Sometimes I swear my home life has way too much impact on how often I write and how I keep my schedule with other things. I’ve been neglecting this here blog, and I’m sorry for the few of you who check up on me from day to day. 😉 

Since it’s the weekend, I’ve been working on Seize the Day and not my smut. I was kinda blocked a great deal of yesterday, but I worked through some of it today. I ended up finishing the second chapter. While I don’t necessarily like having to put my more “serious” work off until the weekends, I do like that I have a solid outline to work from, too. 

Here is the tense, but not tense, second section of chapter two:

***

Jazz groaned and struggled to open his eyes. Pain — was that pain? — radiated through his side and stomach, stealing his breath and making it difficult for him to recover it. Memories — or were they dreams? — filled his mind, fuzzy and out of focus. He coughed, which only made the pain worse.

“You okay there, man?” A voice. Hazy, but familiar. 

Jazz shook his head, opening his eyes slowly. Shapes blurred and then sharpened, colors no longer bleeding into one another after a few blinks. “Ryin?” he asked, struggling to get the singular word past his lips as his attention focused on the head of flaming red hair within sight. “The fuck happened?” 

Ryin chuckled quietly, scooting himself closer to the edge of Jazz’s bed — he was on a bed, right? “You gave me one hell of a scare, you know that, right?” Ryin muttered, shaking his head. “Thought you were trying to see Mom and Dad there, for a second.”

Jazz snorted and closed his eyes, whimpering in pain. “Was I shot?” he managed after a while. He didn’t dare move if he didn’t have to, though his hand did find itself drifting across his stomach. The bandages in place were rough and covered a much larger area than he anticipated.

“You don’t remember?” Ryin countered, raising an eyebrow. 

Jazz shook his head again. 

Ryin sighed, rubbing his eyes for a moment. “Yeah, you were,” he answered, leaning back in his seat. He put his feet up on the railing of Jazz’s bed and folded his hands in his lap. “Doc said you lost a lot of blood. Didn’t say much about how your surgery went, though. Just that you’d be fine.”

He sure didn’t feel fine, but Jazz kept his mouth shut and instead closed his eyes again. “Can’t believe I was shot,” he murmured, fingers idly picking at his bandages. “Did you –”

“Saw it on television at Uncle’s place,” Ryin said, his tone unusually tight. 

Jazz nodded, his body growing heavy. He turned to Ryin and reached out to him, placing a hand on his brother’s arm. “Surprised you even went,” he admitted. “Uncle’s wanted nothing to do with us ever since…”

“Yeah.” Ryin sighed. “Look, Jasper, I have something I need to tell you.”

Jazz blinked, his eyebrows bunching together at the use of his real name. “What’s — what’s wrong?” 

Their eyes met. Ryin’s dark brown ones softened, somewhat, and he frowned, looking away from Jazz. “I should probably wait ‘til you’re not on so many pain meds,” he said moments later, looking away from Jazz. “You need to get some rest.”

“I’m — I’m fine,” Jazz protested, sitting up straight despite the ache it caused in his side. “You never call me by my name unless there’s something wrong. What is it?” 

Ryin pursed his lips together, running his fingers through his hair for a moment. “It’s — it’s Uncle. He’s –”

“Jazz, I’m so glad you’re okay!” 

Jazz and Ryin both focused on the door, noticing the tall, thin woman with glasses standing just inside it. “Alex,” Jazz said, blinking. “How the hell’d you –”

“I’m old enough to be your mother, aren’t I?” she answered, winking at him. She shut the door behind her, striding over to Jazz’s bedside and wrapping her arms around him in a brief hug. “The police are still looking for the shooter. I doubt they’re going to find him, though.”

“The Emperor’s Guard should be looking for the shooter, anyway,” Ryin pointed out, frowning. He crossed his arms over his chest. “The police aren’t going to do shit. Jazz is obviously an NB.”

“I know — but his speech was seen by more than half the Empire,” Alexandra said, beaming. “Your speech was the most watched program on television last night, Jazz. I told you your pretty face would bring in the viewers.” 

“I think they tuned in because he got shot,” Ryin muttered darkly. “I’m sure the bigots are already having a fucking field day about it, too. ‘Key Member of Natural Born Liberation Movement Shot,’ news at eleven.” 

Jazz glanced at Ryin, studying his brother’s face for a moment before shaking his head. “Probably,” he said, leaning back in his bed. The pain flared again in his side and he winced. As the pain subsided, a wave of exhaustion washed over him. Sighing, he closed his eyes. “I think you were right, Ryin,” he murmured, pulling up his sheet as far as it could go. “I do need some more rest.”

“You heard the man, Alex,” Ryin said. Jazz heard Ryin’s feet make contact with the floor before a heavy hand landed on Jazz’s shoulder. “I’ll be back tomorrow, alright, man? Don’t do anything stupid.”

“Like what?” Jazz asked wryly. “It’s not like I’m gonna be going anywhere any time soon.”

Ryin laughed. “You better not,” he threatened playfully. Except the teasing tone of his voice fell flat, as if something had squashed the exuberance out of him. 

Jazz watched as Ryin and Alexandra left the room together. As tired as he felt, sleep likely wouldn’t happen anytime soon. He couldn’t shake Ryin’s expression from his mind. Couldn’t forget the way Ryin’s voice cracked as he spoke. 

Something was wrong. Something far more unsettling than the gunshot wound in Jazz’s side. Once again, Jazz put a hand to the bandages, even pulling part of his hospital gown aside to look at them. At least the shooter had missed. At least he was alive

His parents hadn’t been so lucky.

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