One of my favorite Project Prometheus characters to write has, since this moment when he’s first introduced, been Jordan Watkins. As a child, he’s endearing, precocious, and just has a lot of real character in him. Later, as a teen and an adult, that combination makes for a man with a profound sense of self and what he wants in life.
“Monday’s Ghost” — Excerpt from SHADOW WALKER (Project Prometheus, Atlantis Silver, Book #3) –
It was a typical Monday morning, Lieutenant Commander Jaye Michaels decided with a glance at her watch as she navigated the cluttered family room she never had time to clean, anymore. At the foot of the stairs, she hollered, “Jordan! C’mon, you’re going to be late!”
I’m going to be late. Normally, a few minutes behind wasn’t a problem for her. Even the United States Navy cut clinical psychiatrists a little slack; especially those decorated for valor she never felt less deserving of than she did this morning. Not when the day loomed ahead of her like an executioner’s axe. After two and a half long, terror-filled years of holding her breath and praying, she finally acquired the most important case of her life, on Friday. Today, she would come face-to-face with a ghost.
A thoroughly put-upon sigh answered her from the second floor, and Jaye bit back a harried laugh as she made her way back to the kitchen. Nine years old was just far too young to be so contrary.
A few minutes later, the heavy thud of sneakers clomped dejectedly down the carpeted stairs, and a thoroughly antagonized Jordan, his sweater on backwards again, appeared in the kitchen doorway, small frown lines denting his forehead. Jaye smiled at him even as tender pain lodged in her heart. He looked so much like his father, with his caramel-colored skin and dark amber eyes. Only his high cheekbones and smooth, raven-wing hair came from her.
“I don’t need to go to school,” he protested with all the vehemence of nine-and-omniscient, followed by a hopeful look that pained her. “Why can’t I go with you, instead?”
Jaye flashed him a tolerant smile as she slathered bread with Jordan’s two favorite food groups – peanut butter and apple jelly. Sighing, she realized it was one more constant reminder of his father.
“Because you have to go to school, so you can learn how to do all that fun stuff you want to do, kiddo. And I have to go to work.” To beg forgiveness for my life. Tension returned to coil between her shoulder blades, making her wince.
“Now, turn your shirt around so the tag is in back and find your book bag.” She handed him his lunchbox – predictably Star Wars, like everything else in her son’s life – and offered him an encouraging smile as she ruffled his hair affectionately. “Buck up, short-stuff. Just think what you’ll be able to do once you get school over with.”
He brightened on cue as he struggled into his thick winter coat.
“I want to be a pilot, Mom. Can I fly a jet, like on base?” She winced again, acutely aware of her son’s love of fighter planes. Her memories of watching fighters take off and land at Andrew’s Air Force Base were bittersweet, at best. It was a regular pastime of theirs, thanks to Jordan’s rapt fascination. She couldn’t deny him something that gave him so much joy, but a fearful knot tightened in her gut to know she fed his desire to rush into danger. Jaye smiled wanly, unwilling to quash his dreams with her own reservations.
“You can be anything you want to be, honey.”
He grew pensive as he followed her silently through the house toward the front door. “Mom?”
“What, babe?” She asked distractedly as she shrugged into her coat and snagged her purse and the keys to her Toyota Corolla.
“Can I be like Dad?”
The unexpected question brought Jaye up short, and her eyes squeezed shut. Good God, she hoped not.
Find out how it all begins… IN HER NAME, available now from Desert Breeze Publishing.