Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sunday Snippet: Crash and Burn


Well, my show finales did not disappoint. S.H.I.E.L.D. did deliver an awesome ending to its first season. And, guys, Arrow pretty much blew me away. The fight scene between Deathstroke / Arrow superimposed on the Slade / Oliver island one counts as one of my very favorites of the entire series. I'm so excited to see where season three goes. As usual, Orphan Black gave me tons of stuff to speculate about and think on. My love for Paul grows every time he's on the screen, I kid you not. I WANT to know more about his background. I'm also completely turned around by Helena. That chick is off the charts insane, but she's also dead on with her observation skills. Seriously, I love her. LOL

Tonight's post is from Crash and Burn, a novella where the main characters finally have a heart to heart that's long overdue.

Here's the tagline:

Pepper Strand met the wrong brother first and when her personal feelings get in the way, she takes the easy way out. When it leads to the death of Bax's sibling, she drowns her guilt with alcohol and Bax decides to make her crawl out of the bottle and into his arms.

And a sneaky peek…

Pepper sat in the bar with an empty shot glass and a full one in front of her. Someone dropped into the seat to her left and she didn't need to glance up to know Bax had arrived.
She jerked her head toward the drink sitting on the table at his spot. "Drink up, Bax. Had a feeling you'd be showing up."
Bax lifted the shot in a silent toast and drained the contents. "Are we done?" He asked, eyeing Pepper when she filled the empty glass. "Or is there more to this celebration?" Pepper slid her gaze sideways. "It's over."
Bax shoved away from the table, his chair scraping heavily on the floor.
Pepper spoke quietly. "It was over before he died." Her finger traced the outer edge of the full shot.
Bax halted. "What?" He narrowed his eyes. "Pepper, what are you talking about?"
She didn't look up. "Me and Brad. We were finished before he even tried to qualify."
Bax cocked his head to one side. "Pepper, how much have you had to drink tonight?"
Pepper lifted an empty bottle. "The shot on the table is the last one. The bottle started out full." She set the glass container too close to the edge.
Bax scrambled to catch it before it crashed to the floor. "Well, hell. You're gonna feel like shit in the morning." He righted the bottle, pushing it to the center of the hard surface.
Pepper snorted. "Feel like shit now." She raised red-rimmed eyes to meet Bax's gaze. "I passed Brad because I felt something… you know, the night we met?" She paused, gauging Bax's reaction.
His mouth thinned to a harsh line and he rose. "We're not going down this road tonight, Pepper." He strode away, making it halfway across the bar before she could speak again.
She called out. "Did you know we broke up? Right before quals?"
Bax stopped and swung his head around. "You did what?" He turned, facing her.
She nodded. "Yep. The week before." Bax strode forward again. "Because… well, you know the reason." He stopped by the table. "And Brad crashed and burned." She glanced up, the need to purge everything strong. "But the worst thing? I told your old man I passed Brad because I felt something. I let my personal feelings get in the way. And I did. But not the way I let him believe."
Bax sat back down. "Pepper, did you love my brother?"
She met and held his gaze. "Yeah, I did." Just not enough.
Bax shook his head. "Then what's the problem here?"
Pepper huffed out a harsh breath. "The problem? I couldn't shake the pull I felt towards you. I sent your brother to his death because I had so much guilt over you and the night we met, I couldn't tell him he didn't have the chops for flying." She waved a hand. "Geez, Bax. Are you always so painfully stupid?"
Bax quirked a brow. "No, I'm not. But you are. Tell me, Pepper, are you certain hindsight isn't coloring your deep-seated guilt?"
She didn't answer. Wouldn't answer.
Bax pushed harder. "Or… were you hoping he'd pull it off? That maybe somehow, his instincts would kick in and he'd pass?" He leaned forward, resting his forearms on the table. "You and I both know it's happened before."
Pepper scoffed. "He busted his last seven moves, Bax. I should've followed protocol and failed him on the spot."
Bax settled back again. "But you didn't. And I can tell you why. Brad picked a fight, and knowing him as well as you did, you gave him the benefit of doubt and chalked up those busted moves on his state of mind."
Pepper tilted her head sideways. "How'd you know about the argument?"
Bax rolled his eyes. "Look, I loved my brother, Pepper, but he worked the system like no one else. Every time Brad had something big coming up, a test or deadline, he'd find a way to be disagreeable. It gave him an easy out if he fucked up. Took him five tries to get his driver's license."
Pepper hadn't known how many times he'd failed that particular test. A twinge of anger zapped a good bit of the guilt she'd been wallowing in away.
Bax sighed. "You're not the first he played that way, and you wouldn't have been the last. If Brad could find a way to work or create an advantage, he'd take it. Every time." Bax reached across the table, placing a hand over her clenched fist. "I'm sorry he pulled the same stunt with you."

Bax's revelation will hopefully let Pepper get back on track… stay tuned. J

That's it for this week. Catch everyone on the flip.

ML Skye

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