Here you will find bits and pieces of backstory from the points of view of various characters in my Six of One series. Some of these snips will be included in future published works, but not all of them. I'm sharing them here for readers with a deeper interest in the characters. These entries have not been professionally edited so please excuse any errors or inconsistencies. And please, do not copy or share anything from this page.
Just as in the published works, these stories will often include adult content. Some pieces will center on my main characters as children and teenagers and will spotlight their youthful explorations in sensuality. A notation will appear at the beginning of those stories for anyone who does not wish to read that type of content. Long-time readers of mine will be familiar with my work in this subject matter and will know what to expect. Others, please use discretion and caution. It is not my intention to offend anyone.
These entries will not be in any chronological order; they are 'scenes' I've written to help me see the larger picture of the lives of my Kathryn and Kellan Broch. Each entry will be noted by the date it was added to this page and will list the character 'speaking'.
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I hope you enjoy these glimpses into the understory of Mount Iolite. Some of these are my very favorite moments.
Scene Title: Disclosure
Date Posted: July 22, 2020
Speaker: Sonya (Timeline several weeks before Kath and Evan's wedding)
Content Level: PG-13 (adult language)
Note: This will not make sense if you haven't read all five books in the series.
The last of the warm afternoon wind sighed through the aspens and tall pines at the waterline. A pair of Steller’s Jays merrily screeched in the sand gathering twigs and fallen leaves for their nest. Three boys on bikes whizzed by on the road above Jewel’s dock, racing each other around the bend of Sylvan Road toward town.
Sonya leaned over the wicker table on the dock to refill the wine glasses; Sauv Blanc for Kathryn and herself, Merlot for Jewel and her sister, Leigh. The ladies had gathered to enjoy the golden hour before the late summer sun disappeared behind Mount Iolite. At each of the square platform’s corners, a large citronella candle burned, wafting its citrusy fragrance around their table and successfully discouraging the active local insects.
Leigh stretched her long, athletic legs out in front of her and took a deep breath of the alpine air. Her lovely hazel eyes scanned the shoreline, then she fixed on something across from them. “Does anyone know why they call that outcropping Swamp Rock? I’ve been over that way a few times walking Sadie—there’s no swamp around there.”
“There was,” Jewel said as Sonya settled back into her chair beside her. “Back in the 70s, Bonny’s water level was much higher. You can see the line where it used to be all around the shore.” She pointed in a wide swath from the group of docks on the western shore toward the white granite cluster of Swamp Rock. The highest watermark was nearly six feet above the lake’s current level. “See there to the left of the rocks where that stand of young pines is? The water used to be up that high and that area has a natural depression with a rock wall. When it was full, it was a muddy quagmire of mosquitoes and lizards and all sorts of critters that love stagnant water. The rocks don’t have an official name, but kids started calling them Swamp Rock around that time because there wasn’t enough bug spray in the world to not get eaten alive over there. The name stuck even though the bugs moved out when their spawning pool dried up.”
Sonya sipped her fresh wine and reached for a cube of cheese on the yummy platter Kathryn brought from Corsero’s. She’d been with Tamara all afternoon going over catering details for the wedding rehearsal dinner to be held up at the compound. Kath couldn’t leave that deli without taking away food—she, her brother and Evan never could. The three of them had made Sonya a convert and devoted fan of the Corsero family’s special delicacies.
“Kellan told me he used to get hundreds of bug bites every summer when you guys were kids,” she said, smiling across at Kathryn. “He said your dad would buy calamine lotion by the bucket each year and he’d use it all up on his son.”
Kath laughed, shaking her head. “That’s the truth. He would go to bed with that chalky pink stuff all over him every night. Everything loves to nibble on my brother. He must be made of sugar and yumminess.”
“Well …” Sonya grinned. “I’m one of those nibblers and can vouch for his sweetness factor.” She felt her cheeks heat up and could not have cared any less.
A rippled of low laughter went around the table, then Leigh leaned in to pick at some paper-thin sliced salami on the platter. She’d arrived in Mount Iolite a week ago to visit her sister and get in some mountain time. Leigh was an ageless, stunning lady with thick auburn hair cut in stylish shoulder-length layers that framed her lightly freckled face. She was always perfectly coiffed and made-up to look like she had no make-up on at all. Jewel told Sonya her sister’s morning grooming ritual to look so ‘natural’ actually took an hour and half of fussing. Lean and strong, she’d only been seen wearing shorts and light blouses since she’d arrived with her little white dog Sadie. Sonya hadn’t had much time to get to know her, but she’d liked Jewel’s younger sister the moment they met.
