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I’m Supposed to Be Getting Married Today, But …

Categories: Creative Writing Prompts Tags: creative writing exercises, creative writing prompts, writing prompt.

You call an old flame from high school whom you still have feelings for and ask to meet up. The flame says, “Sure, how about noon at the pub by your house.” While waiting at the pub, your flame walks in—wearing a wedding dress (or tuxedo). The flame looks at you and says, “I’m supposed to be getting married today, but …” What happens? Write this scene.

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594 Responses to I’m Supposed to Be Getting Married Today, But …

  1. missymo says:

    I sit and nervously fidget in the corner booth facing the darkened entryway. I can remember the last time Tim and I saw each other, nearly 4 years ago and how after we said that last goodbye, I knew deep down inside, the next time we said hello, everything would be different. The random yet intriguing emails we sent back and forth within the past couple of months have led me to finally pick up the phone and invite him to the pub we used to hang out at when we dated so long ago. I look down and check my phone, no new messages and just as I glance up again for what seems to be the millionth time, I see his tall figure standing in the entrance, searching the crowd for me. My heart races as I try and look composed as he casually strolls over, but once he arrives at my table, I notice he’s dressed in a dark black tuxedo with a crisp white shirt and silk black tie. Just as I open my mouth to utter a sarcastic, “I feel a bit underdressed,” Tim says, “I’m supposed to be getting married today but..” his voice cuts off and he looks down at the floor, taking a seat across from me.

    “What?” “Why would you..” I try to utter a complete sentence but the thoughts are racing in my mind mimicking my pulse. “I’m…I’m sorry. I..I just had to see you one last time” he says as looks at me with those dark almond eyes that pierced my soul unlike any other. His face is solemn. He reaches for my hand, but I pull away. “What are you doing here then if you’re supposed to be marrying someone today?” What would possess you to even think about coming to see me first?” The nervousness that I had felt prior to him arriving has now turned to anger. I grab my purse and meet his gaze, “look. Had I known you’d be pledging your love for someone today in front of God and all your loved ones, or more so, had a girlfriend for that matter, I wouldn’t have asked you to come here.” He looks down at the table and is jolted by the buzzing of his phone going off in the pocket of his coat. “Looks like you need to leave now.” I say as I stand up, dizzy from the scene unfolding before my eyes. “Look, I needed to see you again to know within myself that its over. For you. And for me.” He says as his solemn look turns to desperation. I shake my head in amazement as he poses this question on the very day he’s supposed to be marrying someone else and just like that January night 4 years ago, I gathered my things, but this time, I was the one walking away.

  2. rissa_forever says:

    Real quick, Do you know how hard it is to post something under 500 words! Even this is 549 words! Anyway, here’s mine :)

    I never thought I would see him again. After graduation and we went to our separate colleges we lost all contact. Most couples experience this, but most – if not all – don’t want it to. As soon as graduation was in reach, I immediately knew we wanted different things. He was smart, organized, and punctual; I on the other hand was none of those things. He wanted to become a lawyer and all I wanted to do was use my imagination to create stories for young teens that were safe and appropriate.
    But when I see his number while swiping through my contacts one afternoon, I decided to call him up. Now, don’t get me wrong, we had broken up over five years ago, but when I think of all the fun we had together at parties and different school activities, I get chills. It rings three or four times before the line connects, “Hello?” a deep voice ripples over the speakers.
    The hairs on my arms stand on end, “Hi, Trent? It’s Cheyenne.”
    “Oh, hi, Chey!” he sounds genuinely excited as he uses my old nickname.
    My cheeks flush red and I feel embarrassed even though he can’t see me, “Hey, sorry to bother you but I just happened to see your name in my phone and thought I’d call.”
    He pulls the phone away from his ear and by the sounds of it he’s running out of a crowded room, “No, I’m glad you called. I’m actually in town right now, believe it or not. What’s up?”
    “Well, I guess since you’re in town, maybe we could meet up sometime? If it’s alright, I mean,” I’m still feeling awkward. I mean come on, just how do you ask your ex out on a date? After five years no less!
    “Sure, I’d love to! How about tomorrow afternoon at the pub near Fifth and Ninth?”
    I gasp, “I live in the apartment complex right around the corner on Fifth!”
    He laughs, “No kidding! Well noon then?” I agree and we end the conversation.
    My heart skips the next afternoon as I sit at the bar with an iced water with lemon at my fingertips. As the clock rings noon it sinks a little as I begin to think he might not bother showing up. He always was a prankster and liked to mess with my blonde brain. Then someone taps my shoulder. I whirl around in the wooden stool and nearly drop my drink. Before me stands a groom! Black tux, white shirt, bow tie, the works.
    He looks almost nervous and his cheeks are wind burnt, like he’s been running through the harsh spring wind outside, “I’m supposed to be getting married today, but I knew I just had to see you before I made a mistake.”
    “Mistake?” I ask, still taken back by the surprise. He continues to explain how he met a girl in college, and they had some good times, but when he talked to me, he realized he missed our conversations. He tells me he was in the middle of a wedding planning meeting when I called. He sat next to me and we had a drink. We talked for hours. I went home that evening with dinner plans for the next evening.

  3. drnoag says:

    My Flame

    When she was younger and I was clueless, we did a little dance. We had our way and it was sweet but sweeter still because our way was to be the way which I would become, in this world. Funny, how the experience of soft and young days could harden our expectations into want and need once time had laid its sandy old grip on our hearts.

    She was heat and recklessness and I wished for that again. Dare I to conjure such temptation anew?

    I dared; if not to rekindle what we had, perhaps to start fresh. No experience is properly exotic save new experience. Plus, this time around, I knew what I was doing. I was more prepared. Youth may be best because it is strange but with age comes sharper tools and meaner knowledge.

    We would meet at the bar, her and I. This was good because I had very recently uprooted and did not have a static place to call my own.

    While I sat and waited, I drank club soda and let the bubbles pop and pleasantly sting my tongue.

    When the door opened and she stepped through, the outside light of the day struck me blind. I tried to blink past fried retinae.

    Things happened very quickly then. I am not ennobled to say that I don’t really remember what was said or even how what happened did happen. I remember feeling mourn and loss at her sight. Married…her!…but she was here! With me. She told me as much. She calmed me down. We set to work.

    Her smile was bright as the promise of spring and I couldn’t help but think that her teeth could leave a great-felt mark on the right side of my neck; like I want her to stop, but never.

    We danced our old dance as the day grew bright. We sang the songs and laughed to memories. We toasted to new experience. We burned down the house.

    Alarms and emergencies always seemed to sound the same. Sharp flashing lights cast out and all over everything. It was enough to give me a heart attack. Panic and desperation; they had such a filthy, dirty, wonderful ring. While the smoke stench from my burning house rose to the sky like a charcoal mountain against the background of angel wings, the bar had only just begun to catch. It would though. It would burn like everything else. I placed it in my past. I noticed, for the first time, as I looked into the rearview of my newest stolen car and smiled our truest smile, that my teeth looked sharper and longer. Our eyes, hidden behind glasses so black they stole our name, interpreted the world in terms of flame.

  4. Dev says:

    Girlfriend, everyone wish for. I never had any experience in this field although I was one of the most talented guy in class, less fashionable but good looking. I am very introvert , shy from birth. On that very day I can’t resist to think of that girl for whom I had feeling that had never been able reach my mouth. I had never talk about these to my friends also. At present I am doing a job with good salary to have a good lifestyle , but being at this young stage to live without any girl in life is seems to be meaningless.

    It was need of a girlfriend or feelings for her that I don’t know but it was something that triggered me. On that day I don’t from where the courage came but I decided to talk to her about my feelings which were just feelings , never have a written form but just are in mind. I have a her contact number but never called her and last time I talk to her was like four years ago which was due to mutual friend. So I take a phone and just called her just without thinking of the result. She pick up the call late , I don’t what she was doing but my heart beat was racing here.

    ” Hello ” she said.

    Hi remember me . Mike we were in school together.

    Ya I remember. Good to hear you. What happened?

    Nothing special. Can we meet today if you don’t feel any problem?
    (after taking a moment ) Okay fine Little sister(pub name) at 4 o’clock today .

    Fine See you then

    And I hanged. That leaves me 8 hours to practice what to talk about. I thought about what to order and how to try to be nice in front of her. I practiced for the opening lines like you look gorgeous , you have a beautiful eyes and so on. I was very nervous the whole time and somehow time reach to 3 o’clock. I dressed in descent clothes and reach the Little sister 10 minutes earlier. Inside the pub looking at many couples my confidence increase.

    After 15 minutes she arrived in pub but I got very scared when i saw her. Not because she was looking ugly but she was in wedding dress. She came to me and say

    Hi why did you call me and sorry not to call you on my wedding. I was in such a mess I totally forgot to invite you when you called. I am really sorry.
    (humbling) Never mind. By the way you are looking gorgeous.

    Thanks. So why did you call me?

    (I started to think and started to talk arbitrary) You know I work at this software company and they had this new project which they were working on like two years. and yes they wanted to advertise it but they don’t want to take professionals as not to spend much money on this. So they asked in staff if we know someone who can do this job . I was going through school pics and then i thought about asking you.(and I finish my sentence anyhow)

    Okay don’t feel so shy to ask. I am flattered. Thanks for considering me for this job and i would love to do that ,but I will free after two weeks . You know marriage , relatives.

    Oh sorry they said something about next week and i can’t change that. It is not in my hands. So really sorry to trouble you . May be I should have asked you on phone.

    No its fine. Thanks for asking may be next time. By the way you should meet my husband. He is talented have a nice job in company. Thing I like about him is he is very shy and introvert.

    Ya sure. Maybe some other time. I think u should leave now as they must be waiting for as you are still wearing wedding dress. Wish you happy married life.

    Thank you. I will call you. okay bye

    bye

    and she leave. I take sigh of relief and I thought may be next time should make some research on her. I may be most unlucky guy on earth to call someone to tell her feelings once in a lifetime on the same day on her wedding day. I leave thinking may be I am made to be arranged and these things are not my type.

  5. Dev says:

    My first time. I hope you enjoy .

    Girlfriend, everyone wish for. I never had any experience in this field although I was one of the most talented guy in class, less fashionable but good looking. I am very introvert , shy from birth. On that very day I can’t resist to think of that girl for whom I had feeling that had never been able reach my mouth. I had never talk about these to my friends also. At present I am doing a job with good salary to have a good lifestyle , but being at this young stage to live without any girl in life is seems to be meaningless.

    It was need of a girlfriend or feelings for her that I don’t know but it was something that triggered me. On that day I don’t from where the courage came but I decided to talk to her about my feelings which were just feelings , never have a written form but just are in mind. I have a her contact number but never called her and last time I talk to her was like four years ago which was due to mutual friend. So I take a phone and just called her just without thinking of the result. She pick up the call late , I don’t what she was doing but my heart beat was racing here.

    ” Hello ” she said.

    Hi remember me . Mike we were in school together.

    Ya I remember. Good to hear you. What happened?

    Nothing special. Can we meet today if you don’t feel any problem?
    (after taking a moment ) Okay fine Little sister(pub name) at 4 o’clock today .

    Fine See you then

    And I hanged. That leaves me 8 hours to practice what to talk about. I thought about what to order and how to try to be nice in front of her. I practiced for the opening lines like you look gorgeous , you have a beautiful eyes and so on. I was very nervous the whole time and somehow time reach to 3 o’clock. I dressed in descent clothes and reach the Little sister 10 minutes earlier. Inside the pub looking at many couples my confidence increase.

    After 15 minutes she arrived in pub but I got very scared when i saw her. Not because she was looking ugly but she was in wedding dress. She came to me and say

    Hi why did you call me and sorry not to call you on my wedding. I was in such a mess I totally forgot to invite you when you called. I am really sorry.
    (humbling) Never mind. By the way you are looking gorgeous.

    Thanks. So why did you call me?

    (I started to think and started to talk arbitrary) You know I work at this software company and they had this new project which they were working on like two years. and yes they wanted to advertise it but they don’t want to take professionals as not to spend much money on this. So they asked in staff if we know someone who can do this job . I was going through school pics and then i thought about asking you.(and I finish my sentence anyhow)

    Okay don’t feel so shy to ask. I am flattered. Thanks for considering me for this job and i would love to do that ,but I will free after two weeks . You know marriage , relatives.

    Oh sorry they said something about next week and i can’t change that. It is not in my hands. So really sorry to trouble you . May be I should have asked you on phone.

    No its fine. Thanks for asking may be next time. By the way you should meet my husband. He is talented have a nice job in company. Thing I like about him is he is very shy and introvert.

    Ya sure. Maybe some other time. I think u should leave now as they must be waiting for as you are still wearing wedding dress. Wish you happy married life.

    Thank you. I will call you. okay bye

    bye

    and she leave. I take sigh of relief and I thought may be next time should make some research on her. I may be most unlucky guy on earth to call someone to tell her feelings once in a lifetime on the same day on her wedding day. I leave thinking may be I am made to be arranged and these things are not my type.

  6. Tannai says:

    I’m supposed to be getting married today but…

    “I’m getting married today.” He paused then released a shaken breath before proceeding. “We’ll, I’m supposed to be.”
    He stood in front of me, the distance between closest in five years. Every last inch of the perfect man I remembered and so desperately craved since our break up hovered once again near me. My lust and longing for him had never left the prescience of my heart and made themselves more evident now.
    “I’m supposed to be getting married today, but,”
    His words stretched in the air, echoing loud in my ears. He spoke as though the words were for me to catch and throw back to him.
    I began to trail the neatly pressed outline of his dark tuxedo. It fit in all the right places; tightly around the arms, but a bit more puffed out against his chest. He was a lot more built than before.
    My eyes caught the attention of his pearl shoes. Fine white stitched lines surrounded their exterior. His pants were long almost draping the floor. I followed the clean apparel up until a large bulge in his pants proved to distracting to skip over.
    “I’m supposed to get married today, but”
    My hand reached into his pants and curled their fingers around its warm hard exterior. I pulled the box from his pocket, opening a large ring. The ring was for someone else.
    “You’re supposed to be getting married.”
    I placed the box in his hand and brushed past my past .

  7. theduke192 says:

    Sorry for the length, but this is my first time writing a prompt. Hope you enjoy. Giving this one last try to work.

    ===================================
    The Undying

    “I’m not calling her,” Tim said staring out at the city from his penthouse.

    His friend sighed on the phone and said, “You asked for closure and here it is and probably your last chance. It can’t hurt to talk to your old friend.”

    “Fine,” Tim said and hung up the phone.

    Looking out over the city, he remembered everything the good, the bad, and everything in-between. It had been four years since she had spoken to him and he never knew why. When the talking stopped, he could not hold his feelings in any longer and wrote her a letter, confessing everything. He had given it to her friend on his behalf and that was the end.

    “I don’t need this,” he said looking at his apartment.

    Living on the upper side of New York City with a promising career in engineering and four book publications on the best sellers list, but then he looked deeper. Since her departure from his life, everything felt hollow and pointless.

    He opened her contact information and stared at the call button, “I’m going to regret this.”

    He pushed the button and it began to connect. He waited. The first ring, no response. His heart started to beat like it had a long time ago when the second ring finished. He wanted her to answer and then another part wanted it all to just go away after the third. Tensing as the fourth ring ended when her voice message kicked in.

    Her voice was still heavenly and could still melt the defenses of his heart to nothing. He waited until it was over and said, “It’s just me. Just wanted to see one last time. Goodbye.”

    He threw the phone down in frustration and now he thought he pushed the best friend he ever had even further away. However, he turned his back for only a minute when the phone vibrated.

    Snatching the phone up he read, “Noon tomorrow. O’Grady’s. ”

    The message stopped him in his tracks. He knew what tomorrow was and could not believe she wanted to see him and he did not care. She wanted to meet at the bar he took her to for the first time.

