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Millers Kill Mysteries fic: Snippets of Millers Kill (7-9)

This is a series of 15 drabblish sized stories of life for Russ and Clare in Millers Kill. They don’t relate to each other and don’t necessarily follow canon. Also spoilers for all seven books is possible but since they don’t all follow canon they could really be set anywhere along the line of the books.

These were written for round #2 of writers30days and are dedicated to txduck who introduced me to the very entertaining Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries by Julia Spencer-Fleming. I read all seven books in a matter of like 2 weeks. They kept my spirits up while suffering from a nasty strain of the flu and possible pneumonia.

Back to Prompt Table

7. prompt: death

The Press of Guilt
by jennickels (aka Jen Connelly)
Millers Kill Mysteries
343 words
rating: PG
WARNINGS: mention of canon death, SPOILERS for book 5

Russ tries to deal with the death of his wife.

don’t own… wish I did, but I don’t. No infringement intended.
Russ stands numbly at the grave site. It’s been six months since Linda’s death and not a day has gone by that he hasn’t thought about her. Thought about what he had done to her in the last months of her life. Thought about her last moments—thinking Russ had chose Clare over her. He never got to apologize for his angry words, his accusations. The guilt leaves a painful burning in his chest.

He rubs at his eyes, tears pressing out at the corners. He can’t help but feel responsible for her death. But the more he thinks about it the angrier he gets. If she would have just listened to him instead of tearing off in a huff. It wasn’t like he could have left Clare alone to deal with…

His thoughts break off. He tries not to think of the barn. Tries not to think about how close he came to losing Clare, too. Because, really, that’s what it comes down to. It was one of those no-win situations. No matter what he chose someone was going to die. Clare or Linda.

And part of him is more grateful than he cares to admit that Clare survived. The guilt wells up again. He shouldn’t be thinking that. That makes him a horrible person, doesn’t it? Glad your wife died if that meant your—what? girlfriend?— lived? Horrible. He rubs his chest over the spot that is squeezing tightly, making it hard to breathe.

It’s one of those questions he would have asked Clare. If he was still talking to her. He pushes that thought away, too. It’s better this way he tells himself. Clare deserves better. So did Linda, a voice reminds him and the guilt is back in tenfold. He can’t stay here any more—otherwise he’s going to lose his mind to the grief. So he leans down and lets his fingers run lightly over the granite stone, whispering a soft good-bye. He turns and heads back to his truck, head hanging low, disappointed in himself.

8. prompt: “loved her enough to pretend otherwise”

Happy Couple
by jennickels (aka Jen Connelly)
Millers Kill Mysteries
(Russ/Clare), Linda
257 words
rating: PG

Clare gets a glimpse into Russ’ life with Linda.

don’t own… wish I did, but I don’t. No infringement intended.
Clare watches from across the street as Russ exits the police station. He looks good wearing civvies—jeans (worn out in all the right places) and a flannel shirt over a white T. She’s about to cross the street when she sees Russ pause then turn back towards the building, opening the door for a woman in a neat pants suit. She’s extraordinarily pretty with curly blond hair and an upturned nose. She smiles openly at Russ and he returns it in kind before leaning down and pecking her swiftly on the lips.

Clare ducks into the shadows. Linda. She watches as he escorts her to a waiting car, opening the door for her. They chat for a moment, Russ laughing at something she’s said. Clare swallows a growing lump in her throat and glances around. She feels dirty lurking just out of site. This is wrong, she thinks but can’t tear her eyes away from the happy couple.

They continue to discuss something until an obvious decision is made. Linda smiles brightly at Russ, leaning in close for a deep, very passionate kiss. At least it looks passionate from across the street. Clare sucks in a deep breath, feeling an ache building in her chest. She can’t watch any more. She can’t keep doing this. It’s not fair to her or Russ. Or Linda.

Quickly she slips out of the shadow and, without looking back, hurries around the corner away from the intimate scene. Away from the one thing her heart desires… but can’t ever have.

9. prompt: 10 years

Party Planner
by jennickels (aka Jen Connelly)
Millers Kill Mysteries
517 words
rating: PG
WARNINGS: spoilers for book 7

Russ just knows his family is up to something when he returns from work one bluster November day.

don’t own… wish I did, but I don’t. No infringement intended.
Russ lets out a sigh of frustration as he pulls into the drive in front of their little house. The excessive number of cars parked on the street hasn’t gone unnoticed and he rubs at his eyes, pretty sure of what is to come. Slowly he gets out of his truck and acts like he doesn’t suspect a thing. Clare has to know this would never work.

His shoulders ache after hours of mindless paperwork and his hip protests the effort to move. The brisk November air does little to help. He briefly debates making a run for it. Maybe he could conjure a last minute meeting downtown. Maybe Lyle would call him with a lead in their last breaking and entering case.

He reaches in his pocket and fingers his phone, willing it to ring but it stays stubbornly silent. He notices the curtains in the front window flicker ever so slightly. Oh well, he thinks, heading up the shoveled path. The door is unlocked and he’s sure he hears giggles as he enters, trying to act as casual as he can muster.

“I’m home he calls out to the quiet house.”

There is no answer at first and then the giggles. Giggles and shushing coming from the living room. He sighs, his eyes rolling, as he slips off his coat and hangs it on the hook near the door. With a deep breath he enters the room. A small body bolts from behind the lounge chair.

“Happy Birthday, Daddy!” little Gracie screams as she launches at him. She’s getting a little too big at nine years old but he hefts her up, wrapping her tightly in his strong arms.

“Hmmm, that was the best birthday present ever.”

“Daddy.” She rolls her eyes. “That’s not your present. Come on.”

He follows her further in the room—not that he has much choice with her grip on his hand. He’s barely taken two steps when people begin popping up from behind the furniture and doors.

“Surprise,” they call and Russ groans. Margey Van Alstyne makes her way through the crowd and pulls Russ down by the collar to peck him on the cheek. She wipes the lipstick away with her hand as a collective, “awe,” fills the room.

Brightly colored balloons and streamers fill the kitchen and Clare is standing behind the breakfast bar giving him an innocent look. She mouths, “it wasn’t my idea,” but Russ has serious doubts about that. His friends and family surround him, giving him hugs and pats on the back. Lyle appears out of no where and bumps his shoulder as he hands him a small wrapped box.

“Thanks for the warning,” Russ mutters. Lyle just chuckles.

Eventually he extracts himself from the throng of people and pulls Clare into a tight embrace. “You’ll pay for this,” he mumbles into the crook of her neck. She laughs much the same way Lyle did but plants a huge kiss on his surprised lips. She probably figures that makes them even. And for the moment Russ agrees. He’ll leave the revenge for later.

next set of stories

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