“Sunday Kind Of Love” (Excerpt) FWF!

The story up to this point: Leila and Remmy have been best friends since high school. Which is just about when Leila fell in love with him but since he never showed any interest she settled for being just friends. Now they are both in college and Remmy has just shared a secret he’d been keeping from her for years, something that will make it impossible for them to be together even though Remmy is finally confessing his true feelings for Leila.

Remmy was shaking beside her, she couldn’t tell if it was his frustration or something else at fault. “Leila, please don’t think less of me because of this.” he said with imploring eyes. All the anger she had flooded from her with that one look. “I could never think less of you for doing something you thought would help your family.” she said as she took his hand in hers and gave a tiny squeeze. She kept speaking, “But Remmy, this is a big deal. You have to tell your parents what’s going on.” He shook his head, “I can’t. That’s another part of my contract. I can’t tell anyone about it.” Leila tilted her head, “But you told me.” Remmy gave her a look, “You’re different. You’re the one person I can make the exception for.”

Leila tried to calm the sudden butterfly infestation that was occurring in her stomach as Rem gazed at her now. It was a different look, she thought she knew them all but this one was new. He was staring at her as if he was trying to tell her something, as if he needed her to know what he was thinking. “Leila, if I say something right now do you promise not to hold it against me in the future?” She gave him a questioning look but nodded slowly. Remmy turned on the bed so his whole body was facing her, then reached out and ran his thumb along her jaw line. The touch gave Leila warm shivers. What is happening, she thought as she stared at her best friend. When he spoke his voice seemed to be coming from far away, almost muffled. Yet, she heard him, she understood. “I know you’re my someone better.” he said. Leila closed her eyes and tried to swallow past the lump in her throat. Remmy’s finger stopped tracing her soft skin. She knew what she needed to say, she just didn’t want to speak the words.

This whole time she’d known he was the one, and now he was telling her she was the one too. But it didn’t matter, it’s not like they could ever be together now. “Remmy, don’t do this.” She pleaded as she opened her eyes again to look at him. He looked hurt as he spoke, “Why not Leila? I lo…” Leila gave him a stern look and shook her head as she cut him off. “Please don’t say what I think you were going to say.” Leila slid to the edge of the bed and stood quickly. “I’m gonna go.” Remmy was only a beat behind her, nearly stumbling from standing too quickly as he tried to stop her from reaching the door. “Why are you leaving?” He asked frantically. “Because Remmy, this is too much.” She had one hand on the door knob but she couldn’t go yet. With her back to him she rested her forehead against the door as if she needed it’s support to go on.

“Did you know?” She said tentatively, relishing the way the door cooled her skin. Behind her, she heard Remmy moving closer. “Did I know what?” He asked which caused Leila to let out a harsh laugh. “How I’ve felt about you. This whole time, what, five years we’ve been friends. Have you known this whole time?” This was easy, she thought, talking to him without looking at him. She could do this. “For years, Remmy, I have cared about you in a way that I have never cared for anyone else. Tell me, if you’ve known.” Remmy was so close now. He placed one hand on the door near the side of Leila’s face to brace himself. With his other hand he tugged at Leila’s waist, trying to turn her towards him. “Will you look at me, please?” he asked when she resisted. Reluctantly she turned and looked up into his eyes. “I didn’t know.” his voice was rough with emotion, “But I hoped you did. I hoped when you looked at me you saw something worth looking at. I hoped you felt something for me like what I feel for you.” His hand was still on her waist, with his other, he tilted her chin up towards his face. “Leila, I know you don’t want to hear this but I need to say it.” He waited for her nod before he bent his head down so close their noses brushed. Instinctively, Leila licked her lips as her heart raced. Now she was the one shaking.

Remmy’s warm breath was causing more shivers as her eyes fluttered shut. His lips were almost pressed to hers when he whispered, “I love you, Leila Andrews, I’m in love with you.” He let the words kiss her. He spoke them slowly against her, letting his tongue slip across her bottom lip as he said her name. Leila felt like she was melting. Her legs weren’t so much weakened as they were unwilling to support her at this moment. She began to slump back against the door but Remmy’s hand on her waist kept her steady, pulled her closer to him. She was waiting for him to kiss her for real but he didn’t. He just kept holding her. Slowly she opened her eyes and saw the struggle in his. She knew she must look equally troubled. “Remmy, we can’t do this can we?” she asked with no idea what she even meant by ’this’. “Remmy shook his head, “It’s all my fault. If I’d known…” He trailed off with a pained look on his face.

In that moment Leila made a choice. “You’re wrong.” she declared. Remmy looked at her, confused. Inhaling deeply, Leila went on, “We can do this. Even if it’s just for now, for this one moment we are going to do this.” She wrapped her arms around Remmy’s neck and leaned into him. He dipped his head towards her with a smile tugging at the edge of his lips before their mouths melded. It was a slow kiss, sensual and passionate just the way Leila had always imagined kissing Remmy would be like. She could feel the heat coursing through every part of her body. She didn’t care about anything that came before this moment. This was right, finally everything was right even though she knew everything would soon go back to being wrong. Leila stopped thinking and whispered against Remmy’s soft lips, “I love you too.”

Hey! So it’s been a while since I posted a Free Write Friday, but here I am. It feels good to be back. The latest prompt was to write about a first kiss. I decided I’d go ahead and share the first kiss of the characters in the story I’ve been working on. I felt it would be a good fit with the prompt since everything was pretty much a free write. I never know what’s going to happen until after I’ve finished the sentence. It’s rough, this is the first draft so don’t murder me if there is really horrible grammer or anything of the sort. I probably won’t leave this up long but I did want to share it with you and get some feedback! 

Free Write Friday! “A cold night”

The prompt: Time & place
image

I just stood there baffled. For a moment my mind was blank as my eyes took in the scenery before me; it was night time with the blare of fresh fallen snow on a street corner that I couldn’t quite place. Panic hit me at once and I frantically turned myself in a half circle trying to find my bearings. There. In the distance I saw someone walking away from my direction. No, she wasn’t really walking, more like stomping away in bright red combat boots. Her dark curly hair blew back as she stormed off. Briefly I watched her go until it dawned on me that maybe she could help me find out where I was and what the hell I was doing here.

Ignoring the way the cold and wetness began to seep through my own brown loafers, khaki pants and light blue button down shirt (which by the way, suggests I am possibly supposed to still be at work) and began to jog towards her. “Hey!” I yelled as I got a little closer. Nothing. “Hey, wait!” I called out again. This time she whipped around to face me. She was beautiful, although she was glaring at me with a fierce intensity I feel was unwarranted. She never stopped, just walked backwards while crossing her arms against her chest. “What!” she shouted angrily, the tone of her voice caused me to slow my pace lest I get too close to her and she decides to, I don’t know, murder me or something with her eyes. “Um, I, well…” I sounded like an idiot. Thing is, I don’t know what to say. For some reason ‘what planet am I on?’ or ‘excuse me, do you know what dimension we’re in?’ seemed like feasible questions considering when I woke up this morning it was July in CALIFORNIA. She rolled her brown eyes at me and started to turn around again. I’ve got to get it together. “No, wait. I’m sorry, Do I know you because you seem upset with me? Um, can you just tell me where we are?” I plead. She raises an eyebrow at me and shakes her head. “Wow.” She says bitterly as she finally stops walking, “What game are trying to play right now?” Ok, it’s official, one of us has lost our mind. “Um, I don’t know what you mean.” I stammer. She narrows her eyes and says in a snappy tone, “Ummm, I mean what I said.” Great, she’s mocking me. She tosses her head back and exhales loudly, a puff of steam rolls out of her mouth from the way her body heated the cold air. Now I’m getting angry, all I want to do is find out what is happening to me and she just wants to be a brat. “Never mind.” I reply curtly, it’s my turn to stomp away.