    “Here goes nothing,” he whispered into the night that was growing.

    Tim arrived early the next day, almost as soon as the doors had opened. It was empty and dark as most of the patrons were recovering from the night before. He wore his usual attire of a black suit and white shirt, but this was Saturday meaning no tie. Tim leaned back nursing his dark beer watching the door. The TV behind him caught his attention for only a second when he heard the bell above the door ring.

    He looked back and there she was. His anger and fear evaporated at the sight of her walking through the bar. Even the bartender said hello as he remembered her. She wore a wedding dress that was not the average dress. It was tight and white, nothing more nothing less, but her eyes still shined as bright as they did before.

    Tim stood when she reached his table and said, “Thank you Ashley.”

    “It’s good to see you Tim,” she said giving him the smile that melt his heart the first time.

    “Please have a seat,” Tim said as the two of them sat.

    By now, some patrons had crawled out of their beds and were now at the bar for their afternoon beer and some glanced at the two out of place people, but no one said a word. He stared into her eyes with a mix of words going through his head when she asked, “Why did you want to see me?”

    “I wanted to say congratulations for you,” Tim said lying through his teeth, “How long do you have?”

    “Three hours,” she said and leaned forward, “You told me once that you would lie to me.”

    “Yes,” Tim said remembering those exact words, “I will never lie to my best friend.”

    “Then why are you not happy for me?”

    He hesitated and remembered their times together, “Because he is the same idiot that you dated before me.”

    “He is a good man,” Ashley said defending her future husband, “You were the one who left without a word.”

    “What?” Tim asked loud enough to get a few looks, “I did everything to try to talk to you! You were the one that ignored me.”

    “I got nothing, except,” she said reaching into the white purse Tim never saw, “Except this.” She placed a letter on the table. Her name written cursive and Tim knew what was on the other side the crimson wax that he melted before placing his family’s crest in the center.

    Tim looked down as a wave of different emotions took over him. He did not know if this was good or bad that she had kept it. Standing up as he realized she was gone to him, he walked next to and said, “He doesn’t deserve you and I won’t stand in your way of happiness. I will always have your back until the day I die.”

    He started for the door when she stood and said, “I read it yesterday.”

    Tim stopped and said without turning to her, “Ok you probably read it hundred times in the last four years for all I know.”

    “I read it for the first time yesterday,” she said catching Tim off guard.

    He glanced back and asked, “What?”

    “You gave it to Eve, right?” she asked and continued after Ashley received a nod, “She gave to my mother.
    My mother hid it from me because she didn’t believe in you and didn’t see what I saw. She saw what I’m
    marrying and gave me the letter yesterday and almost by fate, you called and wanted to talk.”

    “Sadly,” Tim said with a tear rolling down his cheek, “It changes nothing.”

    “Why do you think I went back to Ryan?” she asked, “He wanted me. After you left, there was no one, my heart was broken and I thought I had done something to offend my best friend.”

    Tim looked down and said, “I’m sorry, that part of me is dead.”

    “I don’t think so,” Ashley said snatching up the letter, “If that were true, a true man would never have admitted to the words written on this paper. You spoke of undying love. Love so strong that it would survive the test of time. You once told me I saved your life, will you save me from making a mistake that will forever destroy my life?”

    “I don’t love you,” Tim said clenching his jaw from the tears and turned to go.

    “Tim!” she said stopping him in the doorway, “If you don’t love me, you won’t know the answer to this question. What was I wearing the first day we met?”

    Tim stood silent, his head down, and he looked broken. Between Tim’s words on paper and in voice she was ready to throw away her wedding for her best friend she had lost, but Tim was silent. A tear started to work its way into her eye when he said, “Blue jeans and a ‘I Love New York’ shirt. Your hair was in a ponytail only because your friend suggested it. You wore aviator glasses walking to your first day of class freshman year.”

    He turned around just in time for her arms to wrap around him. She pressed her lips against his and they stood there in the eyes of four men applauding them. One even was crying to the words of a young couple.

    After the wedding was cancelled, Tim started write again. It was not long before his new book was published with special thanks to his best friend who became his wife and wrote the foreword. In those words, she put the letter for all the world to see. It was a statement of a love that was true and undying that would and did survive the test of time.

  8. Amyithist says:

    I sat at the bar, my wedding dress gathered and piled over my lap. The shot of whiskey in front of me glowered back at me and I felt an incredible weight pressing over me. Today was supposed to be the happiest day of my life. But the moment I received the call, my stomach had been in knots.
    His voice had been so familiar and the moment he spoke my name, all of the old feelings I’d had before came rushing back to me. “Meet me at our place,” he had said. Before I could reply, he hung up. Without a second thought, I ran from the church, fighting off the urge to break down and sob.
    I downed the shot of alcohol and pressed my hand against my forehead, closing my eyes as I tried desperately to calm myself down. Why was he calling me now? Today of all days?
    The door to the pub opened. A warm, summery breeze slipped around the silhouetted figure standing in the threshold. I could tell it was him. I suddenly felt my body surging with adrenaline. I held my finger up to the bartender, signaling another shot was in order. He nodded at me and retrieved the bottle of Wild Turkey from the middle shelf. Just as Ian approached, he poured the caramel colored liquid into the shot glass.
    I turned as Ian stood next to me. I swallowed and looked up at him. “Ian…” I breathed. He smiled at me.
    “Grace, you look incredible.” I felt my face flush as his eyes lit with that familiar passion. I’d never experienced the same passion with another person as I did with Ian… It was raw and effortless and every time I was around him, I found my body burning with an undeniable fire.
    “Ian, it’s been so long,” I whispered, running the tip of my finger along the rim of the shot glass.
    He smiled at me and sat next to me. He motioned to the bartender. “I’ll have what she’s having,” he said.
    We sat there for a moment, Ian facing me, watching me intently. No doubt wondering if this man I was about to marry had a hold on me the way he had once… And I couldn’t say for sure that he did. Ian was the love of my life. My soul mate…
    But he’d left me. Abandoned me without any explanation. Suddenly, the anger I had felt at that time burned into me and I frowned at him. “Ian, why are you calling me now? Why would you do this to me?”
    He sighed. “I’m sorry, Grace. Obviously this is bad timing.”
    I scoffed at him, pushing my veil behind me. “You think?”
    He downed his shot and stared at me with intent. “Grace, I know that you’re supposed to be getting married today. I know that this is bad timing, but I need you. I haven’t stopped thinking about you. I…” he stopped and lowered his head, “I love you, Grace.”
    I felt my heart fall to my feet and I closed my eyes as tears brimmed and splashed down my cheeks. “Ian…” He stopped me by wrapping his hands through my hair and pulling me close. He pressed his lips against mine and I felt my resolve fall away. I returned the kiss, groaning as he slid his hand over my waist. I wanted him. I wanted all of him.
    I pulled back and looked at him, my heart thudding in my ears. “How do I know you aren’t going to leave me again,” I asked. My voice quivered against the emotion swelling through me.
    “I’ll never make that mistake again,” he said, taking my veil off. He set it on the bar top and grinned at me as I gave him an incredulous look.
    “What makes you think I’m going to be with you now,” I asked.
    His smile made my body tingle. “What choice do you have? I’ve seen the guy you’re engaged to. Pfft.” He playfully rolled his eyes at me. “Does that suit and tie even know how to have fun,” he asked.
    My face suddenly dropped and I shook my head. “No, Ian. I don’t…I don’t even know why I’m with him.”
    “So this decision should be pretty easy,” he said, smiling wider.
    I weighted the decisions in my head. Vincent was a powerful, angry man. He had hit me on more than one occasion and the only reason I was getting married now was to keep him from hurting me further… But Ian; strong, protective, loving Ian, wouldn’t let anything happen to me, would he?
    I turned my eyes to him. “Ian…”
    He kissed me again. “Just say yes.”
    I smiled and slid the ring from my finger. I set it on the bar top and jumped into his arms. What else could I say? My heart had always been his. This just felt right… “Yes,” I sobbed. “Ian, Yes. I’ll go with you!”

    • Tannai says:

      Your story was captivating. I got the sense that the bride-to-be was completely torn by her past lovers call. She was nervous and anxious and yet Ian was calm and collected in a sort of smart ass whimsical way. He came off as her perfectly flawed other half that made the decision to leave that brute Vincent too easy. I really enjoyed this story. Great job.

    • K Lee says:

      This was awesome. You did a wonderful job.

  9. Tannai says:

    You see I’m supposed to be getting married but…there’s just a lot of things I don’t think I’ve truly taken into consideration. For instance I love you Bob, but am I truly in love with you? Lets reflect.
    When we met on that misguided summer night I was nearly drunk out of my mind , and you just happened to appear as that safety net I’d need to carry me away from the bar, and back to the presentable conservative home I assumed you occupied. Clearly your 5’8 skinny frame could do no harm. In some sense I think I was helping you out. Your khaki pants, and neatly pressed and tucked collared shirt SCREAMED fish out water. Although further memories of that night had been lost when I blacked out in the back seat of your car, I do however fondly remember wakening to an unusual breakfast in bed.
    My eyes cracked opened to an awkward 22 year old stranger hovering above my disgruntled hair with a tray of what could have been severally harmful foods. You said nothing and laid the food on the black drawer beside your wide bed and stood silently. I moved myself into a sitting forward position slowly, trying not to rattle the earthquake in my brain to much. The room was neat and lit well enough not to stun my impaired vision. And your bedding lay on the bottom edge of the bed, likely because I’m a horrible sleeper. The only thing out of place was the pool of vomit beside your unrecognizable pillow.
    A stranger you stood beside me, the blues of your eye looking at me in a way that overtook all sensibility of the current situation. I guess you could say they looked into me, rather than at me.
    I placed the tray on my lap, picked up the fork and placed a considerable amount of overcooked egg in my mouth.
    That was the first time I could see my tomorrow, and the first time the fear driving my drunk past life had ceased to exist.
    And just like that, the comforting, truthful eyes of a stranger sobered my life forever. So Bob, I’m supposed to be getting married to you today, but in all honestly, You had all of me with the eggs.

    Sincerely, Yours Already…

  10. Tannai says:

    I’m Supposed To Be Getting Married But…
    Michael loosened the pearl tie around his neck, and removed his dark tuxedo jacket, placing it on the bar stool beside him.
    He gave a heavy sigh. “I’m supposed to be getting married,” he said looking forward, away from me. He called the bar tender over and ordered a considerably large amount of shots for himself. One after the other they were downed.
    “I’m, I’m supposed to be getting married.”
    It had occurred to me that when I’d invited him to the pub I’d need to present some part of the conversation, but his performance seemed to have taken the words I so eagerly wanted to confess to him, since our break up nearly two years ago.
    “I’m supposed to-”
    “Be getting married.” I interrupted. The words began to sit too heavily on my conscious, so I reached over, grabbed a few of his refilled shots and began drowning my thoughts with the liquor.
    One after the other we drank. The bar tender eagerly passed us our next set while tallying the bill. There were no words spoken for what felt like a long couple of minutes. We both drank, the way we did together in our younger days; sitting on a bare kitchen floor, the refrigerator wide open. Our legs interlaced as we fed each other shot after shot. Drinking games that always led to passionate eventful nights followed by hungry mornings.
    It began to feel as though both he and I drank to memories through the silence. His hand wobbled for a second as his fourth glass of liquor slipped out of his hand; spilling all over his right pants leg. His tolerance had finally been breached.
    He took another heavy sigh and turned himself to face me. We looked at each other for a good moment. His eyes sung of apologies and missed memories. The tension between caused my brown eyes to spill lustful tears.
    He placed his hand in his pocket and removed a small black phone. Dialed a number and waited for its receiver.
    “Michael, Michael, I love you!” A frantic feminine voice shakily yelled.
    His eyes glued to mine, he reached over and held my hand. Warm and familiar, I placed my remaining hand on his.
    “Michael, I love you. Where are you?”
    “Julia. I’m supposed to be getting married to you, but…”

  11. K Lee says:

    I sat in the cafe wishing it was even more empty than it already was. There was an old couple sitting by the window holding hands. A middle aged man was monopolizing the electrical outlet by the door. Then just a few booths away sat my best friend Katie. She smiled brightly at me over her morning coffee as I went between glaring at my hot chocolate and her. I had found out just a few moments ago that Katie had been conniving for months on how to best ruin my life. She had set up a facebook account in my name to try to find someone for me. I was of the personal opinion that I didn’t need someone. I was perfectly content being a crazy cat lady for the rest of my life. So I cried every time I read a romance and lamented my lack of a mate, so what? I’m a women. I have unbalanced hormones, it’s no big deal. Katie doesn’t agree. She says that she has located one of my old flames from high school. After I pointed out to her that I didn’t even date anyone in high school and therefore didn’t have any old flames, she just laughed her knowing laugh and dragged me to this cafe. At first I tried to leave, but Katie quickly wrestled me back in the booth and threatened to spill all of my deepest secrets if I didn’t co-operate. When the waitress came over to break us up I unwillingly consented and sat down. I have to admit that by then my curiosity had been building exponentially. But I was still very upset.
    I was thinking of 101 ways I could possibly kill Katie when he walked in. My heart stopped, attempting a stealth attack, and then tried to pound its way through my chest. I gaped at Katie in total disbelief. How could she? He was not an old flame. H-h-he was a nemesis, the bane of my high school existence. He…he…he was even more wonderful than I remembered. He flashed that smile and I felt my face heat up. He walked over to the booth, (man I liked it when he walked) and sat down his smile growing with each second. I glared over his shoulder at Katie and decided that I was not going to be nice. “Tessa.” Oh my goodness I was melting. Where did he learn to say my name like that?
    “I wasn’t the one who invited you,” I said filling my voice with as ice as possible. Which is very difficult when your whole being is in flames.
    “Oh, I know,” he replied resting his chin in his hand and just looking at me. Where did he learn to look at people like that?
    “Well, umm, why are you here?” I was trying desperately to reduce the blush covering my cheeks but every second he sat there it got worse. I attempted a blank look, but it probably didn’t work half as well as I thought it did because he laughed.
    “I don’t need any of your idiotic teasing,” I said convinced that was why he was here, “So, if you’ll excuse me I am sure Katie is now satisfied, and I will be leaving.” I stood to leave but he grabbed my hand. My skin tingled where he was touching me and my eyes widened. I carefully composed a mask of indifference before facing him. I looked pointedly at his hand on mine before meeting his eyes. Which of course just made my mask slip and transfigure until it was unrecognizable.
    “Just sit down,” he tugged my hand a little, “please.” I plopped onto the bend with a huff and tried to pull my hand away. When he didn’t let go I looked up at him again. His eyes met mine and after a long moment he let me go. I looked at the table, deciding that was safest, and pulled my hand down to my lap. He cleared his throat trying to get my attention. But I couldn’t bring myself to look up. I was so angry at him in that moment. I hated that he could make me compliant with one little please. I hated that I had given up swearing and now could not think of a single thing to say to him. Oh I just loathed him, those eyes that made my heart flutter excitedly, those remarks that made me feel like a schoolgirl, and that smile that made me want to spill my secrets. I hated him so much. Yet, at the same time, my heart begged me to give up, give in.
    “I was getting married a week ago today,” he sighed. I told myself not to look up as I held my breath waiting for the rest. But he was silent. With every second I felt something building inside of me. I imagined him running out of the church with a picture perfect bride by his side. I imagined them taking walks in the rain, and getting their little kids ready for school. I thought about how much his daughters would love him. And I wanted to strangle that bride, I wanted to make her feel every fracture in my heart as she took everything that I wanted. Then I felt like crying because he must love her so much, and he was married, and she must be so wonderful, and he was married. He was married.
    “Congrats,” I forced out after an awkward pause. I still didn’t look up, afraid he would see
    the tears in my eyes.
    “I didn’t go through with it.”
    Suddenly I forgot to keep my eyes on the table. “What,” it was just a sigh, barely audible. He was looking out the window at the autumn sky and I don’t think he heard, but I couldn’t dare to say it again. That vicious thing called hope was already clawing it’s way into my heart, and I couldn’t give it another inch.
    “We were standing at the altar. Keturah, I was at the altar!” He looked over and I dropped my eyes not wanting him to see the emotions I was fighting. “Then I looked over and suddenly realized she wasn’t you.”
    My heart, it just… it just stopped, completely. I couldn’t think, couldn’t breathe.
    “Look at me.” The plea was quiet and gentle but I couldn’t look up. I had tried so hard to hide from all of this.
    His fingers brushed my burning cheek and then cupped my chin. “Look at me.” He brought my face up slowly. I meet his eyes for just a split second. Where did he learn to look at me like that?
    I jumped up from my seat turning so my back was to him. I heard him rise slowly, deliberately. I wrapped my arms around myself. Why did his slow calmness make me feel like I was fragmenting? He was right behind me and I still couldn’t breathe.
    He turned me around and I let him. He pushed my chin up and this time I looked him in the eyes. I was shaking, and he was coming closer. Katie was staring at us. Everyone was staring at us, watching, waiting. Then I was burning from the inside out, and he was kissing me.
    And there was only the two of us, just me and, “Ryan.”

