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Bonus Scene: Rage and wRath, a bonus Ian scene for Keys and Kisses

Bonus scene for Keys and Kisses. Look at y’all go. You’re slaying it with the reviews! The following bonus scene takes place over time both in the hospital and after in the scenes between the end of K&K and the beginning of W&W.


The whole time I sat in the hallway outside of her hospital room, I replayed the scene in my head of walking in on Mitch looming over her. The fact her eyes were so dilated. How limp her hands had been. The fact there was a whimper in her voice. They haunted me through the conversation with the cops, the interview, the questions. It played on a loop when a nurse wanted to look at the bloody wreck of my knuckles.

The scene echoed when I went back to her place to feed the cats and get her a change of clothes. Frankie filled these rooms with her presence, a sweetness and a kind heart that had been so badly treated. It just flooded me with fresh rage at Mitch all over again.

His jaw had broken. I knew that much. Every single time I flexed my bruised knuckles, I could feel the way his jaw cracked when I slammed my fist into it. I wish I’d broken his skull open and then pissed in the hole.

The sheer violence threading through my veins each time the thought of his name came up was bad enough. Yet, it intensified whenever I caught the flash of the bruises on her face. I couldn’t bring myself to go into her room at the hospital. She needed the guys. She needed their steadiness, their devotion, and the fact they had been there for her.

It was my damn fault I hadn’t been the official date. I’d tried and failed to communicate what I was trying to do and I had no one else to blame for the situation than myself.


And Mitch.

As much as I despised her mother for the things she’d done to Frankie, I’d never hated anyone the way I hated Mitch.

If I’d been even five more minutes.

Or worse—I hadn’t found them at all.

Homicidal didn’t cover it.

Dad spent my whole life stressing how to resolve with my words and not my fists, but right now I didn’t have the words to express the depth of my rage that she had gone through this. I told myself that night as the music etched itself into my soul that I had to find the right words. Each note a hard chord that drew blood as it was struck.

It didn’t take away the need for vengeance or to hunt him down. Not when Dad counseled me to take a step back. Not when Mom asked me to take a breath and let the law work. It didn’t curb the bloody dreams of ripping him apart or from listening to Jake as he detailed how badly he wanted to eviscerate him.

On that subject we were in perfect accord. Yet, the words weren’t there. The first night Frankie woke us sobbing, the chords grew heavier and darker. I stared up at the ceiling as Jake held her or Coop comforted her or Archie murmured until she went back to sleep.

Every night, when the dreams came, the notes fell into a bleak riff that ripped my heart open. With every tear, long look into the distance, and dark dream—the notes grew in strength and force. I could hear the song every single waking hour.

The first time I picked up my guitar though, I couldn’t play it. I didn’t dare let it out. If I did, I might never be able to bottle that rage and the next time I saw Mitch, I’d kill him. Playing the “what if” game was as dangerous as Russian roulette. It didn’t stop the notes from coming.

A week.

Seven days.

And it wasn’t until she napped in the other room while the guys were at school and I knew she was safe that I played it for the first time.

The full measure of the song. Every single blood-drenched half-note, treble, clef, and sharp. The rage boiled in the music, crackling and popping like kernels of corn in a fire. The eruptions came in a series of violent notes that descended back to something like a baseline of normal.




Rage again.

She woke the last time I played it, but I put it away when she came out of the room. “Just practicing something,” I told her and there was a faint smile on her lips at those words. Later, when she would ask me to play, those notes quieted. They would return when I woke each morning.

Every day, with my pulse as the metronome, I refined the notes. Until I could finally add lyrics to them.

The rage was in the music, the wRath in the lyrics. I never sang it. Not once. Occasionally, I pulled it out and looked at the song sheets, I’d created. It was a rock song filled with pathos. A threat and a promise.

One day, Frankie found the notebook with that song in it. When she asked me what it was, I told her the truth. “Just working out some stuff. Not sure we need to use that one.”

“Okay,” she said and smiled. Her smile was back. That let me put the notebook away, and keep the song sheets filed. She had her smile again.

But the song sat there, a Pandora’s box for my fury. One day, when I was ready, I’d either let it out or I’d burn it.

Today, however, was not that day.

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