“Sonya.” Leigh’s hazel eyes twinkled as she munched an artichoke heart. “I don’t want to pry or embarrass you, but I have to know. What is it like to date a man so much younger—and one so incredibly cute? I mean, he gets so much attention! How do you not get jealous?”
Kath piped up in Sonya’s defense. “He’s not that much younger. Thirteen years is nothing. Not even long enough to tease my girl about being a cougar, which is totally no fun, by the way.” She gave Sonya a wink and they both laughed.
“I call myself a cougar, so go right ahead! Thirteen years is a good stretch, no matter how you slice it. Kath and Jewel know it did bother me at first, but he … worked his charms on me and I got over it.” Her cheeks were really burning then; she sipped her wine.
“I imagine that young man’s charms are pretty deadly,” Leigh joked. “He gives me hot flashes when he walks in front of my sister’s house! And don’t even get me started on your fiance, Kathryn. What is in the water around here? Honestly!”
“According to legend, there’s an old slot machine at the bottom of this lake,” Jewel said. “But mostly it’s just wayward spirits and trout out there. Few crawdads.”
“And Bonnie, the lake monster,” Kath added.
Sonya raised her eyebrows. “Wait, we have a lake monster? How did I not know this?”
Jewel chuckled, reaching for a cracker. “The only lake monster around here is your little brother, Kath. He’s the monster of broken hearts. He and Ev always were. I remember when they were in their teens running around town here, the locals called them The Virgin Killers.”
Sonya rolled her eyes. “Do you have pictures of these junior Lotharios at that age?” She knew her friend did. In Jewel’s collection, there were over thirty photo albums of her family and friends; the Brochs had a considerable amount of real estate on those pages.
Grinning, Jewel pushed back her lawn chair and stood up. “Give me a moment, girls. I don’t think Leigh has seen any of these, either.”
“Bring my glasses down, would you?” Leigh said. “They’re on the hutch by the phone.”
Sonya kept an eye on her friend as she made her way up the steep stairs from the dock to the road. Jewel hadn’t said anything about it, but she’d been moving a little slow lately—like her back might be bothering her. Sonya knew better than to ask about it. That road led nowhere until Jewel Early was ready to walk down it. Once she’d safely cleared the stairs and began crossing toward her cabin, Sonya turned her attention to Leigh.
“In truth, it is a little strange sometimes to be dating a man so young. We have just enough distance between us to have different memories of music, movies and tv shows from when we were in high school. I know that seems like nothing, but him being an artist means those topics come up often. We mostly just laugh about it, but I told him if he ever dares to say ‘Ok, Boomer’ to me, I’m gonna clock him one right in his pretty little kisser.” She smacked her fist against her palm and Kathryn and Leigh laughed.
“You’re not a Boomer, anyway,” Leigh said. “You’re Generation X.”
“I know, but people under 40 don’t know that and they love that particular insult.”
Kath laughed. “I’m under 40 and have never once said that to anyone. Kellan would never say or do anything to upset you, lady. He adores you. He’s convinced you hung the moon and can do no wrong.”
“Aww,” Leigh said. “I love that. I mean, the gorgeous thing aside, Kellan does seem like a sweetheart. He’s generous with his smile. You’re a lucky girl.”
“Yes. I am. And so is Kath, our soon-to-be-bride. Only a few more weeks.”
“My god, Evan!” Leigh exclaimed, raising her hands in surrender. The wine had her more animated than usual, but she was generally buoyant and expressive. Sonya liked her more every moment. “That is a hunk of beautiful young man there. Does Mount Iolite have a tourism board? They should do an ad campaign featuring him chopping wood or something. The place would be crawling.”
“Yeah,” Kath barked a laugh. “Crawling with skanks trying to steal my man!”
The three of them were laughing when Jewel returned, carrying three thick photo albums, Leigh’s eyeglasses, and two fresh bottles of wine. Sonya got up to help with the load.
“It’s nice hearing you girls laugh,” she said, dropping back into her chair. “It echoes all the way down the road. I think the trees like it, too.”
“As long as it doesn’t attract bears, we’re in good shape,” Kath said.
“They’ll be coming out soon to fatten up for winter.” Jewel set the stack of albums on the table in front of her. “That reminds me, Leigh, we need to get that bear wire put on the back windows. We should call that guy tomorrow.”
“I’ll make a note of it. What have you got there?” She slid the platter aside so her sister could open the first album in the center of the table.