  12. cvalderr says:

    “Sure, the pub by your place?”

    “Yeah,” I replied, “How about an hour?”

    “Okay! See you soon.”

    I ended the call and sat up staring at the wall. What was I doing? I never enjoyed rocking the boat but I felt like I had just shot a hole right through the bottom of it. Already I felt the subtle inclinations rising up trying to convince me to call her back. My mind turned into a pinball machine filled with excuses to give saying that something had come up.

    “Shut up” I murmured to myself, “Get your butt up and get in the shower.” There was no use in arguing. I felt my stubborn side taking over. I shot up and headed for the bathroom to get ready for something I knew I shouldn’t have been doing.

    After a quick shower, and a long conversation with myself in the mirror, I finally sat down in the booth at the back of the pub. Outside the window next to me a woman in a wedding dress quickly darted passed. This odd site offered a pleasant distraction from the anxiety that was creeping up from my chest through my throat. “What an odd place to be walking around like that” I thought to myself. I secretly chuckled as I pictured this lost soul running to the nearest bar for some liquid courage before her big day. Or maybe she was even running from her future and needed a drink to hide in. Even more amusing would be if she was hunting for the guy that was scheduled to meet her at the altar about an hour ago.

    I watched as the speed-walking bride took a sharp turn through the doors of the pub. My eyes followed the wall and met her again as she entered bar. My jaw dropped almost as fast as I stood up and yelled, “Beth!”

    “David!” Beth waved and continued her marathon pace towards me. Her nervous smile stretched from ear to ear. Without hesitation she hugged me.

    “How have you been, David?”

    “I’ve been good. How are you?” I couldn’t help but smile as I hugged back. The smell of her body brought back warm memories. This was almost enough to distract me from the necessity of asking the next question, “So what’s up? Is this a wedding dress?”

    Beth retracted and sat down. As I sat across from her I took in the view. She really did look as beautiful as ever.

    “Yes,” she said, “I don’t know what’s going on but when you called I had to come.”

    “Why? What do you mean?” I calmly leaned forward.

    “Well, I’m supposed to be getting married today.”

    “I can see that. Are you okay?”

    “Yeah. It’s just that I woke up today with cold feet, which is perfectly natural I guess.” her eyes drifted as she spoke.

    “Sure,” I smiled, “what time is the wedding?”

    Beth dodged the question, “I was going over it in my mind. My bridesmaids were putting me together and I told myself that if there was any sign that I was making a mistake I would listen to it. And then you called.”

    I was stunned, “No way.”

    “Yes!” she smiled beautifully.

    “I know we didn’t get along in the end, but, I feel it was because we didn’t know where to take our relationship. We were happy together, remember?”

    “Beth,” I interrupted then paused, my feet iced over.

    “You still have feelings for me, right” she asked.

    “Always, but…” I said

    “I know in my heart this is right.”

    I was instantly inspired. Beth was following her heart and I had to do the same. I called her up for a reason. I had to be a man.

    “Beth,” I started, “I knew you were dating this guy, but I have to admit I didn’t know you were engaged.”
    Beth smiled and nodded.

    “What I wanted to say is this,” I put my hands on the table. It was now or never, “What has Rebecca been up to?”

    Beth straightened up, “What?”

    “Is she single?” I asked

    “You mean my sister?”

    “Yeah. I figured you were dating so I thought I’d see what she was up to.”

    A few seconds later, as I nursed the side of my face that she punched, I watched Beth storm off towards the door. Now I remembered why we broke up. She was never mature enough to communicate like an adult.

    And she didn’t even invite me to the wedding.

  13. PGS says:

    One week from now Bryon and I would be married. I should feel wedding jitters, stressed, at the very least excited. I don’t feel any of that. I just feel comfortable, and safe for the first time in a very long time. I first met Bryon about ten years ago, just out of high school. (He remembers the exact date, place and time, I pretend I remember.) In-between life happened. Back then I had told Bryan “no” when he asked me to marry him. I told him I was “protecting my future.” (Apparently that statement had made sense.) Bryon promptly told me to go f*** myself.

    Going our separate ways we created successful careers for ourselves.

    After college I started a real estate company and partnered with George, a successful land developer. The company quickly succeeded, with shopping malls along the East Coast, and other commercial properties. The day our accountant told us we hit a million dollars, George proposed, I accepted, then we returned to the office.

    The wedding would be the day after breaking ground on Appleton East Shopping Mall. George and the wedding planner arranged everything, including press announcements. I told him “that was not my thing”. Truth is I actually found myself thinking more and more about Bryon and that long ago day. I Googled him, finding him on LinkedIn. I even called his old number, hanging up immediately when his voice answered. He still had that number! A week later, after a few more hang ups, I left a message. “…ran across your name the other day, just called to say hi.” Later that day he called back. After a somewhat awkward start, we chatted like old friends! I apologized for acting like a jerk all those years ago. (He did not apologize for telling me to f*** off, I figured he was justified.) I told him about the successes of the company. He told me about his divorce and opening the new chain of Mexican restaurants. It was easy talking to him. We talked for over an hour chatting about the past, things we had discovered over the years and just stuff. Hanging up we promised to keep in touch and get together soon. I never mentioned my upcoming wedding! (I never thought about it!)

    Three days later I left George at the altar. Yes, literally at the altar. The church filled with guests, reporters and the Priest repeating, “…and you Sandra…”. Through my vale, I looked up at George, “I can’t do this.” “We make great business partners, marrying is just wrong.” Expecting him to be shocked, or angry he just looked at me. “Thank you” he whispered. I remember the Priest’s horrified expression. Hiking up my dress I ran back down the aisle, out the church doors past the reporters and cameras.

    From the car I phoned Bryon. “How about I come over for lunch?” Entering El Poncho’s, wedding vale still attached, Bryon met me at the door. “…is that a yes?”

  14. vinsweg says:

    “But?” I repeated, edging her to go on.
    I still couldn’t believe that she was here. Two hours ago, I’d been sipping bitter coffee and staring out the small, dirt-scraped window of my new apartment, wondering if I’d ever be able to work again. And now, she was here, her hair disheveled, her wedding dress caked with leaves and nettles and brown stains, as though a sunken maiden had emerged from the swamps.
    “I…I can’t.” Her voice still so soft, her words like sweet wine on the edge of imagination, leaving a shadow of taste. “Not when—” Her eyes were red from the ghost of tears less than ten minutes dead, and her fingers fidgeted each other with unnerving speed. “Got a call this morning…from his mom and she said—” She couldn’t go on, and she walked closer.
    I was still trying to put the pieces together. St. Paul’s, where she was supposed to be, crying and spraying flowers on bridesmaids and screaming for joy, was an hour away by bus. After the last stop, my shit-hole apartment was a five-minute walking distance. The roads leading up here were grim. It had a been a rainy month, so brown puddles broke the untarred surfaces of their paths, paths flanked by walls heavy on spray paint and graffiti. But nothing about those could explain her cloying smell of nectar, her gold-sequined wedding dress that looked like something rolled through the jungle. And then there were her incoherent phrases, only making the puzzle even denser—someone’s mom calling to say something and her being afraid and threatening messages someone had texted her…
    She had sent a meandering novel’s worth of text messages that morning, the words jumbled and incoherent, reading like the last words of a mad man. And I knew all about madness, didn’t I? The daily internal struggle with myself…the constant moving, the lust, black and bitter, feverish, all-consuming, bloating my heart, infesting my genitals and my muscled hands and—
    And none of it mattered. What mattered now was Gloria. Hadn’t seen her in years, hadn’t heard from her in years. Until I moved here, saw the wedding news on a local paper, tried her old number which somehow still worked. Last night, we had spoken briefly, and she had been excited. What had changed?
    Now, tears were leaking out of her face, and she was hugging me before I could stop her, her hair brushing my hands, her sobs shaking my chest. Her touch…so sweet, so delicate. I felt it rising, a tendril of longing, growing without control, like cancer—
    “No,” I whispered. And that was it.
    I was someone else. I pulled her head backward, reached for her lips. She recoiled in horror and disgust.
    “Daniel!” she cried, amid her tears, her voice suddenly sickening.
    And I wasn’t Daniel anymore. Daniel wasn’t here anymore. I grabbed her arm and pulled her close, and began to choke and kiss. I saw her face turn purple just before my lips met hers. She tried to fight, vigorously, more vigorously, but it was no use. She flailed and whimpered and tried to bite, but I was faster.
    There was a crack, the sound of snapping neck.
    And now, with her utterly powerless to fight, with one more utterly powerless to fight, I took off my pants, breathing lustily, and placed her motionless body on a cold, dirty floor.

  15. Mahi says:

    Hey this is my first attempt at a prompt. Hope you like it

    It was a relatively breezy day for winters. My heart pounded loudly. Mike Royce was about to enter. I couldn’t believe i had to call him after all these years. Yes, he was my very first love. The feelings on an unrequited love are hard to let go. Even though we dated for a while but it was never a sparks flying love that i had always imagined for myself. Sure, i wasn’t the most popular girl in school but all i wanted was for a man to love me back. Then one day i saw him cheating on me with a skank from our school. I was unaffected by his apologies. To be true, i wasn’t really surprised but it created a deep void inside me that was hard to fill.

    And there he is, looking as handsome as he did back then. Infact even more, if it was even possible. The same shiny locks of hair, the crooked smile and the perfect blue eyes. I tried to suppress all those resurfacing emotions that i had buried inside from years.

    “Hey Lizzie.”

    I loved it when he called me by my nickname. Even though hardly anyone called my Elizabeth but somehow my heart always skipped a beat when i heard it from his mouth.

    I notice he is wearing a full black tuxedo, i was about to ask but he answered himself.

    “I’m supposed to be getting married today, but …then i got your call and you said it was urgent so i came to you. So how’ve you been?”

    Soon the waiter came and he ordered his usual Scotch on the rocks with a twist.

    “Mike, i know this isn’t the right time or the right place and you’re about to get married but i just had to tell you. I still love you…”

    “Oh lizzie, don’t…”

    “No, you have to know. I know it had been rough. But i know somewhere deep inside you had feelings for me but you never really explored them.”

    He gulped down his drink in one sip. The waiter took his empty glass and he ordered for another.

    I continued, ” Come one Mike. You know we had a chance but you threw it. You were too scared of commitment. So here’s your chance…”

    He finally spoke, “You know what you’re right. We deserve another chance. I can’t believe i let you go. God, you were so hot! And now i’m marrying this chick who i met only few months back. I don’t even love her.”

    “So you really want us to get back together?”

    “Of course. It’s worth a shot.”

    Suddenly my phone rang. I picked it up and the voice said, “It’s a match. He’s our guy.”

    I put the phone the phone down, grab his hands from the back and handcuff him. “Mike Royce, you are under arrest for the murder of Michael Allen.”

    Soon my team arrives with their guns pointing at him and he stood there in front me being held by them. He looks too shocked specially when he sees the waiter in police uniform.

    “Wha…Lizzie! What the hell is going on? Who are these people?”

    “You’re about to know. Don’t worry i’ll inform your to be wife and you might have to postpone the wedding…oh, and thanks for the fingerprints, jackass.”

    “But-t-t….this is all a big mistake and you will pay for it Elizabeth Saunders.”

    And my team took him inside the van.

    “That was one helluva speech you made, Liz,” My friend said, “you almost made me believe…”

    “All part of the act, Joe.”

    I walked out the door. The breeze had become chilly. I shivered.

    And a tear rolled down my cheek.

    Memories keep floating

    Feelings cannot be suppressed

    And emotions are hard to let go.

  16. theduke192 says:

    Sorry for the length, but this is my first time writing a prompt. Hope you enjoy.

    ===================================
    The Undying

    “I’m not calling her,” Tim said staring out at the city from his penthouse.

    His friend sighed on the phone and said, “You asked for closure and here it is and probably your last chance. It can’t hurt to talk to your old friend.”

    “Fine,” Tim said and hung up the phone.

    Looking out over the city, he remembered everything the good, the bad, and everything in-between. It had been four years since she had spoken to him and he never knew why. When the talking stopped, he could not hold his feelings in any longer and wrote her a letter, confessing everything. He had given it to her friend on his behalf and that was the end.

    “I don’t need this,” he said looking at his apartment.

    Living on the upper side of New York City with a promising career in engineering and four book publications on the best sellers list, but then he looked deeper. Since her departure from his life, everything felt hollow and pointless.

    He opened her contact information and stared at the call button, “I’m going to regret this.”

    He pushed the button and it began to connect. He waited. The first ring, no response. His heart started to beat like it had a long time ago when the second ring finished. He wanted her to answer and then another part wanted it all to just go away after the third. Tensing as the fourth ring ended when her voice message kicked in.

    Her voice was still heavenly and could still melt the defenses of his heart to nothing. He waited until it was over and said, “It’s just me. Just wanted to see one last time. Goodbye.”

    He threw the phone down in frustration and now he thought he pushed the best friend he ever had even further away. However, he turned his back for only a minute when the phone vibrated.

    Snatching the phone up he read, “Noon tomorrow. O’Grady’s. :)”

    The message stopped him in his tracks. He knew what tomorrow was and could not believe she wanted to see him and he did not care. She wanted to meet at the bar he took her to for the first time.

    “Here goes nothing,” he whispered into the night that was growing.

    Tim arrived early the next day, almost as soon as the doors had opened. It was empty and dark as most of the patrons were recovering from the night before. He wore his usual attire of a black suit and white shirt, but this was Saturday meaning no tie. Tim leaned back nursing his dark beer watching the door. The TV behind him caught his attention for only a second when he heard the bell above the door ring.

    He looked back and there she was. His anger and fear evaporated at the sight of her walking through the bar. Even the bartender said hello as he remembered her. She wore a wedding dress that was not the average dress. It was tight and white, nothing more nothing less, but her eyes still shined as bright as they did before.

    Tim stood when she reached his table and said, “Thank you Ashley.”

    “It’s good to see you Tim,” she said giving him the smile that melt his heart the first time.

    “Please have a seat,” Tim said as the two of them sat.

    By now, some patrons had crawled out of their beds and were now at the bar for their afternoon beer and some glanced at the two out of place people, but no one said a word. He stared into her eyes with a mix of words going through his head when she asked, “Why did you want to see me?”

    “I wanted to say congratulations for you,” Tim said lying through his teeth, “How long do you have?”

    “Three hours,” she said and leaned forward, “You told me once that you would lie to me.”

