatious glances as they ate pasta and sipped wine. It looked like the perfect date, and Cody would have been happy if it had been anyone other than Demetrius and Oliver.
“Son of a…” Cody said to himself, standing stiff-legged and stunned on the sidewalk. His thoughts fluttered through his head like a startled flock of birds, none roosting long enough for him to follow through logically. He was going off only emotion right now, and all he knew, all he could think about, was that Demetrius was having dinner with the man they had pegged as the murderous, rampaging werewolf.
He didn’t know he was going to enter the restaurant until he was already through the door, and by that time, it was too late to turn back because Demetrius had caught sight of him. Cody watched Demetrius stop talking in mid-sentence as his eyes widened and an expression that was equal parts guilt and relief flashed across his face. Taking a moment to pause and pull in a deep breath that helped his scattered thoughts settle a little, Cody strode across the restaurant to loom over Demetrius and Oliver, arms folded, and mouth set.
“Well, if it isn’t Parson’s Hollow’s latest power couple,” Cody said, and hated that his tone sounded more jealous than fearing for his best friend’s life. The strength of his emotions and their source confused him, but it was all he had to work off of, and he couldn’t back down now. He needed to make sure Oliver understood that, should anything happen to Demetrius, Cody would see to it that justice was taken out on Oliver’s hide, be it in wolf or man form.
“Cody,” Demetrius said, his voice high-pitched and strained. “What are you doing here?”
“I was on my way to Margie’s for dinner, saw you through the window, thought I’d stop in and say hi.” Cody turned to look down at Oliver who wouldn’t meet his eyes. “Hi Oliver. How’s that chin healing up?”
The reporter lifted his gaze to meet Cody’s for a second and muttered, “Cody. It’s fine, thanks.”
“Good. Pasta nice and fresh? Antonio treating you well?” Cody asked.
“What are you doing?” Demetrius whispered.
Cody shrugged. “Just saying hello. Can’t a guy say hello when he sees his best friend out on the town?”
Demetrius narrowed his eyes. “Can I speak to you outside a moment, please?”
“Absolutely.” Cody fixed the top of Oliver’s head with a steady gaze. “Good to see you again, Oliver.”
“Likewise,” Oliver replied without looking up at him.
Demetrius shot up out of his chair and, taking hold of Cody’s biceps, walked quickly to the door and then out onto the sidewalk.
“Are you out of your mind?” Demetrius snapped. “What are you doing?”
“What am I doing? What are you doing?” Cody waved a hand toward the window where they could both see Oliver watching them. Demetrius shoved Cody off to the side out of Oliver’s sightline.
“I am on a date.” Demetrius threw his hands up. “Okay? There. I said it. I’m on a date, with Oliver Berridge, whom you believe to be a werewolf.”
Cody pulled his head back and crossed his arms. “Whom I believe to be a werewolf? I believe? Oh, so you’re saying now that it was a bear or someone’s Great Dane that chased us down and would have killed us if Zenona hadn’t driven by? Is that what you think?”
Demetrius sighed and turned a 360 before meeting Cody’s gaze. “I didn’t say that.”
“And yet, here you are, on a date with the guy most likely to be a blood-thirsty killer once a month.”
“Look, let me just go back inside and finish my dinner, and I’ll call you later to talk about this, okay?” Demetrius held his hands out palms up. “Please?”
Cody leaned in close and pointed a finger at Demetrius’s face. “I don’t like it, Demmy. You’re getting too cozy with this guy, and it scares me.”
“I know what I’m doing,” Demetrius said in a sure, quiet voice. He raised his eyebrows, his gaze locked with Cody’s.
Cody couldn’t fight back a grin. “Damn. First time someone’s said those words to me. No wonder girls hate when guys say it.”
Demetrius grinned back. “We good?”
Cody frowned. “Be careful.”
“Don’t worry about me.” Demetrius turned away, but looked back over his shoulder. “Thanks, though. For worrying about me.”
“Get out of here.” Cody pointed toward the restaurant, and then stood with his hands on his hips and shook his head. He looked up at the stars overhead and noticed the moon was now a waxing crescent, a term he’d learned while surfing the Internet for information on werewolves.
Not long now until it would be full again. And someone, he feared, would end up dead.
He just wanted to make damn sure that someone wasn’t Demetrius.
~~ * ~~
Cody seems to be pretty upset by Demetrius having dinner with Oliver. He must be a really good friend, huh? I’m sure Demetrius has a plan of action once the full moon rolls around, right? Be sure to stop by next week and see what happens next with Demmy, Cody, and Oliver. For now, however, hop on over to the other Story Orgy blogs with me for more hot, smexy reads.
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J.R. Boyd: @JR__Boyd
Lee Brazil: @leebrazil
Hank Edwards: @hanksbooks
Havan Fellows: @HavanFellows
Em Woods: @EmWoodsAuthor