Yesterday, author Katie McGarry (the Pushing the Limits series) took to Twitter and release a short story on Twitter using #TwitterFiction. This is something that a lot of authors like to do and a lot of fans love it. It is led by Twitter Fiction Fest . Authors will go on the account and release a small piece of work for their fans to read.
The story below follows Judah as he rushes to the hospital with a young woman named Marigold after she gets hurt at one of his shows. They come from two different worlds but that doesn’t stop the sparks that fly.
Damn. The word repeated in his mind over and over again. One moment, he was backstage taking a drink of water between sets, the next he was pounding some ass that was shaking this girl. How the hell he had ended up with the one girl he had been watching from the stage all night in his arms, he had no idea.
Granted, he had hoped they would talk, that she hadn’t just been watching the band play because she was bored, that she was honestly was staring at him and it hadn’t been his imagination. He had hoped she’d stay after their set and he’d have a chance to find her. Had hoped to get her phone number and then a date. That had been his goal for the evening, to get her attention, but he never thought he would have gained her attention like this.
“She’s still awake, right?” His older brother, Ben, shifted gears again and the engine accelerated.
“Yes.” Judah glanced down to see her blue eyes staring at his tattoos.
He held her fragile body in the backseat of Ben’s Honda, catching sight of her pale face as the street lights flashed into the speeding car. She rested her head against his shoulder while he kept pressure on the wound. Blood streaked and stained her golden hair.
“Keep her talking,” Ben said.
He didn’t do small talk. Hell, Judah did his best to never talk. “You said your name was Marigold?”
She nodded and he said, “I’m Judah. How old are you?”
“Seventeen.” Her weak voice sounded distant; unattached. Judah was silent and that was how he liked life: silent and undisturbed.
He wrestled for a subject, but his mind remained blank. “Where year are you at school?”
“Senior.” She shivered uncontrollably in his arms. Her eyelids drooped.
Exhausting that line of questioning, he stared at the back of Ben’s seat and searched his barren brain for more. The questions that did plague him weren’t ones he could ask, at least not now. Was the drunken monster that grabbed hold of her, shook the hell out of her, and then caused her to fall and hit her head her boyfriend?
Her teeth chattered and a small moan escaped her lips. “She’s in shock, Judah. Try to keep her warm.”
His brother enrolled in a couple of medic classes and all of the sudden he’s a damn doctor. Keeping pressure on her head, he wrapped his other arm around her tiny frame. He should try to comfort her, tell her everything will be okay, but he didn’t know how and he wasn’t sure if he’d be telling the truth.
She inched closer to him, letting her cheek rest against his chest and an arm wrap around his neck. He closed his eyes, liking how she felt.
It’d been forever since he held a girl and never in his life had he held one this beautiful. “How old are you?” she asked.
His eyes opened in surprise. It was the first time she initiated conversation. “Eighteen.”
An undertone of humor rung in her voice, “I watched you play tonight.” .
“You and ten other people.”
Ben snorted from the front seat and she whispered her response, “Whatever.”
The corner of his mouth lifted. They had an awesome crowd tonight. His brothers will kick his ass for screwing up the second set by getting involved with this girl, but Dad would kill him if he walked away.
Judah didn’t do it for his dad, he did it for her. Second song in, he noticed Marigold watching them from the fringe of the crowd. Long, blond hair, kicking curves, and a sexy way of swaying to the beat he pounded on the drums.
“I saw you looking at me.” Marigold tried to wiggle her eyebrows, but failed. “My friends convinced me to leave you a note to meet me after. That’s why I was backstage, but I should have listened to my instincts. There’s no way you would have agreed.
Her forward statement caught him off guard and he cleared his throat before rejoining the game.
“I saw you…mean I noticed you. Why would you think I wouldn’t have stayed to meet you?” Judah asked.
“Because I’m a Newman. Why would you want to go on a date with me?”
Newman. Realization hit him hard. That’s the reason why that man asked Judah to take her to the hospital instead of calling an ambulance. He wanted no press. This was the senator’s daughter.
“I think the better question is why would you want to go on a date with me?” Judah said as a statement.