Jewel turned a few pages, then angled the album for Sonya to see first. She tapped her finger on a 4x6 print, its color slightly faded with age even under protective plastic. “This was the summer Kell and Ev were fifteen. Still too young to drive, so they rocketed around town on these bikes.” She smirked. “Made for easy getaways when they were caught messing around with girls who were spoken for—or who were way too young to be playing with dogs like these two were.”
“Were?” Kath snorted. “Granted, they’ve both mellowed a little with age, but dogs they remain.”
Leigh let out a heavy sigh. “I hope both of them are as good in bed as they are gorgeous. It would be a capital crime otherwise.”
Sonya and Kath grinned at each other across the table and Kath said, “They’re both solid.”
“Entirely so,” Sonya agreed. Her blush rose again as she turned her attention to the photograph Jewel wanted her to see.
“Well, they had a shitload of practice.” Jewel tapped the photo again. “Look at the cheeky smiles on them. Pure devils, bless their little butts.”
The image was taken in the road between Jewel’s cabin and the Brochs’. It was mid-summer by the color of the light, and the boys were both shirtless and in shorts with t-shirts tucked into the waistbands like ducktails. She supposed this was done in case they wanted to go into one of the eating establishments in town during the course of their day, most of which had a policy of ‘no shoes, no shirt, no service’, even in the baking summertime. They both wore flip-flops.
They sat on their bikes grinning for Jewel’s camera, blond and chestnut hair wild and windblown, already hanging in their eyes even though neither would see a barber until school started. Their bare chests were tanned and glowing with a sheen of light summer perspiration. At fifteen, Evan was nicely filled out through the torso and shoulders, while Kellan was still lithe and wiry. His muscle definition was lovely, though, even then. Sonya let her eyes wander the landscape of that gorgeous young body, noting all the ways it had changed and developed in Kellan’s thirties. He was still lean like a dancer, but manhood had bulked him up just enough.
His young smile drilled into her, exactly as it had the moment she laid eyes on him in the photos on the KKB website. Sonya couldn’t believe that was less than a year ago. Those gorgeous amber eyes were lit from within by the flame of Kellan’s ever-present joy. His sun-kissed cheeks and the buckle of sunburn over his upturned nose were adorable and brought to another level of playful seduction by the pink tip of his tongue poked through his straight, white teeth. His chin was lowered just so, showcasing his flirtatious intentions. He was irresistible.
Sonya took in a breath, fanning herself. “Phew. Virgin Killers indeed. My virginity is falling on its sword retroactively.”
Jewel laughed. “Right? And Ev, for fuck’s sake. Look at him.” She turned the book on the table so Leigh and Kath could see it. “Neither of them ever went through an awkward, nerdy phase, the shits. They’ve both been knockouts since birth.”
Sonya watched Kathryn’s face as she examined the photo. Those lovely dark eyes misted as she smiled, her long, elegant fingers lightly tracing the line of young Evan’s shoulders.
“Wow … that makes my heart hurt a little,” she said in a low, sandy voice. “I wanted him to be mine so bad then but he was still sewing his oats. I had to let him do that, especially with my wicked brother around egging him on. But this summer was when he got my cherry. To my heart, that deal was sealed.” Kath shook her head, reaching for her wine. “I’ve never loved anyone like I love that dude. He’s deep in my bones.”
“He’s your soulmate,” Sonya said.
“He is. I think I’ll marry him.” Kathryn smiled, then glanced out over the cobalt water, gently rippling in the last of the afternoon wind. She set her gaze on Swamp Rock. “He never took me out there alone. Every time I’ve been there, I was either with other friends or on my own, but Ev never took me there for make-out purposes, even though it was practically made for that. That was his sacred place with my brother.”
Leigh smiled at the photograph. “What did they do out there, smoke pot or something?”
“I’m sure there was some of that,” Kath said. She glanced at Sonya, then at Jewel. “I shouldn’t elaborate, right?”
Jewel snickered. “Honey, that’s up to you. Leigh won’t burst into flames or anything—at least I don’t think so. I’m sure she’s heard of such things at some point in her life.”
“Wait, what are we talking about?” Leigh reached for an olive.
Sonya and Jewel regarded Kath expectantly. She was clearly considering whether or not to disclose to Leigh the nature of the relationship between her brother and her husband to be. Kath had told Sonya that she really liked Leigh and thought they could be friends, but she still wasn’t sure just how much information about them Jewel’s sister could handle.
Leigh cleared her throat, reaching over to rest a hand on Kathryn’s arm. “Honey, you don’t have to tell me anything, you know. Whatever this is, it’s obviously personal. We’re still getting to know each other.”