    “Yes,” Tim said remembering those exact words, “I will never lie to my best friend.”

    “Then why are you not happy for me?”

    He hesitated and remembered their times together, “Because he is the same idiot that you dated before me.”

    “He is a good man,” Ashley said defending her future husband, “You were the one who left without a word.”

    “What?” Tim asked loud enough to get a few looks, “I did everything to try to talk to you! You were the one that ignored me.”

    “I got nothing, except,” she said reaching into the white purse Tim never saw, “Except this.” She placed a letter on the table. Her name written cursive and Tim knew what was on the other side the crimson wax that he melted before placing his family’s crest in the center.

    Tim looked down as a wave of different emotions took over him. He did not know if this was good or bad that she had kept it. Standing up as he realized she was gone to him, he walked next to and said, “He doesn’t deserve you and I won’t stand in your way of happiness. I will always have your back until the day I die.”

    He started for the door when she stood and said, “I read it yesterday.”

    Tim stopped and said without turning to her, “Ok you probably read it hundred times in the last four years for all I know.”

    “I read it for the first time yesterday,” she said catching Tim off guard.

    He glanced back and asked, “What?”

    “You gave it to Eve, right?” she asked and continued after Ashley received a nod, “She gave to my mother.
    My mother hid it from me because she didn’t believe in you and didn’t see what I saw. She saw what I’m
    marrying and gave me the letter yesterday and almost by fate, you called and wanted to talk.”

    “Sadly,” Tim said with a tear rolling down his cheek, “It changes nothing.”

    “Why do you think I went back to Ryan?” she asked, “He wanted me. After you left, there was no one, my heart was broken and I thought I had done something to offend my best friend.”

    Tim looked down and said, “I’m sorry, that part of me is dead.”

    “I don’t think so,” Ashley said snatching up the letter, “If that were true, a true man would never have admitted to the words written on this paper. You spoke of undying love. Love so strong that it would survive the test of time. You once told me I saved your life, will you save me from making a mistake that will forever destroy my life?”

    “I don’t love you,” Tim said clenching his jaw from the tears and turned to go.

    “Tim!” she said stopping him in the doorway, “If you don’t love me, you won’t know the answer to this question. What was I wearing the first day we met?”

    Tim stood silent, his head down, and he looked broken. Between Tim’s words on paper and in voice she was ready to throw away her wedding for her best friend she had lost, but Tim was silent. A tear started to work its way into her eye when he said, “Blue jeans and a ‘I Love New York’ shirt. Your hair was in a ponytail only because your friend suggested it. You wore aviator glasses walking to your first day of class freshman year.”

    He turned around just in time for her arms to wrap around him. She pressed her lips against his and they stood there in the eyes of four men applauding them. One even was crying to the words of a young couple.

    After the wedding was cancelled, Tim started write again. It was not long before his new book was published with special thanks to his best friend who became his wife and wrote the foreword. In those words, she put the letter for all the world to see. It was a statement of a love that was true and undying that would and did survive the test of time.

    • Tannai says:

      TheDuke192,

      You’re story was interesting, but…if i must say a bit too confusing. Your story begins by talking about a young man (Tim) who’s advised by a friend to call up his old ‘best friend’ (a term I believe was a bit overplayed) He starts off longing for the girl he was once so desperately loved and still appeared to love . This leads him to call her up and meet her at the bar. Certain details in your story were considerably useless or took away from the story rather than making it better.
      For instance you said “She wore a wedding dress that was not the average dress. It was tight and white, nothing more nothing less, but her eyes still shined as bright as they did before.” This threw me off because it lacked meaning. It seemed like you just threw that in there without taking in consideration to what the characters wardrobe would signify.
      Later the story gets more confusing when he says he doesn’t love her, but the reason he called was because he loves her…?
      I do like that couple end up together and that their was a misunderstanding because she never received the letter. However i would love to read this story again with a little more detail and a structured characters. This was a great start for a new writer! Continue to write!
      -Be blessed

  17. theduke192 says:

    The Undying

    “I’m not calling her,” Tim said staring out at the city from his penthouse.

    His friend sighed on the phone and said, “You asked for closure and here it is and probably your last chance. It can’t hurt to talk to your old friend.”

    “Fine,” Tim said and hung up the phone.

    Looking out over the city, he remembered everything, the good, the bad, and everything in-between. It had been four years since she had spoken to him and he never knew why. When the talking stopped, he could not hold his feelings in any longer and wrote her a letter, confessing everything. He had given it to her friend on his behalf and that was the end.

    “I don’t need this,” he said looking at his apartment.

    Living on the upper side of New York City with a promising career in engineering and four book publications on the best sellers list, but then he looked deeper. Since her departure from his life, everything felt hollow and pointless.

    He opened her contact information and stared at the call button, “I’m going to regret this.”

    He pushed the button and it began to connect. He waited. The first ring held no response. His heart started to beat like it had a long time ago when the second ring finished. He wanted her to answer and then another part wanted it all too just go away after the third. Tensing as the fourth ring ended when her voice message kicked in.

    Her voice was still heavenly and could still melt the defenses of his heart to nothing. He waited until it was over and said, “It’s just me. Just wanted to see you one last time. Goodbye.”

    He threw the phone down in frustration and now he thought he pushed the best friend he ever had even further away. However, he turned his back for only a minute when the phone vibrated. Snatching the phone up he read, “Noon tomorrow. O’Grady’s. :)”

    The message stopped him in his tracks. He knew what tomorrow was and could not believe she wanted to see him, but he did not care. She wanted to meet at the bar he took her to for the first time.

    “Here goes nothing,” he whispered into the growing night.

    Tim arrived early the next day, almost as soon as the doors had opened. It was empty and dark as most of the patrons were recovering from the night before. He wore his usual attire of a black suit and white shirt, but this was Saturday meaning no tie. Tim leaned back nursing his dark beer watching the door. The TV behind him caught his attention for only a second when he heard the bell above the door jingle.

    He looked back and there she was. His anger and fear evaporated at the sight of her walking through the bar. Even the bartender said hello as he remembered her. She wore a wedding dress that was not the average dress. It was tight and white, nothing more, nothing less, but her eyes still shined as bright as they did before.

    Tim stood when she reached his table and said, “Thank you Ashley.”

    “It’s good to see you Tim,” she said giving him the smile that had melted his heart the first time.

    “Please have a seat,” Tim said as the two of them sat.

    By now, some patrons had crawled out of their beds and were now at the bar for their afternoon beer and some glanced at the two out of place people, but no one said a word. He stared into her eyes with a mix of words going through his head when she asked, “Why did you want to see me?”

    “I wanted to say congratulations,” Tim said lying through his teeth, “How long do you have?”

    “Three hours,” she said and leaned forward, “You told me once that you would never lie to me.”

    “Yes,” Tim said remembering those exact words, “I will never lie to my best friend.”

    “Then why are you not happy for me?”

    He hesitated and remembered their times together, “Because he is the same idiot that you dated before me.”

    “He is a good man,” Ashley said defending her future husband, “You were the one who left without a word.”

    “What?” Tim asked loud enough to get a few looks, “I did everything to try to talk to you! You were the one that ignored me.”

    “I got nothing, except,” she said reaching into the white purse Tim never saw, “Except this.” She placed a letter on the table. Her name written cursive and Tim knew what was on the other side of the crimson wax that he melted before placing his family’s crest in the center.

    Tim looked down as a wave of different emotions took over him. He did not know if this was good or bad that she had kept it. He realized she was gone to him and got up. He walked next to her and said, “He doesn’t deserve you and I won’t stand in your way of happiness. I will watch from the shadows as your silent protector as I promised so many years ago.”

    He started for the door when she stood and said, “I read it yesterday.”

    Tim stopped and said without turning to her, “Ok you probably read it hundred times in the last four years for all I know.”

    “I read it for the first time yesterday,” she said catching Tim off guard.

    He glanced back and asked, “What?”

    “You gave it to Eve, right?” she asked and continued after Tim nodded, “She gave it to my mother. My mother hid it from me because she didn’t believe in you and didn’t see what I saw. She saw what I’m marrying and gave me the letter yesterday and almost by fate, you called and wanted to talk.”

    “Sadly,” Tim said with a tear rolling down his cheek, “It changes nothing.”

    “Why do you think I went back to Ryan?” she asked, “He wanted me. After you left, there was no one, my heart was broken and I thought I had done something to offend the one person who believed in me.”

    Tim looked down and said, “I’m sorry, that part of me is dead.”

    “I don’t think so,” Ashley said snatching up the letter, “If that were true, a true man would never have admitted to the words written on this paper. You spoke of undying love. Love so strong that it would survive the test of time. You once told me I saved your life, will you save me from making a mistake that end my own life?”

    “I don’t love you,” Tim said clenching his jaw from the tears and turned to go.

    “Tim!” she said stopping him in the doorway, “If you don’t love me, you won’t know the answer to this question. What was I wearing the first day we met?”

    Tim stood silent, his head down, and he looked broken. Between Tim’s words on paper and in voice she was ready to throw away her wedding for her best friend she had lost, but Tim was silent. A tear started to work its way into her eye when he said, “Blue jeans and a blue shirt that read ‘I Love New York.’ Your hair was in a ponytail only because your friend suggested it. You wore aviator sunglasses walking to your first day of class freshman year.”

    He turned around just in time for her arms to wrap around him. She pressed her lips against his and they stood there in the eyes of four men applauding them. One even was crying to the words of a young couple.
    After the wedding was cancelled, Tim started to write again. It was not long before his new book was published with special thanks to his best friend who became his wife and wrote the foreword where she put the letter he wrote her as a statement that true love is undying and will survive anything.

  18. RachelRae says:

    Empty Eyes by Rae:
    (sorry for going over 500 words! It’s about 700…aaand this isn’t edited, just wrote.. stuff..) [:
    I couldn’t feel my fingers.
    Literally.
    The knuckles were turning white from gripping the bar counter and I think they’d already been numb for a while now.
    I think something is wrong with me. I can’t come to a bar and meet with an old ex of mine. That’s, like, the first thing on the No-No list. It’s the thing your best friend would tell you is stupid and make you stop. They’d hog tie you or chain you up in their basement—because that’s what good friends would do, to save you the embarrassment of showing up and then realizing that your ex was made an ex for a reason and that they were never going to show up.
    I sighed and spun back around on the barstool.
    “I think I’ll take that beer now.”
    The bartender eyed me. “Gotta have ID, missy.”
    “A root beer,” I replied. Like I don’t know my own age, thank you. The music was a little too slow for my taste—plus it was some rock n roll ballad that I vaguely remembered hearing on the Oldies station the day before. Nothing wrong with it. It just annoyed me when I couldn’t remember lyrics. It was a weird little quirk about me…
    “Heather?” A deep voice asked. I froze, not wanting to turn around for fear of who I knew it would be. Don’t be silly, he called you and you agreed. Of course you know who it is.
    “Here’s your ‘beer’.” The bartender glanced at me and gave a wink. I grinned and thanked him before taking the bottle in my hands and turning slowly, using only my feet to whirl the seat into motion. I took a sip and studied the man standing before me. He wore a white tuxedo and I eyed it warily. My ex wasn’t known for being discrete; he was known for his parties and friends.
    He looked exactly like I had remembered. Sure, that was only two years ago, but still, two years.
    “Hello, Spencer. How are you?” I said calmly. Yes, I cheered myself on, My little five hours of rehearsing that one greeting over and over in my head since he had emailed me went just as planned. Now for the rest of this conversation…
    “I’m surprised that you came.” He looked away. “I figured you would stand me up.”
    I answered with a casual shrug even though my insides were playing bowling with the damn butterflies. “Well, you said it was urgent.”
    “I should be getting married today, but I had to see you first.”
    “Me? Wait…married?” I stared. Okay, marriage was still at the far reaches of my mind. I was still nineteen for goodness sake! I had school, work…life to think about. I turned to the bartender, plopped down several bills and said, “I’ll be back when I’m twenty-one for a real one.” He laughed and gave me a little salute before I grabbed my purse and stood.
    “Where are you going?” Spencer asked, following me as I stormed out into the back alleyway of the pub.
    “Tell me the truth, Spencer,” I demanded. “Did you get a girl pregnant and need out? Did you do a drunk proposal? Why did you come to me? I know my dad’s a lawyer, but he won’t help my ex, especially if you don’t have any money. Because seriously, Spence, you—.”
    “Heather,” Spencer sighed, closing his eyes. I stopped and glared at him. I was tempted to chuck my soda bottle at his thick-head of curly blonde hair. His blue eyes opened and stared at me.
    “What?” I snapped, “I have class in—.”
    “I knew something like this might happen. My brother told me it would be tricky messing with memories, but I didn’t believe him. You didn’t either.”
    “John? What does this have to—?” I started.
    “You have to remember! You were testing your powers and your mind’s strength and then how well you could read minds and alter thoughts—.”
    “Powers? Are you high? I don’t have powers? That sort of thing is in freaking fairy tales and fiction crap!” I blurted, freaking out. “I don’t have powers.” My mind blanked and I couldn’t think. What’s happening?
    “You were testing your own memories and you must have altered something when I wasn’t there. Maybe at home, but I know—.”
    “No. That’s not possible,” I said after a pause. “Are you jerking my leg? That’s not funny, Spence—.”
    “Heather,” he said. He looked pained as if there were a knife sticking in his side. I looked down, just to make sure. Nope. No knife.
    “You were supposed to marry me today, but you disappeared.”

  19. theduke192 says:

    This is my first attempt at a prompt and yes I know its way over, but please enjoy.
    ===============================

    The Undying

    “I’m not calling her,” Tim said staring out at the city from his penthouse.

    His friend sighed on the phone and said, “You asked for closure and here it is and probably your last chance. It can’t hurt to talk to your old friend.”

    “Fine,” Tim said and hung up the phone.

    Looking out over the city, he remembered everything, the good, the bad, and everything in-between. It had been four years since she had spoken to him and he never knew why. When the talking stopped, he could not hold his feelings in any longer and wrote her a letter, confessing everything. He had given it to her friend on his behalf and that was the end.

    “I don’t need this,” he said looking at his apartment.

    Living on the upper side of New York City with a promising career in engineering and four book publications on the best sellers list, but then he looked deeper. Since her departure from his life, everything felt hollow and pointless.

    He opened her contact information and stared at the call button, “I’m going to regret this.”

    He pushed the button and it began to connect. He waited. The first ring held no response. His heart started to beat like it had a long time ago when the second ring finished. He wanted her to answer and then another part wanted it all too just go away after the third. Tensing as the fourth ring ended when her voice message kicked in.

    Her voice was still heavenly and could still melt the defenses of his heart to nothing. He waited until it was over and said, “It’s just me. Just wanted to see you one last time. Goodbye.”

    He threw the phone down in frustration and now he thought he pushed the best friend he ever had even further away. However, he turned his back for only a minute when the phone vibrated. Snatching the phone up he read, “Noon tomorrow. O’Grady’s. :)”

    The message stopped him in his tracks. He knew what tomorrow was and could not believe she wanted to see him, but he did not care. She wanted to meet at the bar he took her to for the first time.

    “Here goes nothing,” he whispered into the growing night.

    Tim arrived early the next day, almost as soon as the doors had opened. It was empty and dark as most of the patrons were recovering from the night before. He wore his usual attire of a black suit and white shirt, but this was Saturday meaning no tie. Tim leaned back nursing his dark beer watching the door. The TV behind him caught his attention for only a second when he heard the bell above the door jingle.

    He looked back and there she was. His anger and fear evaporated at the sight of her walking through the bar. Even the bartender said hello as he remembered her. She wore a wedding dress that was not the average dress. It was tight and white, nothing more, nothing less, but her eyes still shined as bright as they did before.