“Maybe because you saved me from that guy who attacked me? Maybe because you’re taking me to the hospital when you don’t know me?
Maybe because I like how you played the drums tonight?” she replied.
Judah chuckled and when Mari tried to laugh to, she winced.
Mari’s eyes blinked rapidly before she gave in and let them close. A spark of fear flickered inside him. “What’s your favorite color?”
The fragile hand wrapped around his neck went limp. He held her closer. “Marigold, open your eyes and tell me your favorite color.”
“Purple.” Her eyes open again. “So you’re saying that if I hadn’t been attacked by a madman, you would have talked to me after your set?”
Talked with her? If a girl like Mari gave him a smile, he’d follow her around like a puppy for life.
“What are you doing later this evening? After stitches and all? Want to see a movie?”
Mari laughed out loud, groaned then gave him a smile that was immediately burned into his memory. “Can I have a raincheck?”
“Friday?” she asked as if his answer wasn’t already cemented in stone.
“Friday,” he confirmed. Judah’s brother Ben stopped the car in front of the emergency room doors. “Go!”
Judah shoved the door open with his foot and rushed through the automatic doors with Marigold safely in his arms. Judah shoved the door open with his foot & rushed through the automatic doors. Marigold’s fingers weakly clutched the material of his shirt. Warm moisture dripped on his arm and the salty smell of blood filled his nose.
Dammit, all the blood was going to fall out of her head here in the waiting room.
A middle aged woman dressed in a wrinkled business suit stepped in front of Judah. She had the friendliness of a receptionist in hell.
“We received a call from Mr. Andrew Morton. Follow me.”
He tightened his grip on Marigold. “Who are you?”
She spun on her heels and jerked her hand in the air motioning for Judah to follow. He glanced at the waiting room filled with wet hacking coughs and children crying in pain. The smell of fresh vomit hung in the air. He chose to follow.
They walked past the open emergency room beds to an antiseptic smelling private room in the corner. Unopened medical equipment sat on silver trays.
“Put her down,” she said.
Marigold buried her face into his shoulder. “Please don’t leave.”
Judah gently placed her on the bed and looked down into frightened blue eyes.
“I won’t leave this hospital until you do.” Ben was going to shove a boot up his ass for that promise.
Two nurses in blue scrubs entered the room. The younger nurse applied pressure to the wound while the older nurse stepped on Judah’s toes and elbowed him out of the way. He took a reluctant step back.
The older nurse spoke to Marigold with the sweetness of a grandmother, “We need to take off your clothes and get you into a hospital gown. Do you think you can help us with that?”
The nurse turned to Judah and her face hardened. She motioned with her chin toward the door. “The waiting room is in that direction.”
Flipping personalities again, she tenderly lifted Marigold’s hand and slid her rings off her fingers.
“We’re attempting to contact your family now. We’ll have you fixed up in no time.”
Marigold stared at him. “I want Judah to stay.”
The older nurse smoothly coaxed, “Let’s get you settled first then we’ll discuss visitors, okay?”
She glanced at him and hissed, “We’ll find you later. Let us do our job.”
Judah flexed every muscle in his body. “I’m counting on that.”
He leaned around the nurse, touched Marigold’s hand, and gentled his tone, “I’ll be back.”
She tried to nod, but stopped abruptly, wincing. Judah lived a life of regrets & walking away from Marigold made the top of his list. Judah’s oldest brother, Ben, slouched in a seat far from the sick and injured. His phone held close to his face, typing with his thumbs at a snail’s pace. Three seats down, an elderly janitor mopped up vomit.
Ben shoved his phone in his jeans pocket and perched himself on the edge of the chair. “Ready?”
Judah fell into the chair next to him and let the back of his head hit the wall. “Nope.”
“Because she asked me to stay.” Though he would have stayed even if she didn’t ask.
Ben’s combat boot tapped repeatedly against the floor. “Do you have any idea who that girl is?”
Judah raised an eyebrow. When the nurse found him, ‘that girl’ would have his undivided attention until she was released. Then he’d have the pleasure of escorting ‘that girl’ home. As soon as he could possibly arrange it, ‘that girl’ would be going on a date with him. Beyond that, he didn’t really care.