I get a few steps away before I hear her boots crunching in the snow behind me as she gets closer. “Shawn, wait.” She doesn’t sound quite so angry anymore so I allow myself to turn and face her once more. Up close I can see the imperfections in her face; the way her skin isn’t flawless, how two of her bottom teeth are crooked, the small scar right above her lip. They don’t make her less attractive as you’d imagine, instead they make her even more appealing to me. She seems real. She seems real in a moment that doesn’t make sense to me. “You know my name?” I ask in astonishment. “Of course I know your name.” She sighs and continues, “You seriously are out of it. I should probably call Dr. Myers.” She slips her hand into her back pocket and pulls out a phone with a yellow case on it. I reach out to stop her from dialing. “Who is Dr. Myers?” A new panic is setting in. She wriggles her hand, which I seem to be squeezing pretty hard from the way her face contorts in pain. “Shawn,” her voice is very calm as she speaks. “Can you please let go of my hand?” I let go, embarrassed by my reaction. “I’m sorry.” Shaking her head she says, “It’s fine. It’s all going to be just fine okay?” I nod even though I don’t think it’s all going to be just fine. “Why don’t you have a seat there on that bench, I’ll get some answers for you all right?”

I watch from my perch on the edge of the freezing cold metal bench as she dials the rest of the number and begins speaking quietly into her phone as if I can’t hear her. “Yeah, he doesn’t seem to remember who I am or where we are.” She says. After a few “mmmhmm’s” and a couple of “I see’s” she hangs up and turns to me. “Well?” I ask. “Shawn, you’re not supposed to be here.” I let out a harsh laugh. “Yeah, tell me about it. I don’t even know where here is.” “North Carolina.” My mouth drops open. “How the hell did I get to North Carolina?” I exclaim. She just shrugs her shoulder and gives me a sympathetic look. She takes a seat beside me and we sit in silence for a long while. “What’s your name?” I finally ask. “Lena, geez you really don’t remember me?” She replies softly. There are tears in her eyes and I suddenly feel like I should have pretended to remember her. “Uh, I’m sorry.” She wipes the tears away and takes my hand. “Don’t be. It’s not your fault.” “What’s not my fault?” She shakes her head, “Let’s just wait a moment, Dr. Myers is sending someone to pick you up.” She smiles a sad smile at me. Before I can I ask her anything else, a black town car pulls up to the curb. “Well, this is you.” She says gesturing towards the automobile. An older woman steps out of the back and strides toward us quickly. “Thank you Lena, we’ve been worried sick about him for the past week!” She says, pulling Lena into a tight embrace. All I can do is stand there gawking because I have no idea what is actually going on. When they separate the woman turns to me. “You’ve caused a great deal of trouble. I can not believe you ran off like that before treatment. You scared you’re mother half to death!” She scolds me as she grabs my shoulder and pushes me towards the car. “I. I’m sorry” I utter, unable to comprehend what’s happening. She pushes me into the car and then walks around to the other side, sliding in beside me.

Lena taps on the window so I roll it down. She leans in and kisses me on the cheek. “I’m so sorry Shawn. I love you. I just can’t…” She never finishes her sentence. Instead she straightened up and began stomping away once more. I turned to watch her as we pulled off. For a while all I could see was the bright red of her boots against the white of the snow. I don’t know why, but I felt like I just lost something really important. Beside me the woman, Tess, kept saying that it would be okay. I had missed some sort of treatment and that’s why I was so out of it. I couldn’t really pay attention. I was too busy trying to figure out who that girl was and why the moment she said she loved me I knew it was true.

I also knew that I loved her too. 

Thank you for reading this short story! I had a bit of fun writing a sort of mystery. What is wrong with Shawn? What is this treatment he’s missed for? Who is Lena? All valid questions that will remain unanswered, at least for now. Check out more of the responses to this prompt and other great prompts at the lovely Kellie Elmore’s blog!

The leap

This is a super short story (less than 500 words) that I wrote as part of a writing prompt given by @writerlytweets We were asked to begin with the words “She jumped” and write for ten minutes. This is what I came up with. 

leapsharp 

   She jumped, well figuratively speaking, since her feet\ never actually left the ground. But she did indeed leap and did so without looking for fear of freaking out. We all have those things that just get to us, the ones that we can’t help but attempt to avoid at all costs. This was one for her. She had stayed up all night contemplating the options that lay ahead of her. Should she stick this out, see what it could really become or should she just call it quits and get the heck out of dodge?

   Love was not something Remy understood before she met Miles, and to be honest, it’s still not something she understands even after realizing she just may love him. She had always been on the outside of what was normal; no real family, no education beyond high school and no worthy relationships. Her life had been a series of events that led her to circumstances beyond her control. She worked, and at work she minded her own business. Then she went home…alone. Well technically she wasn’t completely alone because she counted Mr. sniffles, her light brown and white haired cat. She and Mr. sniffles were doing just fine on their own until one day Miles walked into the coffee shop and ordered a tall caramel mocha and double chocolate chunk cookie from her. He’d made some lame joke that surprisingly made Remy laugh without even meaning to. He had told her she had a beautiful smile and promised to come back to see it again. He hadn’t lied. In fact, he came by every day for two weeks just to speak with her for reasons she still cannot comprehend. Eventually, she gave in to his requests and joined him for dinner. Since that night they’d been inseparable.

   Love is not something Remy can explain. It took a lot more than two weeks of coffees to bring her to this ledge, her and Miles spent nearly a year learning one another as friends and testing her limits. He told her he loved her early on, but said that he’d wait for her to be ready to accept that from him. He honored his word, never pushing or pressuring her. It just hit her that she couldn’t imagine her life without him in it. So tonight, she stands before him, eyes filled with fright and awe, and she just does it. She jumps. It is every bit as scary as she thought it would be but loving someone outweighs that fear. And being loved outweighs everything else.

Abandon, a love story

So this story is from a Free Write Friday prompt that the wonderful Kellie Elmore gave back in October of last year. Yeah, I’m super late! I realized I hadn’t posted it for whatever reason but decided I’d go ahead and share this with you.

The red numbers on the clock burned the time into Shelly’s retinas; 3:38 a.m. She slowly turned over to check if he was asleep yet. Braden always stayed up late working on new designs for the architecture firm he and his best friend ran together. He was knocked out, iPad at his side and glasses on the night stand. Shell gave Braden one last  look before quietly slipping out of bed. Everything she was taking with her was packed up in the trunk of her car already. She’d made sure to get it all done before Braden got home from the office earlier that evening. On her way out Shell pulled an envelope from her purse and perched it up beside Braden’s keys on the hall table. With that done she slinked out the house locking the door behind and placing the key she’d no longer need in the mailbox.

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It had been four days since she’d left Braden and the life they’d built together over the past year and a half. Her voice mail was filled with messages from ‘home’ and a countless number of text messages gone ignored. Braden wasn’t like the rest, he just wouldn’t give up it seemed. It both moved and annoyed Shell who had been in constant motion her whole life. Her mother had taught her from a young age that there is too much of the world to see to settle down in any one place. And that there was no such thing as love. Or more specifically that there was no such thing as a man who wouldn’t leave you in the end. So Carly taught her young girl early on to do the leaving first. Her mothers rules were quite simple:

1. Never say I love you
Shell had broken commandment one 6 months into the ‘mere fling’ she and Braden were having. She’d met him at the firm she was working for as a temp. They’d been out at a music festival all day having a great time. There was wine, lots of wine consumed leading to the moment, but when she wasn’t lying to herself She knew that the wine had no influence on her words other than giving courage. They were sitting on the couch in what was then only Braden’s house, arguing in playful banter over which artist they’d heard that day was best. He was really making a case for an amazing jazz violinist when the words just came out of her mouth. She had felt them bubbling up inside her for weeks but was always so careful not to speak them. But now, it was too late to pretend she hadn’t just blurted out the three words she had never allowed herself to utter to a man before. Needless to say she was horror-stricken. Braden stopped mid-sentence and just stared at her, mouth agape and unbelieving. Shell had made it very clear to him early on that she was not the type of girl to fall and that he shouldn’t expect anything serious. And so he hadn’t.

