"The Toss" - Your Story 51 Finalist

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"The Toss" - Your Story 51 Finalist

Postby TiffanyLuckey » Tue Jul 30, 2013 3:43 pm

“Heads we get married; tails, we break up.”

James pushed the quarter across the table, stopping at the base of her wineglass. Despite the day’s heat, under the tent’s enormous cover, it was quite comfortable. Shelly wore a simple but elegant white dress and a pair of diamond earrings he had never seen.

“How romantic,” she said. “What’s next, a beer bong?”

“It could all be settled in a matter of seconds.” He snapped his fingers. “Just like that.”

She pointed at his day-old beard. “Where were you last night? I called three times.”

He picked at the label of his beer bottle. “I went to the Oak Room. And before you ask, yes, I had a couple of drinks. Alone.” He raised his hand in a mock oath.

A group of girls gathered on the lawn behind them. One of them put a disc in the stereo near the bar, a hip-hop beat that reverberated in and around the few remaining guests. Shelly watched as the girls began gyrating to the intense beat. They were joined soon after by a gaggle of boys, who tossed their ties and jackets on the grass.

“Shell, I didn’t get the job.”

Her head snapped around to him. “What? I thought you were assured that position. Did they say why?”

“No. You know the market. No explanations. No apologies.”

“Do you have any other leads?”

“I don’t know,” he shrugged. “Maybe Sansbury Group … maybe Mackey and Associates …” He shook his head.

Lost in thought, she looked past him to the red and yellow rose bushes in full bloom lining the house. Inside, she could see the silhouettes of people moving past the windows.

“I was going to surprise you with Skopelos Island,” he said.

She traced the outline of the eagle on the reverse side of the quarter. “Look, James …”

“You said something about the sea there, remember? That in those waters you felt you could be reborn?”

“I remember.”

“You told me about that on our first anniversary.”

“Look, James, I love you. And I want to be with you. But this year…” She shook her head.

One of the guests on his way to the bar turned the music down, the sudden silence filling the tent and vast expanse of lawn like a morning fog.

“I’m the one who should be upset.”

“Please don’t. Not tonight.” She eyed the room, aware their voices could be heard.

An old man at the end of their table slowly rose from his chair and gently arranged his wife’s sweater across her frail shoulders. He offered her a wrinkled, arthritic hand.

“How long have we known each other? Five, six years?” When she didn’t respond, he said, “I could ask Matthew for a job.”

“Stop it.” She sat back and folded her arms across her chest. “That’s your problem. You never take anything seriously, do you? Everything’s a joke to you. Christ, I smelled the booze when you got out of the car tonight”

“I’m here, aren’t I? I’d say I was pretty damned serious.”

Suddenly the backdoor of the house opened and James watched a handsome middle-aged man with the square, clean look of a politician appear. Tall and tanned, he strode easily among the guests, briefly stopping to shake hands with the old couple who made their way through the tent.

James picked up the quarter. “So…”

“There you are!” the handsome man boomed as he approached their table. Shelly smiled and stood up.

“Hello, James,” the man said shaking his hand. “Thanks for keeping her company.” He smiled a row of perfect teeth.

James nodded.

“All finished inside, Matthew?” Shelly asked. “James was just regaling me with tales of the Mediterranean.”

“Was he?” Matthew said. “Well, you’ll have to come visit us in St. Lucia after all this … hoopla.”

Another flashing grin.

James watched as Matthew pulled Shelly tighter against him, his hand caressing her lower back. “Shell, Father Luke wants to talk to us about our ceremony.” Winking at James, he said, “I’m not Catholic.”

As Matthew guided her toward the house, Shelly turned and flipped the coin onto the table.

“Heads or tails, James. Your call.”

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Re: "The Toss" - Your Story 51 Finalist

Postby Backlotanimation » Sat Aug 10, 2013 5:21 pm

Nice story and writing, Keep on writing!

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