    Tim stood when she reached his table and said, “Thank you Ashley.”

    “It’s good to see you Tim,” she said giving him the smile that had melted his heart the first time.

    “Please have a seat,” Tim said as the two of them sat.

    By now, some patrons had crawled out of their beds and were now at the bar for their afternoon beer and some glanced at the two out of place people, but no one said a word. He stared into her eyes with a mix of words going through his head when she asked, “Why did you want to see me?”

    “I wanted to say congratulations,” Tim said lying through his teeth, “How long do you have?”

    “Three hours,” she said and leaned forward, “You told me once that you would never lie to me.”

    “Yes,” Tim said remembering those exact words, “I will never lie to my best friend.”

    “Then why are you not happy for me?”

    He hesitated and remembered their times together, “Because he is the same idiot that you dated before me.”

    “He is a good man,” Ashley said defending her future husband, “You were the one who left without a word.”

    “What?” Tim asked loud enough to get a few looks, “I did everything to try to talk to you! You were the one that ignored me.”

    “I got nothing, except,” she said reaching into the white purse Tim never saw, “Except this.” She placed a letter on the table. Her name written cursive and Tim knew what was on the other side of the crimson wax that he melted before placing his family’s crest in the center.

    Tim looked down as a wave of different emotions took over him. He did not know if this was good or bad that she had kept it. He realized she was gone to him and got up. He walked next to her and said, “He doesn’t deserve you and I won’t stand in your way of happiness. I will watch from the shadows as your silent protector as I promised so many years ago.”

    He started for the door when she stood and said, “I read it yesterday.”

    Tim stopped and said without turning to her, “Ok you probably read it hundred times in the last four years for all I know.”

    “I read it for the first time yesterday,” she said catching Tim off guard.

    He glanced back and asked, “What?”

    “You gave it to Eve, right?” she asked and continued after Tim nodded, “She gave it to my mother. My mother hid it from me because she didn’t believe in you and didn’t see what I saw. She saw what I’m marrying and gave me the letter yesterday and almost by fate, you called and wanted to talk.”

    “Sadly,” Tim said with a tear rolling down his cheek, “It changes nothing.”

    “Why do you think I went back to Ryan?” she asked, “He wanted me. After you left, there was no one, my heart was broken and I thought I had done something to offend the one person who believed in me.”

    Tim looked down and said, “I’m sorry, that part of me is dead.”

    “I don’t think so,” Ashley said snatching up the letter, “If that were true, a true man would never have admitted to the words written on this paper. You spoke of undying love. Love so strong that it would survive the test of time. You once told me I saved your life, will you save me from making a mistake that end my own life?”

    “I don’t love you,” Tim said clenching his jaw from the tears and turned to go.

    “Tim!” she said stopping him in the doorway, “If you don’t love me, you won’t know the answer to this question. What was I wearing the first day we met?”

    Tim stood silent, his head down, and he looked broken. Between Tim’s words on paper and in voice she was ready to throw away her wedding for her best friend she had lost, but Tim was silent. A tear started to work its way into her eye when he said, “Blue jeans and a blue shirt that read ‘I Love New York.’ Your hair was in a ponytail only because your friend suggested it. You wore aviator sunglasses walking to your first day of class freshman year.”

    He turned around just in time for her arms to wrap around him. She pressed her lips against his and they stood there in the eyes of four men applauding them. One even was crying to the words of a young couple.

    After the wedding was cancelled, Tim started write again. It was not long before his new book was published with special thanks to his best friend who became his wife and wrote the foreword where she put the letter he wrote her as a statement that true love is undying and will survive anything.

  20. SECOND CHANCES
    ================

    Archie winced and swallowed. The beer tasted watery and flat. Ever since Pop died, this place wasn’t the same. Jug tried hard, but he didn’t have the mind for business.

    “Sorry ’bout that, Arch. Listen, this one is on the house.”
    Jughead set a tumbler reeking of bad rum in front of him, the wedge of wrinkled lime completed the desperate picture. He looked at it suspiciously; it suited his mood to a tee.

    “Thanks, man. You really know how to cheer a fella up.”

    Archie’s long-suffering friend smacked him on the back. “Anytime, pal. Anytime.” He nodded his chin. “You should really lose the monkey-suit. She ain’t coming back. Ronnie’s gone.”

    “I know,” said Archie, swallowing angrily. “Bitch.”

    He thumped the glass on the counter and pointed to its emptiness. Jughead topped it up and kept his peace for a change. The door chimes jingled and the air filled with the scent of cherries. It’d been years, but he didn’t have to turn around to know who entered. He fought the urge to turn around.

    “Hi, Betty. I guess you heard. Come to gloat?”

    “Nope,” she said. “I came to drink. Vodka and OJ, Jugs.”

    “This is the right place,” said the gangly barman, giddy with reaching his peak customer count so early in the day. “You look beautiful, Betty.”

    “Thanks,” she said as she gulped her drink. “Too bad this dress is wasted on the likes of Reginald Mantle.” She frowned at the back of Archie’s head. “What’s the matter with you, Ginger? Too good to face the old ghoul-fiend?”

    Archie spun around in his stool. “Don’t call me that.” He stopped at the sight of her. She was breathtaking in her wedding dress. “What happened?”

    “Don’t you know? You’re partly to blame.”

    “What the Hell are you going on about, Blondie?”

    “I hate that name.”

    “Fair’s fair.”

    She shrugged. “Reggie dumped me at the alter. Again. He answered a text from your fiancee, for Christ’s sake! During the vows.”

    “Veronica texted him?”

    “Right after the firetrucks left your fiasco, apparently,” said Betty as she pounded back her third.

    “Well, that explains the note.”

    “No shit, Sherlock.”

    Jughead piped up. “Dude, you did burn down your own wedding gazebo. I’m surprised no one was killed.”

    “It’s not my fault. I tripped. Mister Lodge always makes me nervous.”

    “You’re thirty years old, Red. Grow a pair,” said Betty. “They took off to Vegas. It’s over. They deserve each other.”

    “So here we are, two schmucks dressed in our finest gladrags, getting sauced on bad booze. Cheers, Betty.”

    She clicked glasses with him. Cheers, Archie.”

    Jughead sauntered over, grasping the necks of both bottles. A wry grin crept into the corners of his mouth as he refilled his friends’ cups of solace.

    “Ya know,” he said. “I could just give Dilton a call. He’s ordained. It’d be a shame to let the moment pass.”

    Archie looked at Betty. Her blue eyes sparkled as she smiled.

    • Kerry Charlton says:

      Oh, Wow!, Doug.

      Talk about creative, You’ve nailed it. Wonderful story you have here. Dialogue is as tight as it gets. The mood you set for the bar and the MC, Archie, is gritty, realistic, especially your description of the drinks, laid before Archie. Damn it, I could taste the wedge of wrinkled lime because desperation sets in when I want a gin and tonic and the only lime I can locate, sits at the bottom of the vegetable bin in the frig, and it’s wrinkled and nasty but I pinch it anyway for a nasty drop of lime juice.

      Do you think I got carried away with your story? Well I did. Congrat’s Doug.

    • agnesjack says:

      So THAT’S what happened to the gang. Interesting idea for the prompt, Doug. I always felt Betty was better for Archie anyway. :-)

    • jhowe says:

      Damn Doug, that was great. I loved this spunky Betty telling Arch to grow a pair. You nailed the 30 year old gang perfectly.

    • lionetravail says:

      Awesome- love how you doubled-down on the theme, too, with both old flames in wedding finery. Nice :)

  21. lionetravail says:

    “I’m supposed be getting married today, ” Jasmine said, and paused, looking at me. “But…”

    “Yeah,” I interrupted, “it’s like that line from ‘History of the World, Part 1′, right? ‘No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!’”

    She laughed, despite herself. “Except it’s not the Spanish Inquisition, it’s a freaking zombie apocalypse!”

    It was my turn to laugh. The media had been using that phrase for 2 days now, ever since the craziness at Mercy emergency. It was flu season, and a couple of people waiting there went berserk, attacking other patients and staff. Simple math, it turns out: flu plus PCP yields extraordinarily cranky sick people who don’t fall over when they’re supposed to. That little equation did not deter the media, though, so ‘zombie apocalypse’ it was until they’d gotten all the mileage they could it.

    “So, bearing in mind that your fiance is probably not a card-carrying, brain-gobbling undead, why are you here, now?” I said.

    “Well, obviously, because you’d called me,” she said with a smile. “I haven’t heard from you in years. In fact, it had seemed like you’d dropped off the planet, but there you were and I felt like I owed it to you since you asked me to come meet you.”

    I nodded.

    She turned to face me. “There’s something you’re not telling me.”

    I nodded, feeling miserable. “I hate putting this on you,” I said.

    Small concern lines formed at the corners of her eyes. “What?”

    I swallowed. “The reason why I haven’t been in touch in the last few years is that I’ve only just gotten back to town.”

    “Where the hell were you?” she said.

    I looked down at my drink, still untouched on the bar top. “Afghanistan,” I said quietly.

    Her eyes went wide. “Holy …! You joined the Army?”

    I nodded. “Special forces, 5th group, 4th battalion.”

    “Are you, like, okay?” she said.

    “No, not really,” I said. I hated that my voice shook.

    “Damn,” she said, wonderingly.

    I nodded.

    “You can tell me what’s wrong.”

    I shook my head.

    She shifted her weight on the bar stool, and waited for me.

    “It’s just that they only let me out of the VA about a week ago, and… and I…”

    “The VA?” she said, aghast.

    In answer, I rapped my knuckles against my right thigh, and the hollow thudding told the whole story.

    The horror on her face was the most eloquent thing I had seen since waking up in the aid station, and I couldn’t speak past the lump in my throat.

    “Oh my god,” she breathed out. “And here I thought you…! I am such a selfish jerk!” she swore out loud.

    “I’m, well, I’m trying to put it all back together,” I said, struggling.

    “You have anyone?” she said quietly.

    I shook my head.

    “Well,” she said, and then more firmly: “You have me. You’re coming to my wedding.”

    I blinked, shocked. “I can’t go to your wedding!”

    “Why the hell not?” she said.

    “I… I’m not dressed for it!”

    “That’s no excuse,” she said, a smile tugging at the corners of her lips. “You were never all that great a dresser back in school, and I won’t let you hide behind that now.”

    I couldn’t say anything, but felt tears start.

    She leaned close, and hugged me. “We were always friends, weren’t we?” she said in a low voice.

    I nodded, my chin against the back of her shoulder.

    “So you’re my long lost friend, back from serving his country,” she said softly. “I couldn’t be happier to know you’re alive, and in my life again- you could show up at my wedding in a bikini, and it’d be cool with me.”

    And just like that, one small piece at the center of me was okay. It would take time to put the rest of me back together, but at least it was a start.

    • lionetravail says:

      (So sorry for going over, trimmed as much as I could without losing a lot!)

    • frankd1100 says:

      A moving story aimed at the heart. It’s difficult to understand why it’s so challenging for our veterans to get help. Stories like this wake folks up.

      Good work…

    • Tannai says:

      I’m supposed to be getting married today but…

      “I’m getting married today.” He paused then released a shaken breath before proceeding. “We’ll, I’m supposed to be.”
      He stood in front of me, the distance between closest in five years. Every last inch of the perfect man I remembered and so desperately craved since our break up hovered once again near me. My lust and longing for him had never left the prescience of my heart and made themselves more evident now.
      “I’m supposed to be getting married today, but,”
      His words stretched in the air, echoing loud in my ears. He spoke as though the words were for me to catch and throw back to him.
      I began to trail the neatly pressed outline of his dark tuxedo. It fit in all the right places; tightly around the arms, but a bit more puffed out against his chest. He was a lot more built than before.
      My eyes caught the attention of his pearl shoes. Fine white stitched lines surrounded their exterior. His pants were long almost draping the floor. I followed the clean apparel up until a large bulge in his pants proved to distracting to skip over.
      “I’m supposed to get married today, but”
      My hand reached into his pants and curled their fingers around its warm hard exterior. I pulled the box from his pocket, opening a large ring. The ring was for someone else. Not me.
      “You’re supposed to be getting married.”
      I placed the box in his hand and brushed past my past .

    • theduke192 says:

      Great story and it shows true friendship.

    • agnesjack says:

      Loved the line, “And just like that, one small piece at the center of me was okay.” You’ve captured the struggle of veterans with PTSD so well. Yet, this was a lovely story about compassion and friendship.

  22. mrowlands23 says:

    Froth clung to Dana’s bristly salt and pepper mustache, and the tip of his nose, as he washed last night’s hangover down with a cold lager. He was already halfway through his third pint and had finally started to dull the drumming throb that tamped against his temples, when Anastasia pushed the heavy tavern door wide open, a bath of pale afternoon sunlight streaming into the dark room. She stood eclipsed in the doorway, her thin body blotted out like a ghostly shadow, before it shut with a thud.

    Right on cue, The Rolling Stones’ “Spider and the Fly” kicked onto the jukebox, its changing records clacking like chalk erasers from somewhere inside the old machine.

    Without a word, she bunched up her bouffant of a wedding dress and slid onto a lacquered barstool.

    “Jim Beam, two fingers, neat.” She let out a sign, looked over at Dana. “So. What’s up, asshole?”

    He took her in, his old flame. Her sandy hair whipped up into a confectionary delight of baby’s breath and Aqua Net. Her long eyelashes, shiny like dewy blades of grass, which perfectly framed her grey eyes, caked with too much Kohl liner. She looked sad, unnatural.

    “Me?” Dana chuckled, his broad shoulders quavering. “I think you’ve got the more exciting story right now, honey.”

    He had been the one to call her after midnight last night, half-crocked. He always called when he was in town on a job. Their relationship had officially ended six years ago, but they had plenty of contact since then. Together for 14 years, right out of high school, their on again/off again relationship was like a wild storm that never completely let up. Riddled with accusations, affairs, restraining orders and an abortion, their love was never comfortable, but it was insanely passionate. Dana was an intense guy whose love could move mountains, good or bad. Every so often, Anastasia would drift into his mind like a warm front, tempting but never permanent.

    She glanced sideways at him. The whiskey warmed her insides like melted honey. A tingle began to swell across her stomach and down between her legs.

    “What do you want me to say? I’m getting married.”

    “Runaway with me. It’ll be like old times. Only better.”

    “Nah, I got a good thing going. And you’re a dick.”

    “Then why are you here?” He brushed a tendril from her face with the back of his hand. That beautiful face with its high cheekbones and full lips.

    “I’m here so you can buy me one last drink.”

    “You sure?” A thick magnetism wavered between them, the infallible connection of two people who knew each other so completely. Dana looked away first. “So, who’s the lucky guy?”

    “You don’t know him. But he’s got money and a million-dollar life insurance policy.”

    Anastacia traced her blood-red nails across the bulge in Dana’s denim jeans, and slipped a piece of paper into his front pocket.

    Dana pulled back and smirked. Some things would never change.

  23. Mahi says:

    Hey, this is my first attempt at a prompt. I just got this idea so i had to write it down. Hope you like it.

