Absently Singing Along

Author’s Note: So I probably could have used this Thursday if I had been able to think. Yesterday was worse, since I could not really function with the lovely migraine I had, so I did not manage to find anything. Today I’m running late again, and I’m doing a quick grab from a completed story because I am uninspired for creating something new.

So here is a bit of song and awkward bonding.

Absently Singing Along

She checked the sign on the side of the road. It would be over an hour before they reached the town that he’d mumbled about before he passed out, and she was getting tired. She turned the radio on again, wincing as the owner’s presets blasted out the latest hit—one that wasn’t even worth being considered music since that woman could not sing—and flipped the channels until the oldies station came on. She smiled to herself, tapping her fingers against the steering wheel as she started to sing along.

At least there was music. She could keep herself more awake that way. If this had been her car—forget it. The radio had died six months ago, and with the store floundering like it was, replacing it was not high on the list of priorities. She just ran her cellphone’s battery down listening to music instead of making calls.

She turned up the radio when she heard one of her favorites come on—amazing because no one played Melanie Safka’s songs anymore. Even the “oldies” stations were playing newer and newer stuff.

“Some say I got devil. Some say I got angel, but I’m just this girl in trouble…” She was in the middle of the last verse when she realized that she’d woken Kennedy up with the radio—no, probably her singing was too loud. He was staring at her. She reached for the knob again. “Sorry.”

He shook his head. “Don’t be. Keep singing.”

“I suppose now I sound like her?”

“She made a musical. It was a horrible flop. You have a better voice.”

“Oh. Thanks. I think.”

The Fair in Love and Romance

Author’s Note: While the weekend was ugly, I asked for prompts, and Liana Mir gave me this one:

“Men always want to be a woman’s first love – women like to be a man’s last romance.” ~ Oscar Wilde

I was thinking I’d need a book to answer it, but no, I didn’t need a book. I just needed two of my favorite characters to discuss it without discussing it.

Thank you, Effie and Garan. You’re good at this sort of thing.

The Fair in Love and Romance

“The football player has been asking for it ever since I came here.”

Effie shook her head, letting out a sigh as she carried the bowl over to the table, taking the cloth out of it and wringing it before she touched it to Garan’s knuckles. “Scott hasn’t played football since he was in high school, you know.”

“It was the one highlight of his pathetic life, and it did enough brain damage to him that it still fits,” Garan insisted, watching her work on his hand. He’d make some comment about Scott’s hard head being the reason for his knuckles getting scraped up like that.

“You’ve got ten times the training he does, Garan. It would never have been a fair fight.”

“What isn’t fair is that he was your first love.”

Effie snorted, putting the cloth back in the water. “Scott was never my first love. He was my first… boyfriend, I guess, but I never loved him. He was—everyone expected us to date, everyone thought we made a cute couple, and I think we might have, but I never felt the way about him that I thought I should, even as a teenage girl with supposedly out-of-whack hormones. It wasn’t enough. It was nothing like the soul-crushing moment when I thought you were never coming back to me, and I think we both know how well the hormonal attraction part of things works between us.”

He grinned, and she rolled her eyes, taking the bowl with her back to the sink. “Besides, if either of us has reason to be jealous, it’s me.”

“You? I told you that she wasn’t a love. Christie was just—”

“Not her. Jordan.” At Effie’s words, Garan tensed, and she leaned back against the sink, folding her arms over her chest. “You know I’m right. You were willing to fight for her, to die for her… to kill for her. I get to be jealous.”

He rose, crossing to her side, his bruised hand cupping her cheek. “In case you missed it, heroine, I just fought for you. I was willing to die for you before I knew you. And while we’ve never gone and counted the bodies, I think there might even have been some killing in there for you, too.”

She flinched. She shouldn’t have said anything at all. She didn’t like the thought of him doing that. Not for her, not at all.

He tipped her chin up, looking straight into her eyes. “When I met Stirn, I was in a bad place. It was just after the accident, and I wanted something to replace what I’d lost at the same time as wanting to die. It was messed up, warped good, and it got worse. What happened with her pushed me down further into the darkness, into a hole I never thought I’d get out of, and that’s not love. Love is supposed to make you better, isn’t it?”