Kathryn gave her a grateful smile. “I appreciate that, Leigh, but the thing is … if we’re going to become real friends, you need to know at least a few things about my family. This detail would actually be mild in comparison, I’m just not sure how you’ll take it.”
Turning to her sister, Leigh frowned slightly. “You know me better than I know myself. Can I handle this information?”
Jewel laughed. “I think so, but you may want a helmet and some knee pads.” She closed the photo album on the table, then opened another from her stack. After finding what she was looking for, she pressed the open pages to her chest and grinned across at Kath. “Are you going for it? I’ll wait to share these until you do.”
Instantly, Sonya was dying to see whatever Jewel was hiding. She’d seen many of the photos in Jewel’s collection—some extremely compromising—but something told her she’d never seen these.
Kathryn stood up and walked around behind Jewel. The aspens rustled on all sides and the dock gently rocked from the tiny lake waves. Kath secured her long, thick hair at her shoulder and peered at the photos, a tiny grin tugging her full, pretty lips. “You know what, go ahead and show these—but Sonya should see them first.”
“Yep.” She winked across the table as she returned to her chair. “I’ll let those sink in and then I’ll take Leigh’s questions.”
Jewel chuckled, handing the album to Sonya. “These two on the bottom.”
Sonya bit her lip as she looked at the images. These were in black and white and clearly taken with a zoom from Jewel’s sitting room. The window screen in the immediate foreground created soft focus and the angle gave a quality of voyeurism that only enhanced the enticing captures. The hammock that used to be in the Brochs’ backyard was the subject. Kellan told her it was torn to shreds by a hungry bear going after the half-eaten pack of Oreos he and Evan left behind in it, but before its demise, it was their home base for the summers of their 12th and 13th years.
Her heart raced at the tangle of limbs and the litter of comic books, the bare skin and the soft press of young lips. Sonya could almost taste that kiss—sticky sweet from soda and cookies, slightly salty from summer sweat. She thought of the story Kellan told her of the first time Evan kissed him up in the woods. That was the day his grandmother’s magical “push” to help bond the children found its own voice in the boys’ reality. Ginny had meant it to only be strong enough to connect them, but both their highly sensual natures translated the impulse in a different way—one that succeeded in bonding them so deeply, they could never be separated. Ginny’s mission was certainly accomplished, but with results she’d never anticipated.
The boys wore swim trunks and nothing else in both images. One was taken early in the day and the other closer to sunset, but their positions didn’t change. Evan was stretched out on his back in the hammock with Kellan curled into his right side, his cheek resting on Evan’s shoulder just over the spot that would bear a peach tattoo in his honor a few years later. Even at twelve years old, The Nook had been established. In both photos, Kellan’s arm and right leg were draped over Evan and Evan’s fingers danced in Kellan’s tousled chestnut hair. They were kissing lightly in one, and lying together reading comics in the other; in both, utterly at ease.
In a soft voice, Sonya said, “It’s like being a Peeping Tom looking at these.” She playfully poked Jewel’s shoulder. “Which is exactly what you were, lady.”
“You wouldn’t have been with that going on right outside your window?” Jewel teased. “They were pups, then, too—twelve, I think, in those pictures.”
Nodding, Sonya handed the book across to Leigh. “That’s what Kellan told me. It was that year that all this began with them.”
“Um,” Leigh said uneasily. “All what?”
“Take a look, dear,” Jewel said. “The two on the bottom left there.”
Leigh was quiet for a long moment but her eyes moved rapidly from one image to the other, then back. She was studying something in particular, but Sonya couldn’t guess what. Jewel’s sister’s next statement was entirely unexpected.
“I kissed another girl once when I was thirteen. She was in my Girl Scout troupe. Pretty little tomboy type. I don’t even remember her name, but our encounter was very brief. Only happened once. I never had the desire to try again with another girl. Guess I got it out of my system.” She took a deep breath, then set the album down so she could take a sip of wine. Leigh turned to Kathryn who had been waiting for her reaction. “So, tell me, honey—you share your man with your brother? Is that what I’m gathering?”
“Not exactly … it’s a lot more complicated than that. And there’s a shit-ton more to it.”
“To say the absolute freakin’ least,” Jewel crowed. “This is the part you need the safety gear for, sister o’ mine. There’s some stuff here that involves me that I’ve never told you about.”
“I see. The plot thickens.” Leigh reached for the bottle of Merlot and topped up her glass. “Okay, I’m ready. Safety gear activated.”
