Z is for Zillion

The newcomers came over and joined their fire pit. The woman of the new couple looked over at the dancers and drummers, “Oh good, Misty is dancing. She hasn’t broken out her silks in a while.” The long-haired brunette wore a flowing gauzy tied-dyed skirt and blouse combination. She eased her broad hips into the seat against the glass, the one facing at the understated outdoor entertainment.

“Hey, Jax, Cynthia,” the man said as he dropped in the chair directly between the new woman and the couple sharing a chair.

Cindy looked over, surprised anyone knew who she was. The man was the convention volunteer who helped them earlier. “Basketcase, how are you?”

“Off-duty,” he showed the plastic glass of bubbly amber liquid he was drinking, while his free hand reached for the woman beside him. The dark-haired woman looked down at his blind grope at her armrest, clearly thought a moment, then moved her hand towards his until they met. Their fingers intertwined, the woman studied the operation in amazement as though one of the hands wasn’t attached to her. Reese glanced over at the woman once the hands had found a comfortable position, but not looking straight on, and a slight, satisfied smile tinged with wonder curved the corners of his mouth before he returned his attention to Jax and Cynthia. “How about you?”

“Jax proposed!” Cindy got to say for the first time ever. She waved the hand with the engagement ring. “One of Xander’s specials. Isn’t it beautiful?”

Reese and Otero oohed and awed appropriately, though the other woman, strangely only muttered, “The blue goes well with your boyfriend’s eyes,” before returning her attention to the far-off dancing. Jax was impressed she had been able to pick out his eye color in the flickering light.

A group came out the bar doors wearing an eccentric mix of pirate, medieval gowns, and, one person, Japanese samurai plate. They made a bee-line to the larger gathering on the patio. The straggler of the group, a woman in chain mail, held open the door for Denise who had her hands full with four drinks. After thanking the stranger, they parted ways.

The black woman stepped over Otero’s legs, then stood over him tilting out a dark bottle in the group of drinks she carried. “This is the closest thing they had to a decent stout.”

“That is a loose definition of decent, but necessity is the mother of acceptance.”

She then turned in place and tilted out the other bottle, which Jax took. Down to two cups, Denise offered Cynthia the one with red liquid. After sitting down, Denise took a sip of her drink.

“Ah-hem.” Otero cleared his throat, reaching out with a hand.

Denise gave a minx smile to the older man. “Oh, you are wanting this back?” She took out the card from her back pocket and placed it in his hand. “Just keeping you on your toes.”

“If you did any more often, I will need ballet point shoes.” Otero complained, before raising an eyebrow and nodded to the newest additions to their conversation pit.

She followed the nod, pointy looked at the joint hands, and said, “Well, it is about time.”

“I know, right?” Otero agreed.

Basketcase shook his head slightly at them, but rubbed a thumb over the back of the still unintroduced woman’s hand. “Don’t push.”

“Come on,” Denise responded, “You breeders are insufferable when courting … or between relationships … or in a relationship. Pretty much you are insufferable.”

“Just because you don’t like the candy…” Basketcase responded.

“Sweet tooths are overrated.”

“I disagree.” Otero swung his bottle in a circle, talking in a low considering voice.

“Says the happily married man.” Denise teased.

“It is nice coming back to cream-filled eclairs every night,” he agreed.

Caught midsip, Denise had to put down her ginger ale and cough. Across from them, Reese said, “aaand time to change topics.”

“First point to the Hispanic.” Otero claimed, holding up a finger in victory.

Denise nodded, “I concede the point.”

The conversation continued, with the core group around the outside gas firepit remaining except for drink runs and, as Otero called them, draining episodes. At one point, the brunette, Cloe, who proofread for Denise, a local author, and other writers at the convention, moved to sit on the ground and lean against Basketcase’s leg, freeing up the chair closest to the bar’s door, which became a rotating interview area. Turned out Otero had a very, very well-paying day-job, and a magician’s gift with investments, and used his recreational cash to underwrite about half the Indie movies in the city. Directors, actors, screenwriters, and writers came and went, some setting up longer, more private interviews for Saturday and Sunday recorded by Denise, who acted as Otero’s personal assistant. Others touching base on a production in-process, but most were just visiting, staying friends with the man who helped them realize their dreams.

To Be Continued…


Look for “The Small Courages of Giants” including the conclusion of Panic at the Convention to be released at some future date (shooting for the month of May, because I am that kind of crazy).

I tried to finish Panic at the Convention during the A to Z, but this last conversation is killing me. I’ve rewritten parts of this scene at least five times now, and I have two more scenes to go. Even publishing the last short in 900 word groupings instead of the 500 word goal I had originally planned for A to Z, to give y’all as much as possible without overwhelming people during the blog tour, I still have a long way to go. At least a Zillion words, and every word is a battle. I have to finish this scene – which has expanded to be twice as long as I originally imagined – and still going. And I have to write out the closing scene. Plus another scene wants to be inserted between this one and the ending of the emotional growth arc for Cynthia. Like I said, a Zillion words to go.

On the other hand, this is really the breakpoint of the story. Where we change from Jax and his concentration on their romance, to Cynthia figuring out how to be with him the way she wants to be. I know, POV switch in the middle of the story, Ugh. Bad editor.

If you would like to see the ending, like my Facebook author page. I will post when the book is available there. I’m also likely to release the raw ending directly to my Patrons before the polished book version, if you don’t want to wait for the sensitivity beta readers to complete their reviews and the rest of the editing process.

Sorry about the wait. I thought this was a 5K story; it is likely to close on 10K before I am done. Yes, I am writing the story so you would think I control the word count – but sometimes the story just need to be told in the words it takes.


A to Z Short Story List Breakdown

Rainbow Spectrum (A to F)
Marathon Party (G to M)
Trigger: Cutting (N to Q)
Bookstore Sort (R to T)

Panic at the Convention (U to Z)
4/24/2019 – U is for Uniform
4/25/2019 – V is for Volunteer
4/26/2019 – W is for Weasels
4/27/2019 – X is for Xander
4/28/2019 – Y is for Yuengling
4/29/2019 – Z is for Zillion

4 thoughts to “Z is for Zillion”

  1. It’s going to take as long as it’s going to take. Better to let the story go and breathe as needs be.

    I don’t see the problem with POV change. Just go with it. Alternate POVs or do half the story with one and then the second half with the other. That could work too. POV shifts only bother me when it’s clear the author isn’t paying attention to it. When it’s deliberately done, it works.

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