“That’s Marigold Newman. Her father is Douglas Newman.”
Judah stared up at the white ceiling, acting like he didn’t know, but he did. He just didn’t care who her family was.
Ben continued, “Turn the channel to CNN every now and then. Douglas Newman is running for U.S. Senator.
When her father became Lieutenant Governor, Marigold became a super star.” So Judah had it wrong, he wasn’t a senator…yet.
“Don’t you remember when Eliza sat in front of the TV for a week straight to watch the highlights of Marigold’s first day of school?”
Judah’s lips twitched. Oh, he remembered. He remembered teasing her and her little friends unmercifully for their bizarre fascination. He made a mental note to apologize to Eliza. Maybe her childhood fascination wasn’t so border line psychotic.
Ben pitched forward in his seat. “Let’s go then.”
“I’m not leaving her.”
“Bro, there’s nothing else you can do.”
“I said, I’m not leaving.”
Ben ran a hand over his face. “What exactly do you think is going to happen? You honestly think they’re going to let you see her?”
Ben raised his arms out to his sides to prove his point. “Have you taken a good look at us?”
Even with his cropped hair cut, Ben looked menacing with his multiple piercings and tattoos. Strangers ignored that the tattoos running down his arms were of crosses, roses, and thorn vines. To people who weren’t his family, they would simply see someone different – a punk, a freak. Marigold looked nothing like Ben and his family. For the first time, Judah wondered once Marigold had a chance to honestly see him, if she too would be frightened.
“Go if you want.” Judah stretched out his legs in front of him and slouched in the chair. “I’ll call a cab when I’m ready to leave.”
Ben pulled his phone out of his pocket with exaggerated effort.
“You’re the one who’s going to explain to Bear and Isaac why they had to break down on their own.”
Bent forward, Judah stared at the empty coffee cup he cradled between his hands. The right hand throbbed. He should have bought a cold Coke to take down the swelling. It had been years since he had thrown a punch. He replayed the entire scenario over and over again in his head to see if he missed an opportunity that didn’t include violence. The monster point blank shook her mere steps from where Judah stood. Before he could reach them, the ass staggered and tripped.
Unfortunately, the monster hit the ground and Marigold crashed into the corner of the stage.
“Was I wrong?” Judah asked.
The back of Ben’s head rested on the wall. His eyes were closed, but the lack of snoring indicated he was wake.
“No. We were all gunning for him. You got to him first.”
Ben opened his eyes to begin his fifth lecture on why they should leave when he straightened and lightly smacked Judah’s knee. “Heads up.”
The nurse from hell whispered so softly that Judah had to strain to hear her, “Will you follow me?”
Judah shot out of the seat. “Is she okay?”
The nurse’s gaze traveled over Judah, eyeing him like he was a leper. “She asked to see you, but I’ll understand if you decline.”
Judah fixed his stare on the nurse, intending to intimidate her. He was going to see Marigold one way or another. “Take me to her.”
He followed her and the nurse paused outside of a private room. “I suggest not staying long.”
In the bed, Marigold shivered. A bastard like him had no business being alone with a girl like her, but he was here and she was cold. He grabbed a blanket sitting on a chair close to the bed and wrapped it tightly around her. As he withdrew his hand, he felt delicate, cold fingers touch his. Tired blue eyes stared up at him.
Judah sat in the chair and wrapped both of his hands around hers. He rested his head on their combined fingers and released the breath he’d been holding for the past two hours.
Judah lifted his head at the sound of her groggy words. “You’re welcome.”
She tried to smile, “If this is our first date, it sort of stinks.” Judah chuckled.
“Our first date happens on Friday,” he said.
Mari’s smile widened. “Friday it is.”
It’s a short story, with no promise of a more (though I know I wish there was more). Perhaps in the future, she will add to this story, but for now, it’s all we got.
McGarry next book Nowhere but Here is set to come out May 26th and it’s available for pre-order now.
What did you think of Judah and Mira?