Shell let out a tiny, nervous laugh and took a big gulp of her wine. Braden finally closed his mouth before tilting his head to the side and speaking. “Shelly, I’m sure you probably didn’t mean to let that slip, but I have to know…is it true?” He asked with all his expectations dancing in his eyes, Shell couldn’t lie now. She cleared her throat, took a deep breath and responded in a rush, “It’s true. But I shouldn’t have said it, I think I’ve had too much wine or something. Is it hot in here to you too?” She fanned herself quickly with latest issue of Design Weekly that was on the coffee table. Braden was giddy from the wine and from the affirmation. Removing the magazine from her grasp he took her hands in between his own, his face close to hers. Shell’s heart was beating fast and her lungs were not quite up to speed with the air that was coming in and out rapidly. He smiled, “Shell, I love you too. And I know that you don’t “do” love but obviously you can. So please, don’t get scared and run because I think you know that it would break both of our hearts.” Shelly slowly shook her head which was swimming before responding in barely a whisper, “I don’t want to break your heart Braden, that’s the last thing I’d want to do. But I am scared of this. I can’t just turn it off.” Braden smiled broadly, “That’s what love is, it’s scary because you can’t control it. But it’s a good scary I promise.” It was too late to turn back now and the more they sat in this moment the more Shelly knew she didn’t want to. She was in love for the first time, and as afraid as she was, she was equally excited and eager. She’d made the decision that night to find out for herself first hand what love was. That was when all her mothers rules went out the window for the first time in her 26 years.

2. Always stay independent from men

The couple had just returned to Braden’s house from a company dinner party. There had been many connections made and Braden was positive that a deal which had been in the works for months was finally about to be closed. It was a good night. He turned on the stereo to Shelly’s favorite Jazz station and pulled her out to the balcony to dance with him. They swayed slowly, Shell’s head resting on his shoulder, his arms tight around her back. They were happy, it had been a little over six months since that night in his living room that she had blurted out that she loved him. They had taken things slow, Braden didn’t want to frighten her away but tonight he had something he needed to ask her and Shell could feel it coming. As the song ended he tilted her chin up and kissed her slowly. When he pulled away he spoke softly, “Move in with me babe.” It wasn’t a question but he waited for her to answer. Her mother’s voice was yelling at her in her head, ‘never give a man the satisfaction of thinking you need him to provide for you. You work so he doesn’t own you, drive your own car, own your own home so he can’t control you.’ But Braden wasn’t the type of man to control, in fact he was nothing like the men Shelly’s mother had told her about all those years growing up. And he certainly wasn’t like any of those other jerks she’d dated in the past. A huge smile broke through Shell’s face, “Yes, of course!” she exclaimed as she leaned into him. She and Braden spent the rest of the evening celebrating the next big step in their relationship in bed. Shelly had finally understood why some people preferred to call it making love, and she was too happy about that to be afraid of breaking any rules.

3. Run. Fast and far BEFORE he does.

 “Can I make you some coffee hun?” Shelly offered as Braden sat at the kitchen table with huge stacks of paper before him, his back to her. “No thanks.” he responded absently. It had been nearly eight months since Shelly had accepted Braden’s proposal to move in with him. She had heard horror stories from her mother about what living with a man could do to a relationship but there had been none of the terrors so far. Lately Braden had been a bit stressed out at work due to a rapidly failing merger the company was looking forward to, but he never took any of that out on Shelly. She had noticed that it was a bit harder to get his attention though. That’s why she’d made it her duty to make things at home as comfortable for Braden as she could. She made sure she cooked him decent dinners, packed him healthy lunches with cute little love notes attached, kept the house cleaned and wore only the sexiest underwear Victoria’s Secret carried. She didn’t dare tell her mother that she had somehow become domestic. It seemed though, that unless she became one of those slips of papers in Braden’s ever growing files she’d never catch his eye again. It was a very off-putting feeling to have a man not toss everything to the side to be with her, and she didn’t like it.

Shelly wanted to have her Braden back. The man who swept her off her feet, the man who simply had to look at her to turn her on. The man who spent more time throwing his head back in laughter than he spent on his laptop and cell phone on business. She untied her robe and let it fall open as she turned away from the counter and toward the table. Beneath it was a skimpy purple and black lingerie set she’d picked up last week. Purple was one of Bradens favorite colors on her and she was hoping it would catch his eye. Shelly leaned over him and began to slowly massage his shoulders while gently kissing his neck. Braden only shook her off, “What are you doing Shell? I have work to do I don’t have time for this.” He sighed and stood abruptly grabbing all his papers in a rush. Shelly was taken aback, “I just thought…I thought you could use a break from all this work. It’s stressing you out babe.” She quickly closed her robe and held her arms tight around her waist, suddenly feeling extremely naked. “Look, honey I know that I’ve been busy a lot lately but this merger is important. This is our future I’m working for!” Braden had gathered all his files and laptop and had turned to leave when he noticed the expression on Shelly’s face. She didn’t look hurt or sad as he’d thought she would given his haste. Instead she looked angry. This was a look that he had managed to avoid for nearly eight months of cohabitation. “I’m sorry.” he sighed as he placed his work back on the table and stepped closer to her. It was too late though, Shelly had already shut down.  “Don’t worry about it.” her voice was ice as she pushed past him and headed to their bedroom. She couldn’t understand why people would sacrifice so much of the present for the future. Who knew what tomorrow would bring? It upset her that Braden assumed she’d want to give away the time they have now for the time they may or may not have later. Especially since she didn’t know that she could promise Braden the future he wanted. Sure she was happy breaking her mother’s rules now but a part of her still believed there was truth in every word her mother had uttered.

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Shelly’s phone rang again. She looked at the screen, surprised to see her mother’s photo instead of the picture of her and Braden cheek to cheek with the ocean in the background that she’d grown accustomed to seeing each time it lit up. “Hello mother.” she answered with a lack of enthusiasm. “Shelly, where are you?” Her mother’s voice was thick with irritation which was the normal tone reserved for Shell whenever she’d fail to call her weekly. “I’m great mom, thanks for asking. How are you?” Shelly’s voice dripped with sarcasm that she immediately regretted. She had been in such a bad mood since she’d left home. “Don’t take that tone with me Shell. Now where are you? Do you know Braden has called me and shown up to my house on several different occasions looking for you?” Shell groaned, her mother was adamant about not meeting any of her boyfriends so she could only imagine how those encounters went. “I’m sorry mom, I didn’t think he’d bother you.” “Yeah, well he has. Shelly what’s going on?” Shell had managed to leave a lot of her life out of the conversations she had with her mother weekly, mainly the parts about how serious she and Braden had become. Her mother knew the names of her boyfriends but never much more than that. “Mom just don’t worry about it. If he calls back just give him one of your famous speeches you give to get rid of guys okay?” Her mother huffed on the other end of the phone, “Wow, Shell thanks. I’m not telling the man anything, you need to talk to him. He said you left in the middle of the night only leaving a letter. That’s one of my moves.” “Yeah well, I thought you’d be proud mom.” Shell was indignant about the way her mother sounded disappointed with her. “Okay, I deserve that I guess, I think that you may have gotten too much of my pessimistic views on relationships.” Shell sat quietly on her end of the phone turning over her mothers words in her head before speaking, “Yeah well you only drilled it into my head that men aren’t capable of staying or loving so…”  After a moment her mother’s voice was in her ear again. “I think I was wrong Shelly.” Sighing her mother went on to tell say that her rules on love were (and these are her words exactly) “complete and utter bullshit”. She told her daughter that she had made a mistake by turning her against love, she had only been jaded by her own past and hoped her child would not have to endure her pains. She had spent the past couple of days getting to know Braden since he called and eventually showed up on her doorstep. He had shown so much love and adoration for her daughter that she could not deny it was really love.

“Shell, you can’t run away from this if you love him.” She paused a second before asking, “Do you love him?” This was new territory for the two; discussing Shell’s relationship. It was weird, especially because she felt as though she’d usually be reprimanded for the answer she was about to give. Her voice was quiet, barely above a whisper as she replied, “I do.” Her mother didn’t miss a beat with her request, “Then go home Shell.” After she hung up with her mother Shelly sat for a while just trying to wrap her head around the fact that her mom had actually admitted to being wrong and that before she said goodbye, she told Shell she thought Braden was a great man. Her mother rarely regarded men in a positive sense, which in a way was understandable if you knew the history that Carly had with the men in her life. It was nice to see that Braden could change not one but the both of their minds on love. Gathering her courage, Shelly decided to finally go back to the man that broke through all the barriers her mother had built which she eventually reinforced. She knew it would not be easy but seeing that Braden was willing to brave her mother even after she’d warned him of the woman’s bite. He was showing her that he was going to stay, and she believed him.

An hour later she reached her hand into the mailbox and wrapped her fingers around the key she had hoped would still be there.

Free Write Friday!

