Sorry, no news yet! Have reread book 3 since getting it back from the first two betas, though, and am happy (surprised?) to say I'm pleased with it. Is it perfect? Nothing ever will be. But it's the ending I wanted for the series.
Distracting myself with more Star Wars: The Old Republic than is probably healthy, but it's mindless entertainment. (Anyone else play?) I've tried figuring out a project to work on next, but I can't keep my thoughts settled on any one book. At least I'm thinking about writing again... for a few weeks I thought I'd just give up on writing entirely to make my life easier.
This past weekend I decided to learn how to crochet. For my first project I am (of course) working on an orange and white blanket. At the rate I'm going it will be done sometime next year. I probably should've aimed for something smaller and simpler as a first project, but ha! I damned myself when I tried to figure out how big to make it, because then everything about it had to have meaning, from the number of stitches to the number of rows. It's time-consuming as hell, but it's doing wonders for my stress levels and helps me zone out of everything that's going on in RL. For that it's a priceless investment.
I felt like I posted this side story before, but I couldn't find it. Sorry?
Timeline: takes place during the events of The Foxhole Court, the first day all of the Foxes are back in South Carolina for summer practices. An older story, so not as refined as it should be, but...
David reached for the lightswitch as he came through the front door, but his hand stilled halfway to it. The hall light was already on; someone had beaten him home. Abby and Neil both had keys to his place, but they would have said something to him before dropping by. That left only one other option, but the silence didn't bode well. David locked the door behind himself and went down the hall in search of his uninvited guest.
Andrew was sitting cross-legged on his couch, hands clenched white-knuckled around his ankles. A bottle of whiskey was half-empty on the coffee table and the plastic beside it sure as hell wasn't from sugar packets. Despite everything Andrew was choking his system with to ward off withdrawal, there was a tightness to his mouth that said he was two seconds away from being violently ill. He slid a dark look David's way as David paused in the doorway.
"You're a fucking idiot," David said.
"Shut the fuck up," Andrew said, but he couldn't sound threatening when he was speaking through clenched teeth.
David shook his head and continued to the kitchen. The absence of dirty dishes on the counter had him tossing his mail onto the table with disgust. Andrew knew better to mix alcohol and crackers with his medication, and he definitely knew better than to do it on an empty stomach. That he'd done it anyway was stupid beyond words and so predictably Andrew David was tempted to choke him. He pushed around the slim pickings in his cabinet before settling on sandwiches. He made four, divided them between two places, and went back to the living room. He sat on the coffee table facing Andrew and put one of the saucers on the cushion at Andrew's side.
"You're cleaning this place before you leave," David said. "You leave even a speck of that dust behind in my apartment and we're going to have a serious problem."
"We already have a serious problem," Andrew said.
"Eat first, bitch at me later."
It was almost a minute before Andrew finally relaxed his grip enough to reach for the food. He tore his sandwich into shreds, then took the shreds apart and ate it one small piece at a time. He managed three-quarters of it before giving up and going for the whiskey again. He swigged straight from the mouth, which was a pretty good sign he was pissed at David. Until Neil moved in this May, Andrew had made an almost biweekly habit of breaking into David's apartment. Most of the time he was just after David's alcohol, but he'd started using cups around the tenth visit.
Andrew drank until he had to come up for air, then asked, "What color are his eyes?"
Andrew looked at him like David was being stupid on purpose. "I'm not talking about Kevin."
"For once." David set aside his saucer.
"Who have you let on my team?"
It was not at all the accusation David was expecting. This shitfit was supposed to be about the bombshell he'd dropped on the Foxes at today's meeting. How Neil outranked the Ravens' district change on Andrew's skewed list of priorities, David had no idea. "Kevin picked him. I just signed off on him."
"Mistake. He can't stay. If you don't chase him off I will."
"Leave him alone," David said. Andrew didn't answer but reached for the whiskey again. David slammed it back down onto the tabletop. "Andrew. Leave him alone. He's got just as much right to be here as any of you do."
"He is losing that right at an alarming rate," Andrew said. "I'm sick of his lies."
"I'm sure he's sick of your sunshine attitude, too."
"We missed something," Andrew said as if David hadn't spoken. "I don't know how. I don't know where. It doesn't add up. Did you know? The only truth he tells is Exy. That isn't enough, and it isn't going to last. He can't spend every second of every day with us without unraveling at the seams. The cracks are starting to show. Do you know what he's hiding?"
"It's not my business unless he makes it mine."
"You saw the way he looked at Kevin."
"You used to hate Kevin too," David reminded him. "Kevin's not exactly a people person."
"I won't tolerate loose ends," Andrew said flatly. "Not this year, not with Riko in our district. He isn't safe."
"Have you even tried talking to him?"
"Like talking to a politician," Andrew said. "Fake smiles and bullshit. Complete waste of time. No. He had his chance to come clean and he ignored it. I'm taking him to Columbia this Friday."
"Don't you dare."
"You can't stop me."
"But I can end you," David said. "All of you. If you do to him what you did to Matt, I will cut every last one of you from my roster."
"You don't even know who you're protecting."
"A Fox," David said, "same as any of you."
Andrew didn't look moved, but David knew he'd won. Andrew wouldn't think twice about screwing himself and his relatives out of their scholarships, but Kevin was a different story entirely. David wouldn't really cut Kevin, not when he was Kayleigh's son and not with Riko a fast-approaching threat on the horizon, but Andrew would never call his bluff. The consequences of being wrong were too severe for even Andrew to accept.
David gave it a few more minutes just in case, but finally Andrew turned his attention back on the whiskey. David understood the retreat for what it was and got to his feet. He took their plates with him out of the room and spent the rest of the evening working in his office. He smoked half a pack of cigarettes in the time it took him to arrange travel arrangements for their away games. Andrew's phone going off down the hall startled him into looking up from his computer screen. David checked the clock and went to grab a spare blanket from the linen closet.
The cap was screwed tight on the whiskey bottle, so David threw the blanket at Andrew from the doorway. Andrew pushed it around on the floor with his shoe a moment. David half-expected him to leave, but at length Andrew dragged the blanket up onto the couch.
"You wouldn't really cut Kevin," Andrew said.
David ignored him and went back to his office. He looked at his screen, but he couldn't focus on the words. His thoughts teetered between Andrew and Neil until he finally pulled Neil's sparse file from his cabinet. He studied Neil's profile picture, from his impassive expression to the guarded look in his eyes. He thought about Friday and wondered if there wasn't more he could do to try and rein Andrew it, but then he thought about Kevin and Riko and Kayleigh.
David liked Neil. The kid was a bit ragged around the edges and ice all the way through, but he was all right. But David had loved Kayleigh, and he wouldn't risk losing her only son. Kevin was all David had left of her.
"I'm sorry," David said, and he put Neil's file away.