    It was a relatively breezy day for winters. My heart pounded loudly. Mike Royce was about to enter. I couldn’t believe i had to call him after all these years. Yes, he was my very first love. The feelings on an unrequited love are hard to let go. Even though we dated for a while but it was never a sparks flying love that i had always imagined for myself. Then one day i saw him cheating on me with a skank from our school. I was unaffected by his apologies. To be true, i wasn’t really surprised but it created a deep void inside me that was hard to fill.
    And there he is, looking as handsome as he did back then. Infact even more, if it was even possible. The same shiny locks of hair, the crooked smile and the perfect blue eyes. I tried to suppress all those resurfacing emotions that i had buried inside from years.
    “Hey Lizzie.”
    I loved it when he called me by my nickname. Even though hardly anyone called my Elizabeth but somehow my heart always skipped a beat when i heard it from his mouth.
    I notice he is wearing a full black tuxedo, i was about to ask but he answered himself.
    “I’m supposed to be getting married today, but …then i got your call and you said it was urgent so i came to you. So how’ve you been?”
    Soon the waiter came and he ordered his usual Scotch on the rocks with a twist.
    “Mike, i know this isn’t the right time or the right place and you’re about to get married but i just had to tell you. I still love you…”
    “Oh lizzie, don’t…”
    “No, you have to know. I know it had been rough. But i know somewhere deep inside you had feelings for me but you never really explored them.”
    He gulped down his drink in one sip. The waiter took his empty glass and he ordered for another.
    I continued, ” Come one Mike. You know we had a chance but you threw it. You were too scared of commitment. So here’s your chance…”
    He finally spoke, “You know what you’re right. We deserve another chance. I can’t believe i let you go. God, you were so hot! And now i’m marrying this chick who i met only few months back. I don’t even love her.”
    “So you really want us to get back together?”
    “Of course. It’s worth a shot.”
    Suddenly my phone rang. I picked it up and the voice said, “It’s a match. He’s our guy.”
    I put the phone the phone down, grab his hands from the back and handcuff him. “Mike Royce, you are under arrest for the murder of Michael Allen.”
    Soon my team arrives with their guns pointing at him and he stood there in front me being held by them. He looks too shocked specially when he sees the waiter in police uniform.
    “Wha…Lizzie! What the hell is going on? Who are these people?”
    “You’re about to know. Don’t worry i’ll inform your to be wife and you might have to postpone the wedding…oh, and thanks for the fingerprints, jackass.”
    “But-t-t….this is all a big mistake and you will pay for it Elizabeth Saunders.”
    And my team took him inside the van.
    “That was one helluva speech you made, Liz,” My friend said, “you almost made me believe…”
    “All part of the act, Joe.”
    I walked out the door. The breeze had become chilly. I shivered.
    And a tear rolled down my cheek.
    Memories keep floating
    Feelings cannot be suppressed
    And emotions are hard to let go.

  24. Mahi says:

    It was a relatively breezy day for winters. My heart pounded loudly. Mike Royce was about to enter. I couldn’t believe i had to call him after all these years. Yes, he was my very first love. The feelings on an unrequited love are hard to let go. Even though we dated for a while but it was never a sparks flying love that i had always imagined for myself. Then one day i saw him cheating on me with a skank from our school. I was unaffected by his apologies. To be true, i wasn’t really surprised but it created a deep void inside me that was hard to fill.
    And there he is, looking as handsome as he did back then. Infact even more, if it was even possible. The same shiny locks of hair, the crooked smile and the perfect blue eyes. I tried to suppress all those resurfacing emotions that i had buried inside from years.
    “Hey Lizzie.”
    I loved it when he called me by my nickname. Even though hardly anyone called my Elizabeth but somehow my heart always skipped a beat when i heard it from his mouth.
    I notice he is wearing a full black tuxedo, i was about to ask but he answered himself.
    “I’m supposed to be getting married today, but …then i got your call and you said it was urgent so i came to you. So how’ve you been?”
    Soon the waiter came and he ordered his usual Scotch on the rocks with a twist.
    “Mike, i know this isn’t the right time or the right place and you’re about to get married but i just had to tell you. I still love you…”
    “Oh lizzie, don’t…”
    “No, you have to know. I know it had been rough. But i know somewhere deep inside you had feelings for me but you never really explored them.”
    He gulped down his drink in one sip. The waiter took his empty glass and he ordered for another.
    I continued, ” Come one Mike. You know we had a chance but you threw it. You were too scared of commitment. So here’s your chance…”
    He finally spoke, “You know what you’re right. We deserve another chance. I can’t believe i let you go. God, you were so hot! And now i’m marrying this chick who i met only few months back. I don’t even love her.”
    “So you really want us to get back together?”
    “Of course. It’s worth a shot.”
    Suddenly my phone rang. I picked it up and the voice said, “It’s a match. He’s our guy.”
    I put the phone the phone down, grab his hands from the back and handcuff him. “Mike Royce, you are under arrest for the murder of Michael Allen.”
    Soon my team arrives with their guns pointing at him and he stood there in front me being held by them. He looks too shocked specially when he sees the waiter in police uniform.
    “Wha…Lizzie! What the hell is going on? Who are these people?”
    “You’re about to know. Don’t worry i’ll inform your to be wife and you might have to postpone the wedding…oh, and thanks for the fingerprints, jackass.”
    “But-t-t….this is all a big mistake and you will pay for it Elizabeth Saunders.”
    And my team took him inside the van.
    “That was one helluva speech you made, Liz,” My friend said, “you almost made me believe…”
    “All part of the act, Joe.”
    I walked out the door. The breeze had become chilly. I shivered.
    And a tear rolled down my cheek.
    Memories keep floating
    Feelings cannot be suppressed
    And emotions are hard to let go.

  25. frankd1100 says:

    A splash of moonlight pierced the dark of his study marking a circle on the wall across from his seat on the couch. A once callous Lothario, disarmed by the unscrupulous betrayal of time.
    He took a long pull from his third, vodka heavy drink of the evening. ‘Carolyn, it’s Ron,’ he said when she answered.
    ‘Ron? … Oh, Ron! I’m sorry, it’s been a while…Are you okay? ’
    ‘Yes, I’m well,’ he said, and took another sip to ease his nerves.
    ‘I was visiting the old campus for a meeting and heard about your divorce. I’m sorry it didn’t work out.’
    ‘The marriage ended four years ago,’ she said. ‘I was over it three years before that.
    He paused, remembering their college days together.
    ‘Ron, are you there…I hope you don’t ’…
    ‘Carolyn,’ he said, interrupting her, ‘I was stupid to have walked away from what we had.’
    On his desk lay her final note from those many years ago. She’d ended it with, ‘Ron, I guess I’ll always love you.”
    ‘I’ve been thinking of you and of you and me, Carolyn. Would you meet me for a drink to honor old times? You pick the spot.’
    ***********
    From a table by the window he watched her step from a dark blue Lincoln and turn toward the entrance of the cafe.
    Carolyn had aged well. She seemed unaware of the stolen glances admiring her elegant features as she weaved between seated couples toward his corner table. His confidence waned.
    She kissed his cheek as he stood, avoided an awkward embrace, and slid into the booth. Was she staring at his thinning hair? He took his seat across from her and pulled his blazer together to hide an expanding waistline.
    ‘Well, finally we’re together after all these years,‘ he said. ‘My God, Carolyn, that’s a beautiful dress just for drinks with me. I’m flattered!’
    ‘Ron, I’m glad we have this chance to talk. I’m…’
    ‘Carolyn, before you say anything, I want to apologize again for my immaturity… I was…’
    ‘I don’t know what you mean, Ron,’ she said, startling him with a flash of impatience.
    ‘The dress is for a celebration,’ she said, ‘and, being in the area, a quick meeting with you seemed appropriate.’
    Puzzled, he forced a smile and said, ‘Wonderful, Carolyn… What are we celebrating?’
    ‘You remember Dennis Kennedy?’ she asked.
    ‘Of course. Dennis was in my class…we were friends,’ he said.
    She smiled across the table looking into his eyes and said, ‘Dennis and I are to be married in an hour.’
    ‘Ah!’ he said, reading the strong set of her jaw. ‘So, Carolyn, after all this time…the worm has turned.’
    She stood looking down at him in a way that made him aware of his every blemish. She said, ‘Get in shape Ron. You’re heading for heart problems with that gut hanging over your belt.’
    He watched until she slid behind the wheel of the Lincoln and without looking back, drove off to meet Dennis Kennedy.

  26. I looked down at the phone in my lap. 12:00 shows bright and clear. My heart starts pounding faster with each passing second until it feels like it’s about to explode as he walks in. The old door swings open and I see his silhouette against the sun; the features of his face completely hidden by the blinding sun.

    He walks up to me. My heart racing…..

    thud…..
    thud…..
    thud…..

    He walks over so he is standing next to me. I can see him clearly now. His hair still cut the same way from high school. It’s only been two years but his face has matured more. There are bags under his eyes that I never remember him having. But concealed behind those same long eyelashes are those same green eyes that I fell for the first time. And the second time. And still, now, here in this little pub down the road from my apartment.

    He sits down in front of me. He adjusts his neck tie so that it’s just hanging around his neck now. He is wearing a full tuxedo. I was too “in the moment” to even comment on his attire but that is was okay because he started telling me anyways.

    “I know it’s been so long. Two years.” He fumbled around with something in his hand under the table. I took in a deep breath and tried to calm myself down. All the old feelings were coming back. The long summer days, the even longer summer nights, the stars in the sky, his truck by the lake. It was too much to contain. I wanted nothing more than to cross the distance between us with one long stride and fall into his arms again. The only place I had ever considered home.

    I lowered my gaze, trying to conceal the look of love, pain and loneliness that were etched in my eyes. He knew me well enough to know I wasn’t over “us”. It had all ended too suddenly. He went off the college in the west and I stayed in the east. He found someone there, a girl. Broke us off because “I deserved more”. The tears had went away but the whole in my heart hadn’t.

    Seeing him again rekindled the fire but also brought back the pain, flooding me in surges. He always had that special way of capturing my heart and caressing it until I was nothing more than apart of him and him of me.

    He started talking again, “I was supposed to get married today.” He comically used his hand to point out his tuxedo as if I hadn’t already noticed. “But,” his voice trailed off. I met his eyes. “I just couldn’t. I’ve never stopped loving YOU.”

  27. stoked says:

    She bursts through the side entrance and I immediately regret calling her. She’s wearing a wedding gown, the very gown she wore while telling me she couldn’t possibly marry me because she didn’t love me and in fact she had never loved me.

    The crowd in the pub is curiously looking her over, it’s not every day a woman comes bursting into a neighborhood bar wearing a wedding dress.

    She spots me slinking down in the corner booth and with a big smile screams “There you are!” Every eye is now glued to her as she gallops across the pub. Between the gown and the crazed look on her face they know they have front row seats to an unfolding drama that can’t be missed.

    “Well aren’t you going to hug me?” She demands as she reaches the table.

    Slowly I stand up and give her an awkward hug. “Hey it’s good to see you, um whats with the dress?”

    She slides down into the seat across from me, reeling in the five feet of dress that has been dragging behind her.

    “I’m getting married today, well I was anyway.”

    “Isn’t that the same dress you bought for our wedding?”

    “Yes it is but there really was no sense in buying a new dress when I had a perfectly fine dress hanging in my closet. Besides I was never technically married in it so it’s not like its bad luck or anything”

    The crowd eases closer attempting to hear every word we say. There is a low murmur as the important parts of our conversation are relayed back to the poor saps that are out of earshot.

    “I suppose thats true but it’s still kind of odd don’t you think”

    “It’s just a dress it doesn’t mean anything, it’s no different than wearing a pair of shoes more than once besides is that what you really wanted to talk about, this silly dress? At a time like this when destiny is bringing us back together?”

    “Destiny? I was just calling to see how you’ve been, I haven’t talked to you since our wedding which was two months ago. You certainly didn’t waste any time rushing back down the aisle did you?”

    “Well of course it’s destiny, you don’t think calling me out of the blue just moments before I’m about to marry another man is purely coincidence do you silly? It’s obviously a sign from the universe!”

    I’m at a loss for words and at that moment it hits me, I had almost married a crazy person. Well maybe not crazy but at least slightly schizophrenic.

    “I have to use the restroom, could you excuse me for a second?”

    “Sure I guess but hurry we have so much to talk about.”

    I quickly make my way towards the bathroom which is conveniently located just steps away from the backdoor. Stepping out into the sunshine I hear someone in the crowd shouting “run, run like hell!”

  28. lionetravail says:

    “I’m supposed to be getting married today, but…”

    She stopped abruptly, and scooped my drink from off the bar in front of me and slammed it back.

    I sat, mildly shocked. The happy-go-lucky Cyndi (her name still came replete with the heart over the ‘i’, just like she had all through high school) I knew had been one of the ‘good girls’, and she’d just tossed back a double Old Knob like a steelworker.

    She slapped the glass down on the bar and waved one lace sleeve in the direction of the bartender. “Another,” she said, and looked at me. “What? Never seen a girl drink before?”

    Two or three choice rejoinders came and went unsaid as the balding thirty-something behind the bar queued up another for her while we made eye contact. I was still taking in the fact that she was here, in what looked like a wedding gown, and was having whiskey with a whiskey chaser. I motioned for another one for myself, as well.

    I settled for the mildest of the replies which came to me. “Sure, I just never had an old girlfriend come into a bar, on her wedding day, no less, and take my Old Knob down her throat without so much as a how’d’ya’do,” I said mildly.

    My timing had always been good. The second shot was already at her lips, and she inhaled whiskey and promptly coughed it out her nose. Toffee colored drops appeared on the white satin front of her dress as she made a keening noise, her hand going to the bridge of her nose. It took her a minute or so before she could speak.

    “You bastard,” she said weakly, and coughed to clear her throat.

    I chuckled, and took a safe sip of mine.

    “Jeez, Cyndi,” I said. “It’s just like old times!”

    She gave me a dirty look. The bartender interrupted her glare with an appropriately timed “Club soda, Miss?”. She took the glass, and a napkin from him, and started to work on the dress.

    Re-introductions apparently out of the way, I decided on a somewhat more tempered conversational gambit. “Okay, I’m sorry about that, but I just couldn’t resist. But Cyndi… why the hell are you here in a pub if you’re getting married today?”

    She looked up from her gown and took a few more napkins to clean her mouth and nose. “Because, you idiot, I needed someone to talk to and you’re it.”

    “Oh.” We hadn’t spoken for at least 10 years, though we had parted amicably. I’d gotten her number a few weeks ago from Debbie, also a mutual friend from school days, but had only called earlier today. “How’d I get to be the lucky one?”

    “You and your damned ‘sense of timing’,” she said. “I’m having second thoughts, and there you were on the voice mail, and everyone else is too close to the situation for me to trust. Right time, right person, that kind of thing.” She motioned to the bartender for another whiskey, and when it came looked at me. “Don’t screw me up anymore, I really need a friend right now.”

    I nodded. We’d had decent chemistry once; when we were kids, anyway. Theoretically, I was more mature now and I impulsively decided to act it.

    She took a sip this time, and leaned her elbows forward on the bar. I waited.

    “So, I’m supposed to be getting married today,” she said, and stopped.

    “Uh, when?” I said.

    “Around 4, almost two hours from now.”

    “Uh huh, and, I guess, how do you feel about that?” I said.

    “Nervous as all hell,” she said. “I didn’t think it’d weird me out so much.”

    That was an interesting choice of words. “What exactly is ‘weirding you out’ about someone you want to marry?”

    “Because,” she said, and stopped again.

    I waited. We sipped whiskey together in the relative quiet.

    “Because,” she said again, “I’m not sure I want to be married.”

    I thought about that for a minute, forgoing the obvious “Then why were you getting married in the first place?” in favor of something which might actually be helpful. “Is it being married? Monogamous? The guy?”

    She blinked, and in profile I saw a tear track down the cheek closest to me.

    “Hey, um, hey,” I said, struggling for something comforting and supportive. That was what you were supposed to do when a girl was crying, right? And we had history together, but, this seemed awful intense for someone I hadn’t seen or even much talked to in a decade. I put a hand onto her shoulder, and she leaned in against me, and in short order I had my arm around her shoulder as she dripped hot tears onto my chest.

    She mumbled something indistinct.

    “Um, what was that exactly?” I said, striving for lightness.

    “There is no guy, you jerk,” she said.

    I felt stupid. “No… guy?”