The prompt wordbank: cocoa, foiliage, wicker, Amber, sweater, aroma

The attempt:

I am sipping warm cocoa on the white swing that hangs from chains on the wrap around porch. Yes, it is the country, with a lake for a view and bugs for days that freaked me out at first but eventually became the norm. You know, I am a city girl at heart but we have made this wooded land our home.
Look there, do you see it? Just beyond the gravelled drive, past the battered mailbox you were supposed to fix three months ago, it’s the tree we nicknamed Boss for its overbearing size and the way it seemed to command the whole of the land. Watch with me love, the way the golden leaves float down to rest upon a bed of drying foliage at its base. Feel the way the wind tickles them and hear the way they rustle about in response. How many times have we sat here, how many years have we we let the aroma of the damp lake mixed with the sweet scent of what’s left at the bottom of our cups wash over us? Not enough yet. I pull the Amber hued sweater, the one you gave me as a just-because gift many falls ago, tighter around me as the wind starts to chill going into the night hours. I place my emptied mug onto the faded wicker table beside me and in exchange lift up the worn leather notebook we’ve shared for years, with both our handwriting consuming its space. I flip to the last page you filled and let your words warm me the way your touch, smile and laughter had. Your poetry falls from my lips and as I speak it the wind goes still, the lake becomes silent, the leaves settle in. That’s how I know you are here with me. I pick up my pen and write you one last poem in our book, my best one yet, and I know you are feeling every word of it.

hope you guys enjoyed my story. It started as a poem and ended as this. Many thanks to Kellie Elmore for the great prompt. See you guys again next free write Friday!

“The next morning” A short story!

“The next morning”
When I woke up the next morning my mouth was dry, tongue sticking to roof. My eyes felt violated by the stabbing harshness of the sunlight pouring through the window. However, the most noticeable feeling was the way my stomach kept dropping as if I lay on a roller-coaster instead of a bed and I was quickly approaching the first big dip. Groaning, I turned my head to shield myself from the piercing light. I willed my body to cooperate instead of turning against me as waves of nausea washed over it while I stared blankly ahead. I didn’t care to check the time on the clock by the window nor to attempt to get out of bed to quiet my screaming bladder. I simply lay there willing the night before away. It was no use though, the whole entirety of the nights events played before me over and over again.

We were fighting again, Jace and I. Fighting about how he’d quit his job at the small diner we both worked at. His voice was strained as he’d yelled at me, “Emma, will you just let it go already?” he’d implored. “I quit, that’s it, there’s nothing more to discuss, we both know it’s a dead end job!” Gripping the steering wheel tightly I replied through gritted teeth, “The point, Jace, is that it was still a job, dead end or not. Who  cares if it leads to nowhere if in the mean time we can pay our bills on time and continue to afford our home.” Sighing loudly, Jace turned towards me, “Ems, look I get it, you’re worried about our future but I promise we’re going to be okay. I’ve already lined up gigs for the band babe.” I scoffed at that. The so called “band” consisted of Jace and three of his lazy ass stoner friends from our high school days. Sure, they could play, they were really good actually. But the only person who bothered to show up to practice or attempted to get them shows consistently was Jace. I’d lost faith a while ago that they’d make it as a band, Jace could go solo but he was too loyal for our own good. “Honey,” I said as calmly as I could while simultaneously switching lanes, “You can’t rely on the band. There’s no way you’re going to make even a half of what you make at the diner monthly. I just wish you would have talked to me about quitting first.” Jace sighed his frustrations at me once again. “Geez mom, I’m sorry I didn’t ask your permission!” Rolling my eyes at his sarcasm I started to retort but was interrupted when I suddenly flew forward from the impact of a truck slamming into us. The car made the most sickening crunch as the frame began to cave. The tires let out a high pitched wail as they struggled to grip the road. We spun and spun for what felt like ages until we finally crashed into a guard rail. I remember jolting awake seconds, maybe minutes after the impact. I looked over at Jace, his face bloodied, body slumped over towards the remnants of the door.

I must have passed out because next I was inside an ambulance. Voices were telling me to calm down, to lie still. A needle pricked me and then I woke up here in a hospital room. It was noisy with beeping and cold the way hospital rooms are supposed to be in the middle of the night I guess. When the nurse walked in she seemed surprised to see me awake. “Well, hello there darlin’.”, she’d had a deep southern drawl and a kind smile. “Hi.” was all I could choke out before she handed me a cup of ice chips. My throat was raw, taking away from the pain that was coursing through the rest of my body. “Your throat will be sore for a while love, you were screaming and carrying on somethin’ awful before the doctor sedated you.” Confused, I swallowed the melting ice chip and let the chill soothe my throat before attempting to speak. “What happened?” was all I could croak out. A look of concern had flashed across her face as she looked over at me from tinkering with a machine at my bedside. “Well darlin, you don’t remember?” she inquired softly. I shook my head and immediately regretted the motion. She moved closer to me, placing her warm hand on mine before speaking again. “Honey, you were in an accident. You are going to be just fine though, nothing another night or two here can’t fix.” She squinted her eyes and paused a moment before continuing as if contemplating whether she should keep going or not. After a few moments of thinking it over she continued, “But…your fiancé, well…he didn’t make it darlin”. That’s when I remembered.

Now, I squeeze my eyes shut trying to remove all of the previous nights events from existence. Outside the window a bird is singing as if the sun is cause for celebration. My body aches all over, something the kind nurse whose name I learned was Maggie, warned me would happen. I reached over and hit the button that would bring in Nate, Maggie’s a.m. relief. He promised to keep me good and medicated while I dealt with my pain. When he said that I wondered which pain he meant, I hoped it would soothe them all. While I waited for the medicine to come I allowed myself to think of him once more. It seems frivolous now, being upset over him quitting that stupid job. Just as a sob begins to snake it’s way from the hollow space within me Nurse Nate walks through the door. “Emma, it’s going to be okay.” he coos as he injects me and I begin to slip off. This time when I see Jace’s face it doesn’t hurt.

Hi there! Thanks for stopping by to read my short story! It’s random I know but I saw a prompt posted on twitter and this was the result. Thanks to @writerlytweets for giving a prompt starting with “when I woke up the next morning…” it was supposed to be a ten minute challenge but I took a little bit of extra time since I decided to write this story. Make sure you guys follow them, they have good content! See you next time! 

Free Write Friday!

image

The prompt: The year: 2063
The place: An underground bunker
What’s going on?

The attempt:
What the reversers did

It’s been nearly thirty years since opposite sex marriage was outlawed in America, or as we call it now, the Un-United. These days you marry a man if you’re a man or you marry a woman if you’re a woman, no other marriages are acceptable, those are the rules. Decades ago, a rebel group called the reversers made it their mission to undo a lot of what the major policies of America were. For a while men were not allowed to vote. White people were forced into slavery for few years in one southern state. And all the borders were shut down, so no one could enter nor exit without threats of execution. The whole traditional government was overthrown just to prove a point.

My husband Lucas and I were newlyweds at the time the reversers were becoming well known. At first it began as small protests that were peaceful and preached equality and freedom amongst all groups and individuals. However, like flames on fuel it began spreading and becoming something much bigger. All across the country people bought into the reversers stance on equality. Eventually their leader was elected as president. Many of the most important people, lawmakers and such, were reversers. It was great for the first term, then all went to hell in one election that really could have went either way. Everything that had been done positively in the years before was overturned when a new reverser rebel came into office. He changed the way we were all living to show those who were initially against across the board equality just how life with certain restrictions could be stifling. To drive his point he punished everyone not just those who expressed disdain with freedom for all.

Here we are thirty years later still being taught those lessons in the harshest manner. At first Lucas and I managed to remain together after our forced divorce by traveling from state to state claiming to be siblings just so we could rent living quarters during the first part of our lives together. There was a lot of underground stuff going on, new identities and such but that’s a different chapter. Eventually it became tolerable for opposite sex relationships to exist. We were not allowed anything more than civil unions. Today, the country is still in shambles. We heard that there is a new rebel group out to right the reversers wrongs, but we don’t care to buy into any other potential false prophesies. We moved underground about five years back. There’s a huge community that resides in bunkers beneath the city. Here in this space we are all free to live how we choose. Lucas and I are happily married, same sex AND opposite sex marriage are welcomed and acknowledged here. There is equality amongst all who make this sanctuary their home. We only hope one day the rest of the country and eventually the world will adopt our views. Until then, we do what we must to live and love the way we so please.