Kath settled back in her seat and thought for a moment before she began telling Leigh about every sixth generation along her grandmother’s family line. Sonya and Jewel chimed in occasionally, but Kath was able to explain the main details of their spiritual situation with admirable brevity. Clearly, this wasn’t the first time she’d done it with someone completely outside their circle or who was not a potential member of the Six. Her tone suggested she half expected to not be believed, and that it wouldn’t ruffle her crow feathers one bit if she weren’t.
Leigh listened with rapt attention the entire time, never interrupting or asking for further information until Kathryn had finished. When she had, Jewel’s sister refilled the glass she’d just emptied in only a few sips, then refilled everyone else before she was ready to comment.
“Okay, first of all: yikes for you guys! How unbelievable terrifying to live like that! Especially knowing all three of you could … go … at any time. And together! How do you manage that?”
Kathryn shrugged. “We had no choice. We couldn’t have refused this even if we’d wanted to so we figured out how to accept it. Kell was much better at that than I was. I whined and threw a bunch of fits when Grandma Ginny first told me about it. She just let me spin out and kept talking me off the ledge until I finally came to some level of terms with it. It took me a few years, but I got there. My brother was just sort of ‘okay, this is us. Cool’. He just went with it and adapted as he learned to use his gifts.”
“Gifts he keeps receiving, as well,” Sonya said. “Henry’s uncle gave him a major one when he passed away last year.”
Kath nodded slowly. “The Heart of the Hawk. Kell still hasn’t figured out the best way to use that tool, but that’s only because it hasn’t come up yet. We’ve been amazingly lucky the last few months as far as extractions are concerned. When we’re home in EDI, it’s constant. It slows down when we’re here because of grandma sort of hiding his vessel light under the trees, but we’re still plenty active in M.T.I. Monsters and spirit villains, mostly; not as many ‘normal’ human crossings. But it’s been quiet the last few weeks. We’ve both been able to rest. And Ev has had a break, too, from frantic worry over us.”
“I cannot imagine how exhausting it must be.” Leigh sighed. “And this thing between your brother and Evan is some sort of spell?”
“Grandma never used that word. She always said ‘push’, which makes it sound like nothing more than an encouraging suggestion.” Kath chuckled. “Believe me, they were encouraged.”
“Damn pleasure junkies, both of ‘em,” Jewel said. “But Ginny told me once that she believed the light took that out of her hands and turned it into what it became so those boys could have an extreme experience of joy to help offset the terrifying stuff. And also to help them associate that joy with each other, which increased their bond.”
“And did she do a little push for you and Evan, too?” Leigh asked.
Dark eyes sparkling, Kath said, “I didn’t need any help wanting Evan. Grandma knew I wouldn’t. She always said we were written in the stars and couldn’t avoid each other even if we tried.”
“Well,” Jewel said. “Try not to avoid him at the end of the aisle in a few weeks, okay? Be a waste of a killer dress.”
“Truth.” Kath tapped her glass against Jewel’s.
Leigh laughed lightly at that, but then suddenly sobered. She turned to her sister. “Wait, this has been going on since you bought this cabin?”
“Correct. Since before, in fact. I bought it because of Ginny—well, mostly.”
“And you never told me you were next door neighbors with a ghost witch. Why is that?”
Jewel blinked. “Ever since it happened, you were married to that controlling jerk who never let you spend time with me because he knew I hated him and would talk smack about him behind his back. Which I did every chance I got.”
“I recall,” Leigh returned.
“If I’d actually told you about it, you would have told old jackass there since you told him everything, and he would have kept you from even calling me ever again. You’re my favorite sister, Leigh. That’s why I didn’t tell you before.”
Leigh took that in, nodding her agreement as her sister spoke. “Okay. Fair enough. But he’s gone now, so tell me the rest. You’re a member of the Six, Jewel. You, my big sister, are a spiritual warrior. I had no idea about any of this and I need to know all about it now!”
While the sisters continued their animated conversation, Sonya noticed Kathryn moodily staring out over the water toward Swamp Rock. Troubled by this sudden downturn, she leaned in and touched her friend’s hand, smiling when Kath met her gaze.
“You okay? You got melancholy all of a sudden.”
“Nah, I’m good. I was just thinking that I might need to ask Ev to take me up there to Swamp Rock to make out. I feel like that experience is missing in our journey.” She smiled playfully, but there was still a shadow over her lovely eyes. Sonya had no idea what she was thinking, but she wouldn’t press. Kathryn Broch had learned many things in her life as an outcaster and her brother’s guardian. More than anything, she’d learned how to protect herself emotionally at all costs. Whatever she was really thinking at that moment was upsetting and talking about it would only make it worse.
Instead of asking anything further, Sonya just squeezed Kathryn’s hand.