Effie nodded. “That’s what they say. It’s also about accepting people as they are. Kind of conflicting thoughts, I guess. Or maybe it’s just that… You can’t become better unless you’re willing to accept what the past was. You can’t pretend it wasn’t there or didn’t shape you because it did. So expecting someone else not to have a past is stupid.”

“Helping them overcome it is beautiful,” he said. “Just like you.”

“Listen to you getting all romantic on me.”

He laughed. “There is no romance in me, Effie. I thought you knew that.”

“Oh, yeah? And what do you call all this?”


Dressing Normally

Author’s Note: I think, as much as I wanted to call these things snippets, that limiting scenes because of length doesn’t really work for me. I wanted to do something for my theme of Wednesday wardrobe with the character whose fashion sense gets the most time on the page (dressing vintage is a huge part of who Effie Lincoln is.) This scene seemed right to use, though there are others I could have picked, but I couldn’t split it in a way I liked, so I’m posting the whole thing.

And I’m going to go back to Monday’s entry and give that whole scene since I think that is a much better way of doing Monday Mayhem/Mystery.

Dressing Normally


Garan knocked on the bathroom door. He had heard that women took a long time in the bathroom, though he’d mercifully never shared one with a woman for any extended amount of time. He didn’t have any sisters, and he’d never had a live-in girlfriend—never had a relationship that lasted more than a few weeks, if that, so it had never been an issue. Still, he’d managed to doze off again waiting for her to come out, and when he woke and she was still in there, he grew rather concerned.

“Lincoln? You still in there?” he asked, leaning against the wall. “You hurt? You’d better answer me, or I’ll have to open the door.”

“Just a second,” he heard her call, and a moment later, the door opened. She stepped out, and he took in her new outfit with disbelief. This woman had no idea how not to draw attention to herself, did she? Sure, the forties dress was gone, and the wave hairstyle with it, but she’d managed to put together something retro—old, whatever. He didn’t know fashion—again, with one of those peasant blouses and a skirt. She’d managed to style her hair up, and he swore he was practically looking at the costume Effie Lincoln had worn in one of her only westerns—not one of her better films, either.

“Do you even know how to dress normally?”

She frowned. “What is wrong with this? It’s a shirt—and I went with a skirt since we didn’t really have the money to get shoes, too, so I was stuck with what I had. I fail to see what the problem is. What is it with men? You just don’t get the need for self-expression, do you?”

He gave her a dark look. “I have nothing against self-expression, but you take it too far for a woman on the run. You need to blend in more, and that is not blending in.”

She looked down at the clothes she wore. “This is… a perfectly normal outfit. Other women must wear stuff like this, or they wouldn’t sell any of them. I suppose if there’s something I can change, it’s the hair, but I figured up and out of my way was best. I am on the run for my life, I’ve lost everything I had—including a store that has been in my family for generations—and now you’re telling me I have to squash my personality, too? I don’t want to be unreasonable, but I think I’d rather let them kill me. I shouldn’t have to look like the idiotic pop driven masses to survive.”

He shook his head. “How is it you managed to find the two most old-fashioned looking things in the store anyway?”

“I picked what appealed to me, and what appeals to me always has a vintage element,” she said with a slight shrug. “Am I really going to have you approve my wardrobe now? Because that is… yeah, not going to happen.”

He shook his head. “At least lose the Breakfast at Tiffany’s hair.”

“You really do like old movies, don’t you?” she asked, reaching up into her hair and taking out a pin. “For the record, this is just a bun, and I don’t have a tiara or a ridiculously long cigarette holder. I don’t actually carry a bunch of ponytails or scrunchies or even clips with me, so I’m kind of limited to what I can do with barrettes or bobby pins, and that can be problematic with my hair because it’s so thick.”

He went back to the bed and sat down again. She continued to mess with her hair. “Okay. Why do you like old movies so much?”

“Never said I did.”

“But you know them.”

“Seen a few.”

She shook her head, almost comical with the bobby pins in her mouth. “You have seen all of the ones by an apparently obscure actress called Effie Lincoln. I think that qualifies as more than a few. I know old movies because I took care of my grandfather as he was dying—which he spent the better part of my late teens and early twenties doing—what’s your excuse?”


