Part 10: Different Tracks


Part 1 – Written by Sophie Bonaste

Part 2-Written by Brynn Stein
Part 3-Written by Grace Duncan
Part 4-Written by Suki Fleet
Part 5-Written by Elizabeth Noble
Part 6-Written by Kim Fielding
Part 7-Written by Sophie Bonaste
Part 8-Written by Charlie Cochet

Part 9 – Written by Sophie Bonaste

Part 10


Peter had been dreading Saturday all week. He refused to just not show up at Habitat for Humanity. He’d been volunteering forever. And he knew Xander would have to show up or be in violation of a court order, so they’d definitely meet up.

He’d been discussing the whole situation with Jo throughout the week – okay, bitching about it. But he was entitled. He was screwed and he knew it. He didn’t want a big scene, but he really didn’t know how he was going to handle seeing Xander again.

It wasn’t like he thought sleeping with the man once was any kind of commitment on Xander’s part. In fact, Peter had been pretty sure when he had come on to Xander in his car last week that Xander wasn’t the kind to stick around.

But damn, he was so hot, Peter thought, I just couldn’t help myself.

“See, this is why I don’t do one night stands.” He had complained to Jo many times.

She just shook her head. “Not everyone wants committed relationships all the time Pete. Sometimes they just want fun.”

“I know.” He really did know. They’d had this discussion often enough over the years. “But that’s just not me.”

“So why did you take him back to your house in the first place?” Jo was usually very patient with Peter, but he had gotten the feeling this week that she was reaching her limit. Of course, he had been going over and over the same ground, so she’d have to be a saint not to get a little exasperated.

“Because he’s damned hot!”

Jo laughed. “See, you didn’t want a relationship. You just wanted sex.” Peter didn’t know how to answer that so Jo went on. “That’s what you got. Mind-blowing sex, from what you’ve said. What’s wrong with that?”

“He left!” Peter was indignant. “He didn’t even say goodbye or anything. He just left!”

Jo shook her head. “Did you ask him to stay?”

“Well,” Peter had to think, “I think I pretty much just passed out after …well…you know. We didn’t really get around to whether or not he was going to stay.”

“So, maybe he didn’t know if he was welcomed to stay or not.”

That caused Peter to pause. “I hadn’t thought of that.”

Jo continued. “Of course, I have no way of knowing what was going through his head. My point is, neither do you. You’re jumping to the conclusion that everything is going to be awkward. Maybe it won’t.”

“But it probably will.” Peter was adamant.

“Okay, it probably will,” Jo finally conceded the point. “But you know what? You’re a grown man. So I’ll bring you a supersized straw with breakfast and you can suck it up like a big boy.”

Peter chuckled. “You’re no help at all.”

“Ah, I’m plenty of help.” Jo contradicted. “And you love me.”

Peter had to agree. “You’re right. I do.”

“Now, if you were just straight!” They both dissolved in laughter.



So, Jo had gotten him through the week, but now, here he was on the construction site, looking for Xander and waiting for things to be awkward. But Xander wasn’t there.

“What if he doesn’t show?” Peter asked Jo when he brought her a stack of lumber to saw.

“Then it won’t be awkward,” she said matter-of-factly as she picked up a two-by-four.

“But he’ll get in trouble if he doesn’t show!” Peter didn’t know why, but he was concerned. Sure, he didn’t want to face Xander, but he didn’t want him to stay away and get in trouble with the court.

“Would you just chill,” Jo threw the finished board on the stack. “He’ll be here.”

“He’s late.”

“He’ll be here.”



Similar conversations took place a couple more times before Xander’s Honda Civic pulled up in the parking lot.

“Would you breathe now?” Jo asked Peter as she passed him.

He had thought all morning about what he would say to Xander when he got there, had rehearsed it in his head, in fact. Now that he was there, Peter decided he was really needed on the other side of the construction site. He didn’t think Xander had seen him yet, so he just slipped away.

When did I get to be such a coward?



He saw Xander around the site off and on all morning. He even about half convinced himself to go talk to him a couple times, but Xander was avoiding him. Xander even ducked behind a stack of wood once. It was getting close to lunch time and Peter was no closer to resolving this situation between him and Xander.

Apparently, he wasn’t the only one bothered by that fact.

“You’re going to go talk to him, right now.” Jo cornered Peter when he brought some more wood to the sawing area.

“I’ve tried. He’s avoiding me.”

“You haven’t tried hard enough,” she scolded, “and who ducked out when he saw Xander’s car pull in this morning. He’s not the only one avoiding.”

“Yeah, but – “

“But nothing.” Jo interrupted. “Go. Right now. There he is. He’s not looking this way. He won’t even see you coming.”

“But –“

“Get going!”

“I don’t –“

Jo just pointed with one arm extended and the other hand on her hip. She was tapping her foot and she had that expression on her face that Peter had learned not to mess with. At this point, he was a little more afraid of Jo than of Xander.

Resigned, he started toward Xander, quiet enough that maybe Xander wouldn’t hear him coming and run away again. He couldn’t believe that he actually managed to sneak up on him.


Xander turned around with an expression that could only be called a ‘deer in the headlights’ look. He clearly hadn’t heard Peter approach.

“Hey Peter,” Xander was trying to trying to sound cool, but Peter could tell he wasn’t looking forward to this interaction any more than Peter himself was.

“I was wondering if you had a moment to talk.”

“Um…” Xander stuttered and looked around.

Trying to see if he can come up with a reason to be busy, Peter thought.

“Um…” Xander repeated, “Uh…yeah, I guess so.”

“How about we take an early lunch?” Peter had no idea why he suggested that. They did need to talk, but geez, did he really want to trap them for the whole time they were eating lunch?

