Outtake: The Years #CrossandZeke

Hey, loves!

So, it's Friday which means outtake day. I actually just wrote this one this morning. This past week, one of my betas finished the novella, Naz & Roz, and loved that even all those years later, Zeke and Cross's friendship was still present in their daily lives, and strong. It gave me an idea to write an outtake for them.

Plus, in the request form, there were a few who asked for scenes from Zeke, something from Zeke, and something with them together. So, this kind of works for that, too.

Do enjoy.

*note to my readers - comments have been turned off on this blog post because of harassment. Outtake Friday is supposed to be a good day for you guys. I want you to be able to come onto this post, read the Outtake, enjoy it, and not have to worry about the drama of certain people who don't like to be told not to steal my work. So, if you want to chat about this Outtake, I will be in the Bella Dushkas reader group today where it will also be shared. Hugs, and all my love. --BK. 


The Years
A Cross & Zeke Outtake

Zeke POV

Sundays were made for nothing. Doing absolutely nothing. That was, after church services were over, and you know, he’d apparently showed his face long enough while sitting in a pew to make those around him think he was an appropriate, God-fearing man.
Or so he was told.
But after?
After, Sundays were made for doing fuck all.
Zeke was fifty-five. And because he’d made to this age, he didn’t have a lot of fucks to give anymore. Not that he ever had to begin with, as far as that went. His father, God rest Wolf’s soul, used to tell him that he was too restless. Always wanting to do something, or be somewhere.
What his father would think now to know Zeke’s entire week revolved around getting to this one day where he could sit on his front porch, watch the damn sun pass over the sky, and think about … well, life … he didn’t know what Wolf would say.
Sometimes, he thought he’d give anything to hear his father talk to him again. All those years he spent thinking every word that came out of his father’s mouth was nonsensical babble meant to lecture and irritate … that wasn’t the case at all. But it was too late now. So instead of wishing for things that couldn’t be, Zeke came out on his porch every Sunday to look at the sky, and talk to his father in his mind. He felt closer to Wolf that way. Even his father’s grave didn’t make him feel this close.
“You want another coffee, or no?”
Zeke glanced over his shoulder, but kept the porch swing moving back and forth at the same time with the tip of his shined leather loafers. His wife, Katya, stood in the threshold of their front door. She rarely interrupted his time out here. All these years of marriage between them had worked out all the kinks they faced when they were brand new, maybe too fucking young—even if they hadn’t been all that young at all—and didn’t know how to be a couple instead of just one person trying to survive and navigate the world.
She’d been terrified.
Abused by people all around her.
Broken, too.
Maybe that shaped his little Russian wife in certain ways that weren’t always to her benefit at first, but it also made her amazing. Resilient, and strong.
Back then, he’d been stubborn, selfish, and not at all aware of what it took to be the best man he could be because he was far too accustomed to being the man he already was.
They worked those kinks out, though.
That was the thing about time. Give it enough space it move, and it would change everything. The person you might have been twenty or thirty years ago was not the person you were now.
Growth meant change.
Zeke peered down into his empty coffee cup, and then glanced up at his wife again. “No, I think I’m all right, actually.”
Katya smiled in her sweet way. “Mmm, okay. You’ve got a guest coming, by the way. I suspect he’ll be here anytime.”
He tried hard not to scowl, and failed. His wife only laughed.
“It’s only Cross,” his wife said, shrugging as she turned to go back in the house. “And even he can’t ruin your Sundays, Zeke.”
Well, that was true.
Ride or die.
That’s what he and Cross had always been. From babies. All this time, and that had never changed. Oh, sure, he’d done some shit to test Cross over the years. And to be fair, his best friend could be a special kind of difficult to deal with when he was in one of his moods. But it just wouldn’t feel right if his friend wasn’t there.
Like missing his left hand, really.
Katya hadn’t been exaggerating. Cross pulled into Zeke’s driveway less than two minutes later, spinning very expensive tires as he did so. Zeke whistled at the car his friend stepped out of appreciatively.
Setting his cup aside, Zeke moved down from the porch as he eyed the black Bugatti with all its chrome, and sleek lines. “When did you take this baby out of storage?”
Cross leaned against the hood—an action he probably would have killed anyone else for doing—and shrugged with one of his arrogant grins. “This morning after church. Figured we could tear up some pavement. Maybe do something other than sit around on your porch all damn day.”
Zeke gave his friend a look. “Don’t say that like it makes us old, Cross.”
His friend grunted under his breath, and looked up at the sky. Salt had started to pepper both their hair, now. They had more lines around their eyes and mouths when they smiled. Time had swept into their life to change the obvious things, but it was what was under the surface that was still the very same.
Two fucking troublemakers.
Two old souls.
Two friends.
“Maybe I felt like that when my shoulders ached after waking up.”
Zeke laughed. “Like my knee is fucking killing me after chasing Katya’s new puppy all day yesterday?”
Cross glanced his way again. “Who the fuck wants to be old, Zeke?”
“We’re not old. We’re fucking distinguished.”
That earned him another laugh.
“Yeah, keep telling yourself that.”
He would. And he’d keep telling his friend that, too, as much as Cross needed to hear it.
“So, driving?” Zeke asked.
Cross nodded, and fixed his leather jacket. “Yeah, let’s take a fucking drive, man.”


Cross POV

This was the fucking life.
Seats pushed all the way back, and reclined as far as they could go. Feet up on the dashboard, and the sunroof opened so beach air could come into the Bugatti. People staring at the car as they passed, trying to peer through the dark tint of all the windows to see who was hiding inside.
No Cosa Nostra.
No family worries.
No nothing.
“All right,” Zeke muttered beside him in the passenger seat, “this was better than the porch.”
Cross smirked. “Told you.”
Years ago, he might have punched Zeke in the arm along with making his statement just because that’s how they once rolled. They weren’t that young anymore, though, and nobody needed a sore shoulder for acting like an asshole.
“Remember that one street race we entered into with the Camaro?” Cross asked as he pulled out a rolled joint from his inner pocket. He was in his fifties, his kids were grown, and he had all day to sit here and sober up. He was gonna smoke. “You were wasted.”
Zeke chuckled as Cross lit up the joint, and took a hard drag before handing it over while holding all the smoke in to let it do its thing. “It was only because I was wasted that I agreed to be your passenger. Had they known I was out of it, you never could have entered. Almost wrapped us around a fucking tree.”
Cross sighed as thick gray, heady smoke filled the car, and traveled up through the sunroof to escape. “Good times.”
“How was that good? I thought Cal was going to kill you.”
“Not even a chance.”
Zeke smirked a bit, and glanced over at him as he handed the joint back. “I guess not, huh? Wolf wasn’t scared at all to put the fear of the devil in me. Cal, on the other hand … most soft-handed Cosa Nostra boss I have ever known.”
“Soft-handed, but not weak.”
“No, not that at all.” Zeke coughed on his exhale when he muttered, “Do you think that was because he thought you—”
“I think it was because he spent his whole childhood getting smacked around by a man who told him it was going to make him a better man. And you know, had he tried that with me, Ma probably would have had his balls. Doesn’t matter; never even crossed his mind.”
The two men grew silent as they finished their smoke, and then rested back in their seats to stare up at the cloudless sky.
This was his kind of day. No problems, his best friend, good smoke, and all these years between them. All the years of memories and good times and children, their wives, weddings, birthdays, and everything in between.
All the years
“This is the fucking life,” Cross murmured.
Zeke sighed. “Yup.”
“You’re so high.”
“We’re probably going to have to call someone.”
“As long as it’s not one of our wives, we’ll be fine.”

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