“Insomnia?” she repeated, turning her hair into a twist, and he decided that she would just grab attention no matter how she looked. She was one of those people. Put her in a burlap bag or the plainest clothes available, and still something would draw your eye to her. Something in her manner, the way she carried herself—something she had no idea she shared with her predecessor.

“Late nights with nothing but old movies on the channels still running programming,” he explained. He couldn’t afford to keep comparing her to a dead actress. She was not that woman—or any of the characters she’d played. “Better them than infomercials.”

“True.” Lincoln stuck the final pin back in her hair. “There. Better?”

“Not really.”

“Good grief. What do I have to do? Wear a paper bag over my head?”

“Wouldn’t change the clothes.”

“Oh, go to hell,” she snapped as she walked to the door. “I’m not fixing it again.”

Early Morning Call

Author’s Note: So I went by Three Word Wednesday to see the words of the week, and it was my intention to use them in something new and unrelated so that it could stand alone.

No inspiration came, other than a beginning line that sounded very much like Garan, so I thought I’d end up skipping the prompts this week.

Well, I took the line and used it in the story I’m currently working on, since it was a thought Garan would and did have, and low and behold, the other two words found their way into it.

So, no, it doesn’t stand alone. It probably makes little sense out of context. Still… It had all the prompts. I’m sharing it anyway.

Oh, right. The prompts were: backfire, embarrass, and taste.

Early Morning Call

Plans would always backfire on you, and the sooner you accepted that, the easier it got. Garan didn’t think that Effie was there yet, but he’d learned that lesson a long time ago, in a way that stuck with him and never left, just as bad as one of the many physical scars that covered his body. He knew how one moment could change everything, and he knew that there was little point in expending too much effort in planning. Strategy was important, but being adaptable was better.

When his phone rang just before he could have a real taste of his coffee, he grimaced, setting down the cup and putting the receiver to his ear. “What do you want, Wilmore?”

Across the room, his aunt and uncle frowned, and even Effie got stiff. None of them liked hearing the name, and all of them knew that a call from that man was never good.

“We need to meet, Kennedy.”

“Bad idea. You do realize that if our mutual ‘friend’ is watching me, he might be waiting for an opportunity like this to get at you.”

“You are a good enough agent to ensure that you will not be followed. Thirty minutes.”

The call ended, and Garan would have thrown the phone at the wall if he didn’t know that there was another call coming. Thirty minutes from now, he’d get further instructions, and he knew better than to be late getting them.

“What is it?”

“He insists on meeting. Didn’t say why.”

Fletcher started in on a set of curses that would have made his Ranger buddies blush, and Kate reached over to cover his mouth. Effie reached across the table, putting her hand on Garan’s arm.

“I don’t care what he wants. Don’t go. It’s a bad idea. You said so yourself.”

“I know it is, but I also know if I don’t go, he’ll find a way to make me regret it. Me and anyone that might have talked me into blowing him off,” Garan said, rising. He leaned down to kiss his wife’s forehead and cup her cheek. “I’ll be back as soon as I can. This time I don’t need to leave a note. You already know I’m going.”

“I hate this. I also hate him.”

“He seems to like you. It’s surprising and somewhat disconcerting.”

“Yeah, it is.”

Kate cleared her throat. “You might want to think about changing before you go. Unless, of course, you want to embarrass yourself by showing up to your clandestine meeting half-naked.”

“He’s in his pajamas.”

“As if that’s any better.”

Garan smiled. “I doubt Wilmore would notice. True, he’s trained to notice details, but he’d hardly want to face the scars on his agents. Might force him to admit that he had a part in them getting there. No, he’d ignore it.”

“Still, that doesn’t mean you should go like you are,” Effie told him, giving his stomach a pat. “You know how I feel about others ogling my eye candy. I don’t like to share.”

“That’s hardly fair. You have a full collection of vintage clothes, and no one keeps their eyes off you.” He watched her smile get smug, tempted to carry her off and deal with that look properly, but he didn’t have time. He settled for a kiss instead, using everything he’d learned about her against her before he let go.