Make sure you check out Kellie Elmore’s site for more awesome prompts and poems!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter for the latest updates! @talichaj

New Story! #FWF “The Hourglass”

The prompt:
Today you have been granted the opportunity to go anywhere, do anything, meet anyone, travel in time…whatever you wish, it is yours. Now, there’s a catch. (Isn’t there always?) When you wake up tomorrow… you will not remember any of it.

The attempt:

hg

I shouldn’t be here. I should just get back on the elevator, head down to the ground floor and march right out the door. Then I need to climb into my double parked rover, jab it into reverse and high tail it out of this place because this is just crazy. But I can’t. The slip of paper in my hands won’t let me flee despite the potential risk of commitment if anyone in my family knew where I was. One last time I unfold the worn paper, soft from the hundreds of times I’ve thumbed it since it came by mail last week. I CAN GIVE YOU ONE MORE DAY WITH HER. COME ALONE TO THE ADDRESS ON THE ENVELOP ONE WEEK FROM TODAY AT EXACTLY 12:00 THE DOOR WILL BE UNLOCKED. YOU WILL HAVE 24 HOURS AND NOT A MOMENT MORE. -X. The bold letters scream out for me to continue on. I take a slow breath, pulling in the air deep into my lungs hoping to steady myself before I turn the glass knob on the large wooden door.

The building is extreamly old and huge, everything seems over sized; the windows go from vaulted ceiling to mosaic tiled floor and the arm chairs in the corners are overstuffed. In contrast, when I swing open the door the room I enter is small. Really small. It’s reminiscent of a motel room she and I spent half a night in two years ago. We were passing through a small town on our way home for spring break right outside of Virginia when the car broke down. We’d tried to camp out until morning but it was December and after a few hours of cuddling in the back seat we folded and called for a cab into town. Now, my eyes fall on the giant hour glass sitting in the middle of the room. I take a tentative step towards it when the door flies shut behind me. I jump at the way it echos in the space, I can practically feel the floor shake beneath me. “Ah you there, don’t be frightened.” A voice commands my attention and I whip my head to find its source off to the side. Was he here before? The man is old, like ancient old, with cotton white hair and wrinkles for decades. He is hunched over a cane as he hobbles towards me.
“I said, don’t be frightened boy. You’ve nothing to worry about here eh?” I swallow and speak, “Who are you? Are you the one who sent me this?” I hold out the paper for him to see but he disregards it. Instead he steps up to the bare wooden table beside the hour glass and runs his hands along the underside until he unlatches a small compartment from which he produces another slip of paper. “Boy, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Don’t screw it up.” I shake my head to show my confusion. “I don’t understand.” The old guy sighs as he turns his piercing black eyes up to meet mine. “You are not meant to understand this. Now, there are two rules that you must not break unless you wish to suffer greatly.” He motions for me to come closer, of course I hesitate but then her smile flashes before my eyes and all fear dissipates. “First, you must not touch the hourglass. Tampering with it will not buy you more time it will only shorten it..” he pauses to make sure that I am listening so I nod my agreement and he continues. “The second rule is that you must agree to forfeit all rights to the memories of the next 24 hours.” I draw in a sharp breath preparing for protest. But he lifts his hand to stop me and states, “Those are the rules. You either agree to them and spend the next 24 hours with your wife as if it were any normal day before the accident or you go home and live with regret in your heart for not taking this chance. Your choice.” He lays the page on the table and places a pen beside it as he steps back for me to sign. “She’ll be normal?” I ask. He smiles and nods. So I pick up the pen and sign.

When I am done with initialing here and dating there he grabs the agreement and places it in his pocket. “Okay, once I flip this over your time begins. When the last grain of time has fallen you will be brought back to your current reality. You will not have recollection of the previous days events nor will you remember meeting me. Understood?” “Yes. I understand.” He gives me one last smile before placing his hand on the top of the hourglass. “Good boy. Get that would you?” he says as he pulls down on the large glass, making it flip over on an axis. Before I can ask him what I need to get there is a knock on the door. My heart flutters and when I look to him for confirmation he is gone.

Wasting no time I dash to the door and fling it open. Tears spring to my eyes as I take in the sight of her. Just as beautiful as the last time I saw her before the accident. I’m rooted in this moment unable to do anything but love her. She steps forward narrowing the gap between us as she smiles through her own tears. “Is this real?” she wispers as her hand brushes my cheek. I lean into the warmth of her palm, such a familiar gesture that fills me with joy. “That or the most vivid dream I’ve ever had.” I breathe. Her brown eyes dance as she reaches up on her tiptoes and places her lips on mine.

We spend the next hour kissing and simultaneously pinching one another through laughs to make sure these moments are not hallucinations. “I’ve missed you.” she says against my chest as we lay on the small bed in the corner of the room. My fingers are weaving their way through her long dark hair the way she likes it. I sigh, trying to ignore the lump that has been sporadically reminding me that my time is running out. “I miss you too Lex.” I pause only a moment before deciding to get some answers. “So, do you remember what happened?” I feel her nodding her head against me as she replies. “Yeah, I remember getting slammed into by a semi while I was waiting for the light to change, and spinning. It felt like I was spinning forever.” She takes a shaky breath as she goes on. “Then I hit something, a tree? Or a pole maybe? That’s when the airbag deployed.” I don’t want to ask the next question but I have to know so I spit it out, “Did it hurt?” She props herself up on an elbow to look me in the eyes and says gently, “only for a little while.” Damn, I was hoping she’d say it was painless or at least that she’d forgotten by now.

“Okay,” she exclaims suddenly as she hops up onto her feet towering above me on the bed. “We’re on a time crunch Mr. Thomas, let’s skip the waterworks for now and have some fun! I want to only have good memories of this day and the look on your face is far from happy.” She starts jumping up and down around me and I can’t help but smile at the sight, she always had a childish streak in her. But what she just said… “Wait, your’re going to remember this? How? I thought the deal was 24 hours and then no memory would remain.” She stops jumping and plops down beside me again. “That’s your deal. My deal is different.” I watch as she bites down on her bottom lip, a telltale sign that she doesn’t want to tell me something. I ignore the feeling of dread coming over me and demand details, “What is your deal exactly?” Rolling her eyes she pleads, “Tyler, can we just be here in this moment okay? I don’t want to talk about this.” “Wow,” I huff, “must be pretty bad. I mean, if you can’t tell me then…” I trail off as different scenarios play a out in my mind. “Ugh, fine,” she mutters, “I know what you’re doing in there.” She pats my head. “You’re probably working out that I’m going to hell or something in exchange for today aren’t you?” I shoot her a glare and she bursts into laughter. “Well are you?” I practically shout. It takes a minute for her to catch her breath and cease the laughter except for a giggle or two between her words. “No! Babe, it’s not like that.” I look away and she finally gets serious, “okay. This is my deal…”

She went on to tell me that in order for us to be here now she had to make a choice. She could either spend her whole afterlife with all of her normal memories intact. Me, her friends, her family all of it would be there forever. Or she could spend twenty four hours on earth with me and lose all of that. The only thing she would remember is today. “Why would you make that deal Alexis? Your whole life, everything just gone!” She watches me pace the small room while I rant. “For what, for me? That’s insane!” She lets out a small chuckle as she mumbles “what can I say, I’m crazy about you Tyler.” I want to yell at her more but I realize it won’t matter, the deed is done. So I let it go because this is all the time we have left and I don’t want the only past she will know to be filled with my anger. I smile, “I love you even though you’re crazy you know that right?” I walk over to her and cup her face between my hands, her cheeks push against my palms as she breaks into a grin. “I know. Thank you. You don’t have to love me but you do. I know you stayed by my side every night I was in the hospital. I heard you, reading and singing my favorite songs. I felt you holding my hand even when I couldn’t squeeze back.” She takes a deep breath before continuing, “there was no way I could pass up the chance to see you again, to thank you and hug and kiss you one last time. No way! So is it a huge sacrifice that I made? Yeah but I’d do it again with no hesitation.”

The hourglass kept allowing our hours to turn into minutes, and our minutes into seconds. We filled them with stories of our life together and her childhood. I made sure to give full details of the way everyone looked so she could picture the faces when she remembered the stories. We laughed more, cried more. She told me that she hoped I’d find someone else to love, said that I had too much heart not to share it with another. I told her I’d think about it some day. We made love as the moments dwindled. After, I held her, breathing in her scent and basking in the warmth of her body. We quietly watched the last grains of sand fall through the glass. “I love you Mr. Thomas.” She whispered into my ear, “I’ll love you for an eternity.” I smiled, fighting back the tears and replied, “I love you more Mrs. Thomas.” We held tightly as the last piece fell through.