    She shook her head, sniffed, and raised her head to look at me. Makeup had run, and she looked like an attractive goth girl who’d gotten caught in an unlucky thunderstorm. I looked down, and saw that my shirt had not escaped either, and mentally wrote it off. “I haven’t dated a guy in nearly 8 years, David. I’m supposed to be marrying this girl I’ve been with for the last 2 years, Laurie.”

    The realization hit me like a stealth fighter moving at mach 2. “Wait, you mean you’re a …?”

    “Yes, you idiot,” she spat, “that’s exactly what it means!” And she began crying again.

    Well. This little meeting of old flames had taken a sudden left turn into surreal territory for me. For a moment, I wasn’t sure what to say, but the look of conflicted misery on her face resonated strongly. I’d never wanted anyone to feel as awful as she looked, and, little revelation over, I felt myself grow up a bit, suddenly.

    I sat up straight, got her a couple of napkins and handed them over. “Okay,” I said. I looked over to the far right wall and noted the time: it was 2:14 pm. “Okay,” I repeated, and found my mental gear as she dabbed at her eyes.

    “Chris,” I said to the thirty-something, “two ice waters here, okay?” I looked over at Cyndi and smiled, and started over. “Well, we are both here, and it may not be just like old times, but, you know that sense of timing of mine?” She sniffed, nodded, and hiccuped. I chuckled, but this time with the pleasure that I could be here, for her.

    “Well,” I said, “we have a couple of hours to talk about things. Why don’t you tell me about Laurie, what you like about her, and about what’s making you nervous today…?”

    • gamingtheblues says:

      Wow. That was very very good. I liked how natural and real the entire story flowed. I could see the scene in my eyes and only good writing does that. A couple tiny nit picks in the dialogue but it did not detract from the flow. Infinitely better dialogue than I can come up with. Made me a little jealous to be honest ;) And the best part is that believed both characters. Kudos

      • lionetravail says:

        You are very kind- many thanks for the praise. I used to feel like my dialogue was my weak point, but use 3 basic principles: 1) how does it sound?, 2) keep it simple, 3) keep it natural.

        Two things have hugely helped me with dialogue- one is pretty much every Robert B. Parker novel (huge fan of Spenser series), and his dialogue just zips, crisp and awesome. The second is reading to my wife: we’ve worked our way through probably 15-20 novels over the past 10 years or so, and it’s always helped me with sounding out how a dialogue flows.

        But again, thank you so so much.

        David

  29. lhsousa says:

    Martha struggled to push open the thick, heavy wood door. The smell of stale beer and sour dishrags was all she could sense as she stood in the doorway waiting for her eyes to adjust to the dim lighting.
    She wasn’t sure why Frank asked to meet her here. This wasn’t his bar, all though it was playing his kind of music, Dean Martin murmured sotto voce from a jukebox in the corner. The bartender’s eyes followed her as she hobbled across to a booth and eased herself in to the seat. She made sure to choose the bench facing the door so Frank could find her right away.
    Time stretched to twenty then thirty minutes past the requested meeting time. But Martha knew Frank. Always late and never apologized. Maybe because they had been married fifty-two years and only divorced three she waited.
    Martha was scooting towards the edge of the bench to stand up and leave when the door swung open revealing bright sunlight backlighting a hunched man with little hair and bowlegs. Frank didn’t wait for his eyes to get used to the darkness but tottered in towards the bar blinking furiously, his cane thudding softly, rhythmically, against the stained linoleum.
    Martha watched her husband… No, that wasn’t right, ex-husband. Yes, ex-husband. She watched her ex-husband at the bar, one delicate hand resting on the wood edge, the other on his cane, as he searched the bar for her.
    “Ahh, Martha, there you are.” His voice was still deep, the bass of their church choir from when they joined until the divorce.
    She tried to stand to meet him but felt weak. Martha’s seamstress eyes took in the high quality midnight black tuxedo. The beautiful, deep dark material of the jacket sucked in the weak light of the bar and then it stole her breath. Could Janie have been right? Janie and her father didn’t speak anymore more so Martha hadn’t believed her. She’d dismissed it as gossip.
    Suddenly he was right in front of her. She shut her eyes as he leaned over and kissed her on the top of her head, the way he always did, a gesture that made it seem as if it hadn’t been three years, two weeks, and four days since they’d last spoken. That rainy day in the attorney’s office, that last day of a long negotiation to divide lives.
    “How are you? You look good.” He didn’t seem nervous. Frank had always been so sure of himself. Except now he wasn’t looking her in the eye.
    Martha couldn’t bring herself to speak, to ask how he was, how was his life. The tuxedo silenced her; as if the darkness would absorb any sound waves she could muster. So she didn’t even try, just watched and waited, unable to stop what was coming.
    “The thing is I, well, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but, um… well, I’m getting married. Today, actually. And I really need my grandmother’s ring back.” His eyes shifted from her forehead to the diamond ring on her left hand and then he offered a sheepish grin.

    • Kerry Charlton says:

      The ending was a soft touch finale to your story. The MC still missed her ex-husband, you described that well. But maybe after he asked for the ring back after 52 years, the spell was finally broken and she could continue with her own life. A very unusual touch and extremely poignant story. You did a beautiful job on this prompt. I can’t wait to read more of your voice.

    • gamingtheblues says:

      I agree with Kerry. I was somewhat enthralled with the gravitas of Frank and felt the spell break with his base request. Nicely done.

    • jmcody says:

      I loved this one, and loved that you wrote about two elderly people. Sure hope Martha came to realize she was getting the better of this bargain.

  30. slowlikethesouth says:

    “I’m supposed to be getting married today, but…”

    “But what,” I ask.

    “Well, it’s complicated,” she says.

    It always is, isn’t it? It’s complicated from the moment the doctor slaps your ass, but that doesn’t mean you play hookie on your wedding day.

    “I didn’t walk out, exactly,” she tells me.

    What a cunt. Where are your morals, your self-respect, and… your shoes? Where on earth are your shoes?

    “I ran out. I lost my heels running out the back steps of the church. My mother was chasing me, and a heel snapped. And my father-in-law was yelling at my fiancée to just ‘let the bitch go!’ so I kicked them off, and threw them in the river. Besides, your feet swell up when you are pregnant, anyway.”

    Complicated, indeed. Threw the shoes in the river along with the rest of your life, did you? Swollen feet, in-laws chasing and cursing, little baby on the way, and you acting like a spoiled child, wanting to meet me in a pub of all places? What kind of pregnant woman offers up a pub?

    “I’m not keeping it. I can’t afford it anyway. Babies are expensive. Doctors are expensive. Beer is cheap–One pint, and a shot of whiskey please!—what do you want?”

    I want the exclusive rights to punch a pregnant bride on her wedding day. “Shot of Jack, please.” Please. Please have mercy on us all and quit whatever it is you are doing. Just stop now, for the sake of humanity.

    She transitions into interrogation mode. “Why did you call me up, anyway?”

    Because I was lonely. Because I needed company. Because I stalked you on Facebook, saw you were still pretty, still thin; and now that you are a waitress and I am a lawyer, and we’ve traded places on the social ladder, I figured I would finally get to fuck the girl who wouldn’t give me the time of day at Senior Prom. But now I am just appalled at the train wreck you have become in less than 24 hours. God only knows what rusting wreckage lies beneath those high rosy cheekbones, inviting smile, and perky tits.

    “So are you going to get me out of here, or what? Are we going to have to wait for the wedding party to show up and drag us out? I’m sure they’ll have some questions for you!”

    What a question. Am I going to ‘get her out of here?’ What kind of fool would look for a survivor in this carnage? I don’t have time for games, lady. “Pay the tab, and meet me in the parking lot. I’ll pull my Jaguar up to the door.”

    “Jaguar?” she asked, with a smile creeping across her shimmering little face.

    “Hurry up, I know a hotel that charges by the hour, and then I’m taking you back to your wedding,” I directed.

    “I’ve never been in a Jaguar before,” she mused.

    • Kerry Charlton says:

      You’ve written a story of the ultimate shallow woman and the Mc’s not far behind her. A set of wheels and she throws her heels to the ceiling. Very clever and bouncy response to the prompt. The only thing missing is the hillbillys and the ever- loaded 12 guage. A romp of a sex dream. If he doesn’t throw her the keys, she’ll never darken his door again. Good riddence to her.

    • lionetravail says:

      Awesome- the dialogue just zipped, including the internal stuff. Very readable :)

      • jmcody says:

        This is excellent — Crisp and lively, keeps you in the moment. I loved the part about throwing the shoe away along with her life — that was inspired. I could almost see this being the beginning of a novel. Most people would have walked away from this train wreck of a girl, but he decides to leave with her, for the most shallow and base of reasons — a fateful decision that starts him down the road to.. what? Ruin? Redemption? Maybe both? Of course you’d have to plant a few seeds showing the underlying humanity of these two deeply flawed people, because right now they’re just a pair of high-strung lowlifes.

  31. babydoll_y2g says:

    Something Blue.

    He walked in and it was as if the room came to a lull. Maybe it was just me. His dark lashes hung over his dark eyes, his black curly hair was still perfect , but there was something off putting about him. Considering the fact that he looked like someone ran over his dog, he looked gorgeous. His marroon cummerbund looked like it was hanging lower than it should. The flower in his lapel wilted like his head. His bronze skin, somehow more pale. It could have been the lighting.

    I raised my hand to get his attention, although he wasn’t even looking at me. His head lifted and he trotted over like a zombie. He was almost a robot. He plopped in the seat.

    “Scotch please.” he said barely above a whisper.

    I gave the bartender a nod signaling that it would be on my tab, he looked like he needed it.

    Moments later, the bartender slid the drink in front of him. We still hadn’t said anything. I figured he’d be more talkative when he had some alcohol in him. Alcohol makes everyone more talkative. He tilted his head backward and I watched the amber fluid disappear and then the glass crash against the bar. Made a coughing noise with a wince face. “Keep ‘em coming.”

    I wasn’t planning to get him drunk but I figure what the hell. This was Gavin.

    “Um…wow! You had some night.” I started.

    He said nothing. The bartender slid him another glass and he chugged that one too. Is that why he called me, to feed his drinking habit?

    “You come from wedding or something?” I asked.

    “Yup!” He said and chugged another glass.

    “Who’s” I asked. I didn’t realize until after what a dumb question it was. I was ashamed that we dated, I considered him one of my great loves and I knew almost nothing about him. I was young and stupid.

    “Mine.” He said in between another gulp.

    I nearly choked on my drink. He called me, I didn’t have high hopes, for anything. I had always cared for him, and hate the way we parted. We did promise that we’d be friends after the fact. It didn’t work out that way. He broke that promise when he disappeared. “Congrats.” I forced a smile.

    He looked at me like, I am the biggest idiot on the planet. He turns to the bartender. “Make it a double.”

    “Ah!” I pulled the glass away. My heart skipped a beat as out fingers brush against but I need to get to the bottom of what happened today. “What happened?”

    He reached for the drink again, but I pull it further away. His eyes jerked up into mine.

    “What’s going on? Why did you call me?”

    “I thought you wanted to have a drink. You’re here aren’t you.” He grumbled.

    “You haven’t called me in four years, Gavin.” I fuss. “I was beginning to think you didn’t give a shit.”

    “Well, I do. Can have my drink.”

    I chug it and let the hot acid sting my throat. “Ahh!”

    “Two doubles.” He says.

  32. As Monica, my old high school flame, walks through the door of the pub, I become utterly speechless. Not only is she as gorgeous as ever, but she is beautifully adorned in a stunning wedding gown. Before I can say a word, Monica sashays up to me and says, “I’m supposed to be getting married today, but getting your call on the way to the church earlier… I knew I needed to see you, Andrew.”

    “Monica, I… I had no idea today was your wedding. Otherwise, I never would’ve called—“

    “No, no…” she cuts in. “I’m glad you called. I’ve actually been having second thoughts… you know, if I was doing the right thing by marrying David. I mean, he’s a good guy and all, but…” she pauses and just smiles at me.

    “But Monica, this is your wedding day! I don’t want to ruin your wedding day.” Despite my words, I can’t help but feel selfish. After all these years, I still want Monica for myself.

    “No, you see,” she takes my hand in hers, “you probably saved me from making a huge mistake today.” She slides onto the barstool in front of me. “Everything happens for a reason, Andrew. And your call today, of all days, is no accident. Maybe I’m not suppose to marry David.”

    I don’t want you to marry David, I think to myself.

    “Maybe all these emotions and feelings that I’m experiencing with you now is telling me something else… like I should be with someone else… like I should be with you.” Her smile freezes time as we lean in and kiss our very first kiss.

    “Andrew! Andrew, wake up, dude!”

    When I open my eyes, I find myself stretched out on a couch. My best friend is standing beside me in a tuxedo with a whimsical expression on his face.

    “Dude, did you forget? You’re getting married in like two hours!”

    I look down at my clothes and notice the classic cutaway tuxedo I’m decked out in. The hangover from last night is beginning to subside and I remember that today is my wedding day. I’m marrying Michelle whom I met a year ago.

    “Bryan, man, I just had the weirdest dream. You remember Monica, from high school?” I say, sitting up on the couch.

    “The one you had the crush on all those years?” He hands me a glass of fizzing water. “Drink this. It’ll help.”

    “Yeah. She… uh….”

    “Dude, I hope it was a good dream,” he says with a devilish grin, “because you better not be dreaming of any other women after today!” He belts out a laugh.

    A cell phone rings, and I see that it’s mine and point to it on the desk. As I drink my fizzing water, I motion to Bryan to answer it.

    “Hello?… Yeah, he’s right here… Okay, who’s this?… Oh wow, we were just talking about you. Weird. Alright, hold on.”

    He hands me the phone and says, “Dude, it’s Monica.”

  33. gamingtheblues says:

    When loneliness and silence settle on your brain; the squeezing, dizzying pressure won’t stop no matter how long you stand, forehead rocking against the dark whitewall. It is in these moments that you reach out desperately for anything, some sort of hope. I knew she was single again.

    Kelly…

    So I called her, leaving a short message. Asking her to meet me next Saturday. The sound of her on my voice mail, the guilt rising up. I want to sleep with her, I feel sick. How do you describe the feeling of losing your best friend. The room spins and I sink, head to the carpet.

    I knew it was her coming through the door without turning around. She always had a habit of stabbing the tip of her shoes twice to dislodge anything unpleasant. I looked down, I could not turn to her. She was here, for me, I was light-headed, and could not turn around. Footsteps approached, a chair shifted, dragging across the floor.

    “Hi kel.” Silence. I looked up. She was still beautiful and wearing white. White. I closed my eyes, running a hand across my face.

    “What do you want Chris? I almost didn’t come. It’s our wedding day, but Adam told me…”

    I didn’t hear what Adam had told her. Her mouth moved silently, my ears filled with that rush of buzzing white roar.

    I remember holding her hand, driving so slow down the back country road. The world a whispering wall of falling white. The trees passing stood silent vigil. On her doorstep I had brushed the snow from her hair and kissed her for the first time. I loved her, and tears came into my eyes as I kissed her. She gently pushes me away. “Chris.. you are my best friend, I do not want to lose you.”

    It fades, then, we are swimming in my pool. I try to be a gentleman but she looks too good in her bathing suit and my eyes wander. Kelly giggles. “Keep your eyes to yourself!”

    At her apartment, years later. Her new boyfriend sits on the couch. I hate him. She has told me the story about him and her. I am drinking too much. Jager. Gold flecks in the bottle. He stutters when he talks, one of those guys that can’t get the goddamn words off of his tongue. I’m drinking, laughing, in the silence I am mocking him. “Hey g…g ..g.. guys…I’m Adam.”

    The trees overhead are whipping in the fall breeze. The leaves, gold and pink stream all around me. The phone in my hand is heavy, so heavy and hard to hold. I lie down in my driveway and try to scream but only tears come. “I’m sorry Chris. What you said and did was disgusting. This has gone on long enough. I do not want to see you ever again.”

