- A Serialized Novel -

Sorting out Carson's legacy only leads to more questions.

Author’s Note: I suppose if I was better at this whole serialization thing, I’d make the end of each part a cliffhanger. I wouldn’t do my favorite bits, the quiet moments with fun interaction and banter between the characters. Too bad I’m a character-oriented writer (they write the stories, not me) and they want their moments like this, not just the ones that are tense and full of suspense.

More than Socks

“You’ll probably want this first.”

Mackenna eyed the glass of water like it was poison, and Carson almost laughed. He shook his head. He hadn’t wanted to wake her, even though she might deserve it just a little for pushing well beyond her limit last night. He didn’t know if it was being with his brothers that had done it—she’d seemed to be having a good time, other than the drinks she was tossing back like they were nothing. She knew better, and so did he. He knew he didn’t trust his brothers—couldn’t afford to until he isolated when his father was killed and cleared them of any involvement with it—but they shouldn’t have any reason to hurt her.

The car. He’d almost forgotten about that. Well, maybe they might, but still, if she was afraid or uncomfortable, she shouldn’t have come with them to the restaurant. She should have left it well alone. She didn’t need to put herself through this.

“You’ve got to be hungover after that, and I know water’s not that appealing, but it’s the best thing for a hangover. That’s what everyone says.”

“Everyone but the ones that swear by the hair of the dog.”

“Well, I don’t keep that in the house, and since you have to drive back to the farm today, I’m thinking you don’t get that. Water first. I’ll have coffee in a minute.”

“You gave me your bed. You bastard.”

“You puked. A lot, but just in case you woke and needed to do it again, I wanted you to be closer to the toilet. I moved the bathroom’s plug-in air freshener by the bed. Not sure if that helps, but I did try.”

She shook her head, a strange smile on her face. “You are being a lot nicer than I deserve. All I did last night was drink and insult you and your brothers. You should have been angry and left me to deal with my own vomit.”

“I enjoyed watching my brothers deal with your insults, and I… care about you. There was no leaving you to deal with any of it. I’m sorry, but that’s not how I work.”

“I know. I’m starting to see that.”

He pointed to the water again. “Drink that. I don’t know if you want food, don’t know if I have any, but I’ve got coffee, and like I said, I’ll make some.”

“Why are you wearing a suit?”

“I’m working. I don’t expect you to delay your trip back to the farm, but I have to see Myers, and I should go in and clean out my desk at least, since I’m pretty sure I don’t have a job anymore. It’s Saturday, not many people around to watch me do it, good time to get in and out and not have to face my boss or any of the coworkers who would love to gloat about it. I suppose that’s cowardly, too.”

“You need more than weird socks.”


“That suit is hideous. You need more than weird socks to go with it.”

He laughed. “Speaking of socks, how do you like these? Superman’s a bit overdone, maybe even pretentious, but they were a gift, so I couldn’t not wear them. Especially since I might just be saying goodbye to the people who gave them to me.”


“The sharks are still my favorite.”

“Because you get to walk around eating everything?”

“Occasionally while humming the Jaws theme song.”

She giggled. “Awesome. I can so see you doing that, and the image is priceless, I’ve got to say.”

“I think we should get you a pair.”

“With sharks?”

“Not necessarily.” He smiled as she frowned. “There are lots of designs—in fact, more for women than for men, at least the last time I checked. We’ll see what we can find you. You can wear them under your boots and laugh at people who don’t know your socks are planning world domination or insulting them or something.”

“Ooh, I like that.”

“I thought you might.”

“You’re getting to know me too well.”

He shook his head, thinking of all the things she held back that he wasn’t sure he was ready to know. “Nah. I’m just applying what little I have learned. Coffee?”


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