Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Tuesday Teaser: A Barlow Lens


A Barlow Lens is a story told in two timelines. This teaser is from the present.

Wyatt turned when he heard movement behind him, expecting to see Lily had returned. It wasn’t Lily, and the person who now confronted him caused him to square his shoulders, straighten his spine, and sidestep so he was between the newcomer and Val. “Kevin,” Wyatt said. It was an effort to keep his tone cordial.

“Wyatt,” Kevin replied, voice tight. His gaze slid almost at once to Val, who’d turned away from the telescopes, taken a few steps toward them, and froze.

“This is Kevin Fells,” Wyatt said, turning far enough to look at Val. “Vladimir Mihalic, my fiancĂ©.”

Val stepped forward, held out his hand, and shot Wyatt a curious look. Clearly he caught the fact Wyatt introduced him as Vladimir not Val. He smiled at Kevin.

Kevin looked Val up and down, shrugged, and walked to the bar. He snatched a glass from the table and a bottle of whiskey from the bar. He poured more than a shot’s worth into the glass and downed it, then poured another one. Wyatt resisted the urge to shake his head. Kevin had already smelled of booze when he came in, and his eyes were bloodshot.

“So, my brother is barely cold in his grave and you get yourself a brand new boy toy.” Kevin’s voice was so cold Wyatt had to make a conscious effort not to shudder.

The smile slid off Val’s face. His arm dropped to his side. It took Wyatt a few seconds to recover and react. Closing the distance between them fast enough that Kevin wouldn’t have time to back away, Wyatt grabbed Kevin by one arm and pulled them together. He used a hard enough grip and jerked down with enough pressure Kevin gasped.

“You never even came to Jack’s funeral, and I’ll wager you don’t even know where his grave is,” Wyatt said in a low voice. “Don’t talk to me like I’m the one who did anything wrong. I’m the person who took care of him right to the end.”

“Hey, hey, don’t.” Val had one arm between them, pushing back against Wyatt’s chest. “It’s not worth it.”

Wyatt ignored Val. When Kevin tried yanking free, Wyatt tightened his hold. “Don’t you ever talk to him”—he dipped his head at Val—“like that again. Better not forget I know a helluva lot about you that Lily doesn’t, and I’m sure you never want her finding those facts out.” He let go of Kevin, giving him a shove, and stepped back at the same time.

“You can’t threaten me,” Kevin snarled.

“Funny, I think I just did,” Wyatt snapped back. “And that’s not a threat; it’s a promise.”

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