“Bastard,” she cursed, breathless. He smiled at her before grabbing his keys and heading toward the stairs.

Nobody’s Hero

I have been meaning to do this song for a while. It is the perfect song for Garan, even if he’s not exactly a soldier.

Reading over the lyrics, it’s hard to find ones that don’t fit him. He’s a mess of guilt and pain, and he continues to work through that as the stories progress.


You didn’t ask for this…
And you’re nobody’s hero.

Kabobbles Sing Along is just what I think when I hear songs. I sometimes see images when I hear lyrics, pictures or movies in my head. Sometimes I relate it to stories. My interpretation of the songs and lyrics are probably nothing like their original intent.

At the Beginning

Since I decided to focus on getting Nickel and Dime prepped to publish and did a lot of singing the baby to sleep lately with the extra babysitting I’ve been doing, this song kept coming up again. When I heard it, it joined the many songs that made me think of Effie and Garan, specifically for their first adventure together.

We were strangers, starting out on a journey, never dreaming what we’d have to go through.

This part is very Garan:
No one told me I was going to find you.
Unexpected, what you did to my heart
When I lost hope, you were there to remind me

And even though they’re not standing, this does kind of remind me of them at the end of the book.

Now here we stand, unafraid of the future
At the beginning with you

Kabobbles Sing Along is just what I think when I hear songs. I sometimes see images when I hear lyrics, pictures or movies in my head. Sometimes I relate it to stories. My interpretation of the songs and lyrics are probably nothing like their original intent.

Mixed Emotions and Thoughtlessness

More from Effie and Garan. Since they have two novels, and even a short story at this point, it’s not hard to find lots of songs for them. 🙂

Again, with Garan being as stubborn as he is, most of this song just… fits.

In fact, I didn’t find a part that didn’t.

Kabobbles Sing Along is just what I think when I hear songs. I sometimes see images when I hear lyrics, pictures or movies in my head. Sometimes I relate it to stories. My interpretation of the songs and lyrics are probably nothing like their original intent.

Maybe I’m Amazed

This whole song is Effie and Garan, and it will still be them no matter how long their series gets to be.

I don’t even need to quote lyrics because the only part that doesn’t fit is this one: Maybe I’m amazed at the way you help me sing my song.

Although, come to think of it, Effie sings, so that does fit. 🙂

Kabobbles Sing Along is just what I think when I hear songs. I sometimes see images when I hear lyrics, pictures or movies in my head. Sometimes I relate it to stories. My interpretation of the songs and lyrics are probably nothing like their original intent.

Some Say I Got Devil

As I wrote a new section of Nickel and Dime, Effie needed to sing along with the radio. Her character history and personality lends itself toward oldies, probably even older than the one I picked, but there were so many options, so many songs that I could have used.

Why this one, then?

Admittedly, I could have picked one more people would recognize, but I think this particular artist is underrated. I was hooked after one record album, the Live at Carnegie Hall album, one I still go back to and listen over and over despite having a much larger music library. In my opinion, some of the best versions of those songs–and, sadly, some of the only versions of those songs–are on that album.

This song has a bit of a haunting quality to it. Lyrics that fit almost anyone, though in particular I was always reminded of Miss Parker on The Pretender.

Effie got this song because of the actress she’s named after and the situation she’s in. And who she is.

Kabobbles Sing Along is just what I think when I hear songs. I sometimes see images when I hear lyrics, pictures or movies in my head. Sometimes I relate it to stories. My interpretation of the songs and lyrics are probably nothing like their original intent.


There’s a particular scene in Nickel and Dime that is this song, though the theme kind of runs through it, too.

I believe that you can save me
And you’ll never let me fall
I believe in what you’ve shown me
Maybe there’s a hero in us all

It’s both of them. Some parts might be more him than her, but it’s both of them.

When the world’s confusing, I don’t care
I’ll crawl into your atmosphere
I know you’ll make it right
You’re all I need to know

Pull me in like you were made for me

Kabobbles Sing Along is just what I think when I hear songs. I sometimes see images when I hear lyrics, pictures or movies in my head. Sometimes I relate it to stories. My interpretation of the songs and lyrics are probably nothing like their original intent.