Free Write Friday

Once upon a time there was a young woman plagued by student loan and other miscellaneous financial debts.
Every day her phone would ring and ring…and ring, her voice mail box would be filled with nothing but strange voices demanding she dial some 1-800 number or else.
One day she actually answered one of the calls from the billion agents desperate to talk to her.
Because of that she was able to discuss her options, update her personal information and convince them that she’d send in a money order to them as soon as possible. Of course the last part was a lie.
Because of that lie her phone rang slightly less than usual as one hound had been thrown off her scent momentarily. Seeing the impact this untruth had, the young woman decided to answer the other collectors calls, giving them all the same lie story. Eventually her phone never rang, she had brought herself some time! She began to relax and not be so paranoid about listening to her messages.
Until finally, the inevitable occurred…the phone rang, with an unfamiliar number that she’d let go to voice mail. Her old pals were back at it again, hip to her game they picked back up with their relentless game of phone tag. The young girl is still looking for her prince to magically erase her debts…

Free Write Friday!

It’s that time of week again! Free Write Friday! This week Kellie gives us the following image, and asks us to tell the story. Hope you guys enjoy my attempt!

The prompt:

The attempt:

Everyone always wants to know the story behind this painting. They always want to know my inspiration, because after all there must be some connection between artist and the art no? I guess I could tell you though, since you asked politely that is.

When I was younger my dad used to pull me up into his lap for story time before bed every night. I couldn’t have been more than six years old when he’d told me the story that first brought this world painted here to life. He said “Son, close your eyes, and get ready for the adventure.” Looking back on it now the story was mediocre at best, but back then I wouldn’t have doubted it’s debut at #1 for a second. Anyways, so the story was about a young girl, I believe her name was pip, yeah that’s right Pip. Pip lived in a different time than I did, back in a time where humans didn’t have the rights to land they do now. In Pips world you had to fight for your place and if you didn’t fight smart you didn’t have a home. Dad always said I was a lot like Pip because she was tough and didn’t take crap from anyone, I thought he was insane for comparing me to a girl…ew.  One night Pip was walking through the wooded area not far from where she’d last settled, it was dark out but she had a small glass jar filled with fireflies to light the way. She’d been out searching for food but had come up rather empty handed and her empty belly did not appreciate it. Tired and hungry, young Pip began to daydream with each step she took, back to a time when she didn’t have to hunt alone or spend her days silent from lack of ears to listen. Lost inside her memories she had not noticed that she’d wandered into a clearing until it was too late. She had come too far and now she wasn’t even sure which direction she’d come from. The fog that had earlier made it difficult to see was clearing and with the light from the moon she was able to make out her surroundings. It was a beautiful clearing, a small body of water lay just steps ahead of her. Pip could hear the wildlife around her stirring, unsettled by her presence and she was afraid to move. She wanted to wait until her eyes adjusted completely to make out what she was dealing with. The water began to ripple lightly and on the other side of it she could make out small creatures that humans called the hybrids. She knew she was in trouble because hybrids were very vicious. It was not known by humans what exactly the hybrids were, just that they had a lot of human characteristics with none of our table manners. High up on a large rock stood a tiger, he seemed to be very in control of this piece of land. From the looks of it, this had formerly been an area that housed animals because beside the large tiger was a broken cage. Pip was afraid, she wasn’t sure if she should run or not.

That moment is what this painting stems from. I won’t bore you with the details of what happens with the rest of Pip’s story, just know that even now, over twenty years after first hearing this tale, the image of it all is still vivid in my memory. Plus, it’s been so long I can’t actually remember how it ends. I don’t know that when my children are six that I’ll put them to sleep with tigers and hybrid life forms, but I do know that I’ll paint them vivid pictures the way my father did for me in hopes that when they’re my age they will remember those times. So there’s your answer, that is what inspired this painting, from the imagination of a six year old to the wall of this museum. Next question please.

So that was it for this weeks FWF. Hope you guys enjoyed the story, I don’t know that I put as much time into as I could BUT it is called free write and I wrote freely what came to mind and ended it when my mind said so. Make sure you check out the lovely Kellie Elmore’s blog for more awesomeness!

The Secret Place

Wow, I haven’t done a Free Write Friday in soooo long. I guess that’s to be expected since I have been in slack mode for the past few months eek! Well here I am, probably about to butcher Kellie’s prompt for the week but never-the-less I’m gonna attempt. Make sure you check out the lovely Kellie Elmore’s website. She released an amazing book of poetry this year and she’s kinda high up on my list of people I admire!

The prompt:

The attempt:

She hesitated. Unsure of what James had planned for them. They’d only been dating for a few months. She did really like him, he was pretty handsome, really sweet and seemed to adore her. Charlie took a deep breath and steadied herself against the cool bark of the tree. Still…unsuspecting people sometimes have dead bodies hiding in their basements she thought.
“James, this is a tree.” She tried to keep her tone light and as far away from sounding as if she was accusing him of losing his mind as possible. James just smiled and took hold of her hand, gently pulling her toward the opening.
“Come on Charlie, trust me, it’s not what you think it’ll be.” Charlie had heard the phrase ‘trust me’ from way too many guys in the past, she wasn’t sure now was the right time to start believing in it.
It was a pretty huge tree though, unlike any she had ever seen before. It was wide and the trunk was thick. The branches were long and held tightly to big green leaves and brilliantly bright pink petals. It was breathtaking. But they were still in the woods, alone…and he wanted her to crawl inside a hole in a tree. Charlie had to laugh to herself about the irony of her dilemma just hours earlier about what to wear on this date. She’d started off simple; skinny jeans, cute red top, black leather jacket and flats. What she wound up getting talked into by her roommate was a strapless blue and white sundress, and heels…not exactly wood attire at its best.
“What’s in there exactly?” She asked.
“A surprise. Don’t worry it’s completely safe. Look, I’ll even go in first.” James bent down and disappeared into the nook. A moment later his hand popped out of the hole, “Come on babe, I promise you’re gonna love it!”
Charlie sighed again, taking a look around as if she was going to find some stranger staring at her, witnessing the crazy she was about to commit. She grabbed onto James’ hand and let him lead her inside.