“Uh…lunch?” Xander seemed even more uncomfortable with the idea than Peter was. Peter wouldn’t have thought that was possible.

“Yeah, you know that thing where people get food in the middle of the day, and sometimes talk between bites?” Peter tried to make a joke but had a feeling it fell flat.


“Look, Xander. It’s just lunch. It’s after 11:30 and I’m hungry. And we need to talk. If you don’t want to talk the whole time, that’s cool. We’ll just eat.”

After what seemed like forever, Xander finally said, “Sure, lunch sounds fine. Let me go get it from my car.”

As Xander walked away, Peter thought he heard him mutter under his breath, “and if I have any luck at all I’ll get hit by a truck on the way, or choke on my sandwich and die.”



Round Robin- Different Tracks- Part 4

Part Four is up on Suki’s site.

Part Four of our Round Robin Free Read is up on Suki Fleet’s site. Thanks to Jess Small for the graphic.


Suki Fleet


I’m taking part in a round robin free read with 7 other authors–Sophie Bonaste, Charlie Cochet, Grace Duncan, Kim Fielding, Lane Hayes, Elizabeth Noble and Brynn Stein. It’s called Different Tracks and we’re posting twice a week. The first three parts of the story can be found here:

Sophie Bonaste Part One:

Brynn Stein Part Two:

Grace Duncan Part Three:

Elizabeth Noble will be putting up Part 5 on 19th Jan.

Credit to Jess Small for the graphic XD

Part 4

Peter was studying the schedule pinned on the outside of the temporary office detailing what work needed to be done today, when Jo touched his arm.

“Hot guy approaching at six o clock,” she whispered, leaning against the wall beside him, and smiling.

Peter turned around, shading his eyes from the sun. Sure enough the guy he’d noticed getting out the Civic a few minutes ago was making his way purposefully toward them.

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Round Robin Free Read: Different Tracks Part 2 with link to part 1

So, I’m trying something different for the New Year. Several talented authors and I are getting together to write a round robin free read which we will post on Mondays and Thursdays on various blogs. (Thanks to Jess Small for the graphic)

So far the schedule is:

January 5 Sophie Bonaste Part 1

January 8 Brynn Stein

January 12 Grace Duncan

January 15 Suki Fleet

January 19 Elizabeth Noble

January 22 Kim Fielding

January 26 Lane Hayes

January 29 Charlie Cochet


Different Tracks Part Two:

Peter pulled his long blond bangs off his forehead and tied a sweatband in place. He’d been volunteering at Habitat for Humanity every Saturday since he was sixteen. Coming up on ten years now, he thought as he grabbed his toolbox from the back of his pickup and started toward today’s site.

He had grown up in rural Pennsylvania, not that far from here in fact, so he felt like he had been born with tools in his hands. There had always been something to fix on the farm. It had been his granddad’s place, and his dad’s before him. Things were always breaking. Fences needed mending, boards needed replaced in the outbuildings. And even when things didn’t need fixed, new things needed to be built. New troughs had to be made as the number of animals grew. More barns and chicken coops had to be built. There was always something. And from the time he could physically lift a hammer, Peter had loved to help.

In high school, Peter’s youth group got involved in Habitat for Humanity as a summer mission project. They all came every Saturday during July and August that year. Peter just never stopped coming.

By now, he knew everyone here.

“Hey Mike,” He threw up his free hand as he passed a man in his thirties. “How’s Barbara?”

“Much better, thanks.” Barbara was Mike’s wife and had been battling pneumonia.

Peter side-stepped quickly as two men came through, carrying a stack of two-by-fours. He playfully swatted at the first man, Ken, by way of saying hello, but noticed the second man was struggling.

“Oh hey, Mr. J.” Peter dropped his toolbox – as ‘out of the way’ as it was possible to get at a construction site – and grabbed the end of the stack. “Let me get that for you.”

Mr. Jacob’s (‘Mr. J’ to all the regulars here) was seventy-two years old, but showed up every weekend and threw himself into every task like he still thirty. It was remarkable to see, and Peter admired him for it. He really did. But sometimes, like now, Mr. J tried to do more than he could handle.

Peter didn’t give Mr. J time to say ‘no’. He just nudged him out of the way, while taking the side of the two-by-fours, and scooted around to the edge once the older man moved.

“I had it just fine, son.” Mr. J protested.

“Oh, I know, Mr. J.” Peter responded. “But I needed to stretch my muscles a little. You know. To warm up.”

Mr. Jacobs smiled but muttered as he wandered away. “Young whipper-snappers think they can do so much better than us old folk.” But Peter knew there was no heat it in. He’d known Mr. J for years. As he’d known most of these men. And a few women. Peter and Ken dropped the two-by-fours near one such lady.

Jo had been volunteering with this group almost as long as Peter had. She could match the men board for board with the circular saw and dared anyone to tell her she couldn’t. At five foot two with looks that a prom queen would envy, she used to have to constantly convince everyone she could really do the work. After seven years of volunteering here, all the regulars now just handed her the saw, brought her the stack of wood and let her go.

Peter straightened up from having dropped the wood, and was tucking his shirttail a little more tightly into the back of his pants when he saw a Honda Civic pull up next to a row of cars belonging to the volunteers. Out stepped a skinny, brown-haired man, probably about his own age wearing a wife beater and baggy jeans, covered in tattoos.

“Is he working here?” Peter asked Jo.

She just smiled. “Why? Are you interested?” When Peter didn’t answer she added. “I’ll flirt with him when he comes over and find out if he’s playing for your team or mine.”

Peter elbowed her. “Jo!” Then chuckled. “What if he plays for both?”

Jo adopted an evil grin. “Hey, I’m game for sharing.”