Charlie initially closed her eyes, afraid that she’d catch sight of a spider, snake or murder weapon on her way in. When she opened them she was relieved to see none of the latter. In fact, what she saw was pretty amazing. There were lanterns set up all around the inside of the tree that cast off a soft light. It was bright enough inside that she could see everything clearly, from the look of satisfaction on James’ face to the faces of every couple in the pictures on the walls. The room was huge with plenty of standing room and smelled like fresh flowers. There was a large bench in one corner with a plushy blue cushion. Behind it the wall was filled with graffiti art in bright colors that Charlie recognized as the background of every picture on the wall.
“So what do you think about this place Char?” James had stepped aside earlier to allow Charlie to take in her surroundings. Now he was beside her, wrapping his arm around her waist.
“It’s beautiful.” She exclaimed. “How did you find this place, I’ve never heard of it before!”
“It’s not a place everyone gets to know about, it’s kind of like a myth, some people have heard about it but are never able to find it so they think it doesn’t really exist. Those who have found it don’t tell others where it is to keep it special.”
“But how do YOU know about?” She asks as she slowly walks forward taking in the smiling faces in each of the photographs.
“My family owns this property, so I’ve kinda always known about it.” James takes a seat on the cushion as he watches Charlie taking it all in.
“So if you’ve always known about this place without discovering it don’t you think that kind of takes the special out of it for you?”
James thinks for a bit before answering, “I’ve always known this place was here but it wasn’t always this.” He stands and gestures for Charlie to come take a look at something with him.
“See this picture here? This is the picture that started it all.” He points to a picture unlike the others, in this picture there is just a girl. She is young, maybe 14 at the oldest and she’s holding a can of spray paint, smiling, almost laughing, at whoever is holding the camera.
“She’s pretty, do you know her?” Charlie looks up at James when he answers, “She’s my mom.”
James had only talked about his mother once, it was when they’d first started dating and were getting all the background information you give at that stage. Charlie learned that his mother was an artist, she’d given birth to two sons; one of whom Charlie greatly enjoyed making out with at this point in the relationship, and that she had died when James was just a boy. James reached out to touch the photo before he began speaking again,
“My dad took this picture of her. They grew up together. My dad’s family worked for my mom’s family, and so they stayed on the property in a guest house. They discovered this place when they were kids and kind of made it into their own secret place. No one else knew about it.”
Charlie was curious about James’ mother but she also didn’t like the way he frowned while talking about her. She attempted to turn the conversation lighter,
“Wow, so how did this become a place for couples?”
A hint of a smile tugs at his face as he replies, ” So a few years back my brother brought his girlfriend out here and told her that he loved her, took a picture and put it on the wall next to my moms.” He points to the photo of his older brother Brian and his wife Tracey.
“They left the polaroid camera out here by accident. A lot of people often camp out in the woods around here, I guess one by one couples came across this place and began taking pictures and placing them on the wall too. I came out here on my mom’s birthday one year and noticed all the pictures. So I started leaving film for the camera and more and more pictures showed up over the years. See, before my mom died, she had taken my brother and I out here and told us stories about how this was where she’d fell in love with my dad. She told us this place was special, that if we wanted the women we loved to love us back that we should bring them here, charm them with our wit that we got from her and our dashing looks which we get from our father and to take a picture and place it on the wall. She said this was her heaven and that if we came here and showed her how much we cared about the person we were with she’d know.” He smiled when he looked down at her, waiting.
It was silent for a moment as Charlie took in James’ story. When she speaks her voice is merely a breath, “You love me?”
James gently tilts her chin up to look her in the eyes, “Not at first sight,” he jokes. She gives him a dismissive eye roll and says with a smile, “You aren’t doing your mothers wit any justice.”
“No, I suppose not. But yes, I do you love you Charlie.” He leans in, kissing her gently and when he pulls away Charlie is overwhelmed by his affection. Grinning, Charlie pulls James over to the bench, picking up the camera from it’s tiny shelf on the wall.
“I think it’s time for us to take that picture.”
Sitting close together Charlie counts to three before taking the photo. When it comes out she stares at it for a long while before speaking.
“You see that right there?” She says, pointing at her face in the photo. “What?” James asks. “That look. I think that’s love.” He pulls her close and for a while they sit there together.

After a while out of the blue Charlie begins laughing, the kind of laugh that brings tears to your eyes. “What’s so funny? James inquires, laughing with her. She catches her breath, “Well, it’s kind of crazy but,it’s just that before we came inside it actually crossed my mind that you brought me all the way out here to murder me.” She starts laughing again, tears literally streaming down her face from the shear ludicrousness of her thoughts. James smirks before speaking, “What’s so crazy about that?”
Charlie’s laughter dies down…

That one time I was in jail… FWF 30/30 #24

It’s Free Write Friday time!!! Yeah yeah yeah, I know it’s Monday but hey, better late than never right? The prompt:
O.k., I know you have all heard that old saying, “…up shit creek without a paddle”, right? (Or maybe it’s just a southern thing, I don’t know.) Well, if you haven’t let me just break it down for ya. We have all been in a mess, a pickle, in a …tight spot, right? When times were hard and you couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, hence…up shit creek without a paddle. Often times we are able to look back on those situations and find humor, a lesson learned or just realize that it really wasn’t as bad as we thought…or maybe it was but you survived. Some great stories can almost always be found from these…ripples in life and for FWF, I’d like you to share them. Be poetic, be humorous, be inspirational…just don’t forget to be real, raw and most importantly, just write! You know what to do.

    My Story

Have you ever done something even though you knew you shouldn’t have? The consequences lit up like the Vegas strip but you ignored them, believing that the poo only hits the proverbial fan for everyone but yourself? Yeah, I’ve been there too. I’d like to take this opportunity to share with you one of my most epic life moments, and when I say epic I want you all to realize there is an implied FAIL attached to it. Let’s take a little road trip down memory lane to the year 2009 shall we? I was newly in my twenty-third year, on my own, working and attempting to do the whole college thing. I had my very first car which I’d brought from my best friend about a year before, and I really didn’t understand the whole point of keeping up with inspection and registration…so I didn’t. Jokingly friends would say that I was riding dirty but that never stopped any of them from riding along with me.

Well one fateful day club hyundai sonata and I (yes, my car was named club hyundai sonata, you read that right) headed to the local college campus to pick up a friend so we could go be healthy and take a jog. First off, I should mention that my aversion to jogging and most forms of working out could very well stem from the situation that is about to unfold before your eyes, just throwing that out there. Now, did I hate working out before the “incident” you ask? Why yes I did, but I just feel this is a better sounding reason than I just hate it. But I digress…So Club Hyundai Sonata and I pull into campus abiding by all the rules of the road because when you’re guilty you don’t want to give anyone a reason to take a second look. Going probably below the speed limit we turn into campus nearing the agreed upon meeting place when who do you think pops out of the bushes? Campus police!

Ugh, now if any of you reading this post happen to be campus po po please do not take this personally but I never think of campus police as real cops, for goodness sake they don’t even have guns! Needless to say being pulled over by this campus cop made me realize just how badly they want to disprove that non-real-cop theory. So he pulls me over, long story condensed, he claims there is some silly little thing called a warrant out for my arrest due to a missed court date I knew nothing about in regards to said unregistered vehicle. Get this, he cuffs me! Cuffs ME! and sticks me in the back of the cop car. Most uncomfortable ride ever! So he hauls me off to jail which is kinda scary only because I’d never been to the building before and we went in some back alley type of way where we wound up going into some underground warehouse looking building…creepy. For a moment I thought maybe I’d been kidnapped by some crazy parading around as a campus cop but once inside the I was comforted, though briefly, by the reassurance that I was indeed inside of the Charlotte Jail house. I got the whole nine, fingerprints, mugshot, placed in a holding cell. It was all quite the experience. At one point I was in a large lobby with other inmates waiting to be processed and they were all discussing the why’s of what brought them to said place. I have never NOT wanted to fit in with the majority as much as that day. They were all in for assault, battery, robbery and all kinds of other violent types of behavior and here you have lil ole me, trying to figure out how to make my lack of updated registration sound gangster enough to not be picked out as an easy target. After eight hours, one soggy bread with green bologna sandwich, and countless phone calls trying to reach a friend and I finally got released. Who did I call you ask? Well everyone who’s phone number I knew by heart. My best friend at the time was in a completely different state as was any family. So that left me with limited options committed to memory. I had two friends and an ex… yep after the two friends didn’t answer I swallowed the last bit of pride I had and gave him a call.

An hour later as I walked out of jail he was there with two of our friends, all chompin at the bit to get a joke in as they took me out to dinner to celebrate the epic-ness (implied fail) of my stupidity. I should probably also add that a year before my friend who I’d brought this car from had basically the exact same experience. Expired registration, pulled over by campus police, warrant for arrest and thrown in jail. I guess I should have learned from her mistake huh? I find quite a lot of humor in the whole situation, especially the irony. I leave you with this little nugget of advice…if you’re going to get arrested (which you should try to avoid but if you can’t…) try and do it before you’re twenty-five. Getting arrested when you’re still young is kind of expected but getting arrested mid 30’s is just loser-ish…

It’s one of those things you can bring up in conversation that can just wow the pants off people who least expect you to have done some time. And of course make sure its for something minor, it’s hard enough to get a job these days without adding a stigma to your background check. But all in all it’s an experience like none other, you will forever be able to grab attention if you start a sentence “that one time I was in jail…”

FWF: Dreamers

There are two types of people in the world…dreamers and, well…dreamers.
Yes, there is a difference.

People dream of becoming great, or one day living a completely different type of life all together.
They want to travel or learn a new hobby, become famous, change the world.
But not everyone masters the skill of  turning the brilliant motion picture playing inside their mind into reality.
Instead they believe that dreams only happen in real life to other people.
That’s where they mess up. That’s where we see the difference.

The people who do not stop fighting for what they want are the ones who make it in this world.
They are the ones you read about, study, wish to become. They were once the types of dreamers who simply dreamed and that wasn’t good enough to them.
So they went out there and they worked hard at being the person they had spent nights hoping to be in the day time.

What will it take for you? For me it, it was watching the people around me making the moves inside the worlds they belonged in. It was hearing about the choreographers who were inspiring other dancers by teaching. It was reading about the tours poet’s and musicians were going on and it was seeing how happy they were. Even when the hours were long, the promotions were tiresome and the flights nearly unbearable, they loved it.

I wanted that. I don’t quite have it all just yet, but I’m working really hard to get it. I say that to say this; it’s never too late to allow yourself to be happy, do what you love. Show dreamers everywhere how to be better at dreaming…

So that was my contribution to the Free Write Friday prompt by Kellie Elmore. I know it’s not a cool story or over the top awesome poem but it’s what came out. Hope you enjoyed! Until next time! 

FWF: The Last Letter

Another Free Write Friday writing prompt from Kellie Elmore’s blog Magic in the Backyard

You wake to find yourself in a strange house and you cannot remember your own name. You roll over and see a letter by the bed.
Is it for you? Who is it from? What does it say? Does it explain where you are and why?

The Last Letter

It’s early morning. I can tell by the way shadows of a tree’s leaves outside the window play across the white washed wall. Birds are chirping as if they are trying to stir me from the warmth of the bed. It takes a moment before I realize I don’t recognize the white  blanket sprawled across my legs. Or the pillow beneath my head. And more importantly…I don’t remember who I am.

I sit up, so quickly my head begins to spin and the only way to right the room is to close my eyes and breath deep. Everything up to this moment is a blur and I think I must have had a few drinks too many at whatever bar I had to have been at last night. I’m dressed in a white tank top, pale blue bottoms and my hair is a tousled mess atop my head, I can barely run my fingers through.

I swing my legs over the edge of the bed trying to remember where I am. The floor is cold beneath my bare feet and I immediately pull them back up onto the bed into the warmth. The room is really small, the only furniture it houses is the bed and a small table next to it. A mirror hangs on the wall to the left. On the right there are two doors, I assume one leads to a closet the other an exit. Whoever lives here definitely could use a woman’s touch to spruce up the place. On the table is lamp, very plain and dull and next to it an envelope. I pick it up, examining it, trying to decide if the contents are made for me or not.

What if it’s not for me? I don’t want to invade someone else’s privacy. Then again, it’s probably just a letter from whoever I clearly came home with last night. I bet they are telling me I can find some coffee on the counter and to lock the door on my way out. Hopefully it will at least tell me who the heck I am. It isn’t sealed so I just pull out the folded slip of paper.

I don’t know where to start. I don’t even know what to say to you right now. You betrayed me, lied and deceived so many people…but why? You know at first I didn’t want to believe that you were capable of something like this…

I stop reading and flip over the paper, it’s a little torn at the bottom right corner and the ink is a bit smudged. It isn’t signed. Great, now not only do I not know who this is really for, I also don’t know who it’s from.

For some reason I have a really uneasy feeling about this. But I keep reading.

I want you to know that although I thought I would always love you I can no longer stand to see you. You’ve made too big of a mess now and I can’t clean up after you this time.

Do you remember last time I saw you? I asked if you really did this and you said yes. Don’t you get it? You’ve admitted to it. You can’t take that back. I can never forget that. I had no choice but to do what I did. I don’t care if you never forgive me because I will NEVER forgive you. You are sick and now you will get the help you need. This is goodbye, I mean it this time E, we are not family anymore. You severed that when you murdered our child. This will be the last time you ever hear from me. And you’re lucky you even got this much. 

The letter ends just like that. I’m stunned but I hear footsteps in the hall and so I swiftly shove the paper back into it’s envelope. I don’t know who this E. person is but if they murdered a child I’m sure they won’t have any reservations about harming me. I hurry out of the bed and swing open the closet door, it’s empty. I quickly pull the door closed, keep a tight grip on the knob and hold my breath when I hear the other door open.

I hear a woman’s voice say “She’s doing it again.”  And then another voice say “Should we call him in then?” The second voice sounds much younger than the first. And both are strangely familiar. The older woman let’s out a sigh before saying, “No, we can handle her on our own, we’ll just have to put her down again.”

I begin to panic, what does she mean by ‘put her down’? Are they going to kill me like they killed that kid? Oh God, where am I? I can barely breathe and my tank top is sticking to my chest now because I’ve broken out into a sweat. I can hear a bit of movement just outside the closet door and faint whispering. Suddenly there is nothing, just silence.

I wait for what feels like a lifetime until I think they’ve gone. Slowly I turn the knob and peek out, the room appears to be empty so I step out letting out the breath I’ve been holding. I head towards the door until I realize there is no knob or anything to let me out, I turn to  the window, hoping that I’m on the first floor. Just as I reach for the curtain the door swings open, next thing I know, a hand clamps down on my shoulder flinging me back against the wall. Suddenly the room is filled with voices, people shouting and shuffling about. Before I can scream I feel the needle piercing my flesh.

“Relax, it’s just Nurse Anne and Nurse Denise, remember us?” The older lady, Anne, is grabbing me under my arms and Denise grabs my feet hoisting me up. In a soothing voice she says, “You have to stop doing this or you’re going to have to be restrained, that won’t sound so good in court dear.”

Before I completely fade out I feel the softness of the bed beneath me and the words “Time to sleep, Ellie” wash over me, and I remember everything.  


So that was my second short story attempt with the FWF prompts by Kellie. Make sure you check out her site for more great prompts and to read other people’s submissions! Let me know what you think!

Red, A short story

I am doing a prompt that I got from the awesome Magic in the backyard blog. It was for Free Write Friday…BUT me being me I didn’t actually take a look at the prompt until about twenty minutes ago…and this is sunday. This is a short story, hope you enjoy. (I haven’t written a story in ages, AND wrote this really quick, sorry if it sucks!)

The Prompt:

You are cleaning out your attic when you find an old dusty box you’ve never noticed before. You open it to find stacks of hundred-dollar bills and a note that says, “Here’s your cut, see you in Mexico”. There is no signature. Start writing whatever floods your mind at this thought and tell me a story…

Red

I chuckle silently to myself as my fingers trace over the long ago dried ink on the letter I found inside the box. Of all the things to find in this attic today…well it could be worse. I remember watching  his hand as he’d write his name on bills and thinking how when we married, I too would cross the T’s of our last name with the same loop. He always joked about running away to Mexico one day. He’d say “Lexi, you and I just need the sand beneath our toes, the culture in our hips and the tequila on our lips” and I would just laugh and hope.  Every Sunday we’d go for a drive in his beat up old mustang, I mean this car was ancient with peeling red paint and dented chrome details but he loved it, so I did too. Secretly that is. I used to tease him about it, saying one day we were gonna get trapped inside because the seat belts liked to stick or that we’d wind up stranded on the side of the road halfway between home and Mexico if we ever did decide to go. “Alex”, I’d say, “We have a car that WORKS, two actually maybe we should use them instead.” But he was a man who loved what he loved. He loved me but not enough to let me talk him out of taking old Lucy the mustang out every time we took a trip.

The money in the box looks new but I know just how many years they’ve been here. I pull out a stack, flip through the bills so that a small tuft of air gently touches my face and I imagine it’s his breath. For a moment I picture myself grabbing a huge arm load of the cash and tossing it up around me like they do in the movies. I’d be laughing and jumping around inside the shower of money causing such a commotion. Reality is; I’m silently here in the attic of the house Alex and I brought a few months after he proposed to me, sitting in front of a dusty old box filled with hundred-dollar bills, alone. I sigh, take a deep breath, place the note and money back inside the box and close the lid.

We never made it to Mexico, Alex and I. The cancer spread quicker than the doctors expected. He told me, the night we married that no matter what I had to sink my toes in the sands of the beach in Mexico. Said that if I didn’t get dunk off a bottle of tequila with the waves reaching out to me that he’d haunt me. The eve before he died he made me promise to go there, that I could find him in the beat of the music drifting toward the shore, and in the air around me. I’ve avoided the trip for three years now, hoping he’d stay true to his word and come back to me, haunting me- but he hasn’t. Or at least I thought he hadn’t. Until now.

With the box and my suitcase tucked safely in the trunk and my husbands ashes safely secured in the passenger seat, I set off south. Headed toward Mexico and the sand Alex never got to feel. I know he’ll be safe beside me, after all, old Lucy’s seat belts like to stick.

Make sure you check out Kellie Elmore’s blog for awesomeness like writing prompts, poetry and more!