    I will never forget the warm sun, streaming through those leaves.

    I blink. She is still wearing white and still talking. “… invite you.”

    “I’m sorry, what?”

    Her eyes are so green. She…

    “Adam said that we should invite you to our wedding. He says fourteen years is too long to hold onto something so childish. What was it you wanted though?”

    I can’t help it, I am losing myself. My arms are starting to get cold, they always do when I’m scared. Tears begin falling. “I..I wanted to apologize. I lost my best friend… I loved you, I never told you but I loved you and then you were with him…and… I am so sorry.”

    I can’t bear to look at her anymore and lower my head to the table. There is a long silence, then her lips at near and she kisses me on the cheek, silky white brushes my ear. A whisper,

    “I am sorry as well. But maybe I am the wrong person to be apologizing to.”

    And then she is gone.

    Sorry its a little longer than 500 but I tried to edit it down.

    • Kerry Charlton says:

      Your writing shows intense emotions and they drive your story well. I also liked the style you use, internal dialogue. I especially liked the ending. Your description of unrequited love is dead on. Very realistic and the reader empathizes directly with the MC’s emotional stress. Lastly, you leave the writer to ponder to whom he should apologize to and answer his own questions.

      • gamingtheblues says:

        Thank you very much. I like to use real emotions when writing pieces like this, instead of ones that I have to imagine. Its not always easy pulling words out to describe what certain things feel like. I am relieved I was at least somewhat successful. I appreciate the response. It is very motivating.

  34. KurtC says:

    While waiting at the pub, your flame walks in—wearing a wedding dress.The flame looks at you and says, “I’m supposed to be getting married today, but you never asked me.”

    Startled, and turned off by her shocking reverse-proposal, you reply, “I’m sorry, do I know you?”

    • jmcody says:

      I’d like to hear more of this story! Great idea — wish you had stuck with it.

      • KurtC says:

        Thanks! I’m playing with a “much-less-is-much-more” format right now, so I kept it simple on purpose. I felt it played better with a punch line, rather than a conclusion. This is my first time sharing any piece of writing at all in over a decade, so thank you much for the comment!

  35. soochybee says:

    It was just like the first episode of friends. She’d breezed into the coffee shop, looking slightly disheveled, but just as beautiful as ever Most importantly, she was in full bridal attire. With her usual poise, she ordered a small coffee, shrugging off the curious stares as though she were standing there in jeans and a sweatshirt. She plopped down next to me and held up one finger in answer to the question forming on my already moving lips. She dug her fingers into her scalp, extracting a bedazzled bobby pin and shoved it into her pocket. “God, that was killing me.”

    This was definitely not what I’d been expecting when I’d come across my old high school sweetheart, Megan, while on one of my sleepless facebook trawls late last night. When I’d messaged her, she’d initially ignored my message. But twenty minutes ago my phone had pinged with a message from her asking if we could meet up. I’d told her the address of the coffee shop I was working at, and here she was, presumably on her way to or from the altar. I crossed my arms and stared at her, waiting for a forthcoming explanation. She tried to play dumb. “What?” She asked, all too innocently. “Oh, the dress. well, I was at the altar and I couldn’t stop thinking about you and how it was such perfect when you messaged me last night just when I was having all these doubts…” She turned her face towards me, pleading, and covered my hand with hers. “Come with me somewhere, anywhere. We can start over, together. Just like it used to be. But better. Don’t you remember?”

    I raised my eyes and gazed into hers for a long moment before I grabbed her hand and pulled her along behind me. She let me pull her up, squealing with surprise and delight. We got in the car and, with a screech of the tires, we were off. “Where are we going?” She asked over the hum of the engine accelerating. “Who cares??” I replied jubilantly. I turned onto the highway and accelerated to 90, much to Megan’s delight.

    We had been driving like this for 20 minutes when I slowed and stopped at a gas station. Megan hopped out to use the bathroom and change into and old sweatshirt and jeans I had in the back seat. I sat in the car and locked the door. When she came out and couldn’t get in the car, she came around to my side and banged on the window. I opened it a crack. “Danny, open the damn door!! She screeched at me, very unladylike. I stared at her calmly.

    “Megan, remember when you asked me if I remember how it used to be between us? Well, I do remember. Except it’s not the good times that stand out. And if I leave you with anything, I want it to be this. My gift to you. This, Megan, is how it feels to be utterly and completely betrayed.”

    I closed the window and drove off, and in my side view mirror I could see her figure growing smaller and smaller, frozen in shock and paralyzing realization. Finally I had my closure.

  36. Snow Write says:

    “It’s great for getting reacquainted with yourself,” Jessica told me, a dear friend who had been out of touch for years, recommending that I follow in her footsteps of rediscovering past relationships. I was skeptical but realized she and I reconnected because of her journey, so maybe other friendships would come of my own exploration.

    I looked at my list of names of people from my past. Jessica said to start with the one that pops out from the page first. I saw Dominic. Dom. Before I could talk myself out of it, I jotted a quick message to him, something I haven’t done in years. I suddenly remembered how anxiously I had always waited for his replies when there had been replies to anticipate. I was surprised to see he responded immediately. “Tomorrow, noon, Mogie’s.” I breathed a sigh of relief. Only one night of losing sleep, a brief meeting, and then I could get on with my life. I hadn’t realized how anxious I would be.

    I arrived early after fighting with my nerves, only to realize he was already there. The profile view of his face flooded my brain with memories. Then I saw the rest of him and realized he was dressed up, breaking my heart. He looked up at me just as this registered, so I can only imagine the look he saw.

    “Hello pretty lady,” he welcomed me. I blushed; he always had this effect on me. How did I forget these things? I thought I had convinced myself long ago that he calls all women “pretty lady.”

    “You never dress up, unless there is a very special occasion. Or have you changed that much?” I couldn’t help myself.

    “I’m supposed to be getting married today, but – ”

    “Congratulations!” I said a bit too quickly, not wanting to hear what might come next. He smiled at me patiently. Without thinking, I asked, “What number is this?”

    It was his turn to blush. “My third,” he admitted. “What’s your secret? Obviously I haven’t gotten it quite right. You know me better than anyone. How do I make marriage work?”

    I was taken aback. “You want marriage advice from me, the day of your wedding?”

    “Yes please. If you could also tell me why we didn’t work, I would appreciate that too.”

    “Dom, you are a wonderful, giving man. You were always on a mission to find someone to save. I never wanted a hero, I wanted a teammate, and that’s what I found. As much as a project might make you happy in the moment, when you fix it, you will be done with it. Or if you realize the problem can’t be fixed, you will want to walk away.”

    “You just described my first two marriages!” he admitted.

    “Make her your teammate. Good luck!” I walked out, hoping to leave him with the advice and none of the underlying feelings or memories that were flooding my mind, closing the door between us.

  37. Jamie Kline says:

    Ok, I’m sorry in advance. This is my first time attempting this and I went over the 500 word limit. I contemplated not posting it, but I didn’t want it to go to waste either. I hope that’s ok! I love how one prompt can spark so many different stories; I’m really enjoying reading all of them.

    Closure

    “What am I doing here?” I muttered to myself. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon and instead of enjoying the weather, I was sitting in this dive of a bar. I had no one but myself to blame for this. Well, maybe he was a little to blame as well. I shouldn’t have called him, but he shouldn’t have been so agreeable about meeting up with me.

    “He” was Travis Flynn. Our two-year relationship had more ups and downs than a roller coaster, and I’d be the first to admit that we were both at fault. When we started dating, I cheated on him. That should have been a big clue to both of us that we shouldn’t be together. For his part, Travis was verbally abusive and told me often, “You’ll never do better than me.” Despite all of that, there were many fun times and fond memories. No matter what happened between us, we always seemed to gravitate towards each other again. Everyone has that one love that’s hard to let go of, and he was mine.

    It had been three years since I last saw Travis; we broke up just after high school graduation. He went away to a university, while I chose to stay and attend a local community college. For some reason, the past few months I found myself thinking about him more and more. When one of our mutual friends mentioned that he would be in town, I made an impulsive decision to get his number and make that fateful call. I was thinking of bolting out of the door and escaping this mistake when I felt someone standing behind me.

    “Hey. It’s been a long time.” I turned around and Travis stood before me, looking more handsome than I could ever remember. He was wearing a gorgeous tux and his bright green eyes were focused on me.

    “It has been,” I agreed. “Do you want to sit down?” I could feel my cheeks burning, wondering what he thought of me. Here he was, looking like he stepped out of GQ, while I was in an old t-shirt, jeans, and my Chuck Taylors.

    He took a seat beside me at the bar and we sat there silently for a moment. He was mere inches from me and I had no idea what to say. Luckily, he spoke first.

    “I can only stay for a minute. There’s something I need to say to you.” He looked into my eyes and for a moment, I thought he was going to say he still had feelings for me. What came out of his mouth instead surprised me.

    “I’m supposed to be getting married today,” he admitted. “In a few hours, actually. First though, I wanted to apologize. I know I was an ass to you while we were dating, and you deserved better. Before I walk down the aisle, I wanted to ask for forgiveness from you. I don’t feel like I can be a good husband to her until I try and atone for the way I treated you.”

    I could feel my jaw drop. Never in a million years did I expect this; I knew then that I needed to say something to him as well. “Thank you,” I choked out, tears threatening to flow. “You don’t know how much that means to me. I accept your apology. I want you to know that I’m sorry too. I didn’t treat you well either; we both deserved better.”

    I immediately felt as though a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. From the grin on Travis’s face, I knew he felt the same way. He pushed back his chair and stood up.

    “Apology accepted. I’m sorry to run out, but I have a wedding to finish getting ready for.” He turned to look at me one last time. “I wish you nothing but happiness.” With a quick smile, he walked towards the door before I even had a chance to respond.

    As I watched him walk out, I knew I’d never see him again. We may have had a rocky past, but Travis gave me a wonderful gift in the end: closure. It was something I didn’t know I needed, yet now that I had it I felt completely at peace. I walked out of the bar feeling lighter than I had in a very long time, finally ready to move on.

    • jmcody says:

      Hey Jamie, I’m another newbie. This is exactly my second attempt at this. First time I went WAYYY over and no one even commented. That was a year ago. I’m kind of just testing the waters to see if I have any ability or inclination to write fiction. Yours was a sweet story, and well written. I am certainly not qualified to give advice, but one thing that occurred to me is perhaps to start with more action and less backstory. Work the backstory in as you go. Again, I’m no expert — that’s just my impression. Overall, a very nice job. Congrats on your first prompt — hope to see more from you!

      • Jamie Kline says:

        Thank you! You made an excellent point; I reread my story and see exactly how I could incorporate that back story into the main action. That definitely would have helped it flow better. I will keep that in mind when I write my next one!

    • jhowe says:

      That was good Jamie. Welcome to the site. The story was fun to read and moved along well. Your dialog was crisp and natural. I agree with jmcody about the backstory. It is definitely needed but jm gave you good advice about working it in with the action. Easier said than done, I know. Good job.

      • Jamie Kline says:

        Thanks! Working the back story in is a little tricky, at least while I was writing it. Now that I look back at it, I can see how I could have worked the background info into the action. Live and learn I guess! Thanks guys for your awesome feedback! It will definitely help make my writing stronger.

    • bilbobaggins321 says:

      Welcome, Jamie, to our wonderful little place. I am fairly new myself compared to some of these other guys, I’ve only written eight so far. This story flowed nicely, and Travis’s turn from a bad to good guy was unexpected for sure, mainly because it pretty much never happens. I also have to agree with jmcody about the backstory thing, even though I almost never follow the word limit myself.

  38. Silver Sister says:

    I appreciate the kind words. This was a departure for me, but maybe that’s not a bad thing.

  39. PeterW says:

    I almost couldn’t write this prompt. It seemed all too implausible… and verisimilitude is oh so important. Furthermore, the ‘old flame’s’ answer seemed to be already set up: that answer being, “I really loved you (narrator) instead,” and after reading a lot of responses, I think a lot of people resisted writing that obvious, almost determined response. Here it is anyhow… (hurrah for long sentences!)

    Old Flame

    Tanya Richardson skipped out on her wedding, and met James at the Midday Pub. She was dressed in all white. Why she didn’t change clothes, I don’t know… but she was stunning. Tanya Richardson had always been stunning, especially in high-school, when she had a pristine air of innocence and youth, which let her eyes search and roll, and her voice bubble with excitement and joy. And how James had loved her then. She still had the beauty. Damn, you could still feel that youthful energy.

    James was shocked by the wedding dress, of course. I saw his face. I was there. Tanya appeared like a resplendent star, in the shutter-light, the murkiness, the smudge and dreg of Midday Pub down off Brisinger Ave. Not just James, but all of us day-drinkers were shocked.

    James had called her the night before in a moment of vulnerability, most likely driven by alcohol and the siren voices of all his failures. After all, in high-school he had been the loser who had somehow gotten Tanya Richardson, (tongue her name again), thee Tanya Richardson to date him. So in that moment of weakness and longing, remembering all the years of self-pity, he had found her phone number on a social network site, and he had called her, and in agonies of shame, he had said he was depressed and low, and asked her to meet him at Midday. He had not known about the wedding. But she came anyways… in her wedding dress.

    She approached his table, almost shy, but smiling. With tact she maneuvered speechless James back into his seat; then she ordered two whiskeys. Then she explained that she had always loved him, and that in high-school, because of socially and peer pressure, she had had to break their dates off after three, but she hadn’t wanted to. She said she remembered that night when he had first clumsily kissed her, and even though she had been kissed before she had recognized that his kiss held true emotion, while the other boys, more popular, athletic, etc. they kissed out of lust: their motions were practiced and mechanical, but when James had kissed her, under covers on the beige couch of her parent’s house in the dim light of TV screen credits for an old war movie, she, Tanya Richardson, the sexy, the supple, the girl w/ glorious blue eyes, the girl w/ a voice sweet yet sassy, the girl w/ such a body that boys did not need pornographics, only an image of her to masturbate themselves to sleep, she, her, Tanya had felt that that moment under the beige covers after the movie when they had been celibately watched, that in the light of credits, in that moment when James’ head leaned in towards her’s, she had suddenly felt faint, light-headed, not in control and it was so unusual and perfect and as their lips touched, she had felt true love, true love. But she had left him… And here she slammed her whiskey down… she had left him because her father had laughed at his physically tepidity, because her friends had wanted to know sexual details of their relationship, sneering , because the 6’5’’ hockey player, Daniel Callahan, had been pressing closer and closer, flirting harder and harder, and he, Daniel, knew what he was doing, knew how to pick up a girl; so young and stupid, she had left him, but now on the day she was supposed to marry Daniel, yes, Daniel (they had been on and off for years), she had realized that he was just a social construction of what a girl should want— big, strong, boisterous, confident, a lawyer, still tall, still handsome— and that Daniel was such a perfect construction of status, symbol, male that she had originally brushed off James’ late-night call, but that morning, sitting there in the church, surrounded by a whirl of people tightening the dress, brushing make-up, curling her hair, she had realized that she had once felt love and had forgotten… you ask what … forgotten love, love, love, love, love … and so she had left the church and got into the SUV, cans already attached, and had driven to Midday to rediscover love, love, love…

    Tanya and James sat staring into each other eyes. They drank another round of whiskeys. Then they left the bar hand in hand, got into the SUV and drove off, the cans all a-rattle. And we day-drinkers looked at each other and set down your drinks and walked out into the sun to watch them drive off and enjoyed the sun’s warmth for first time in a long time.

    The End.

    P.S. Do you think that actually happened? Or maybe a drunk James at Midday told me a certain day-dream. Maybe he tore out the hairs of his unkempt beard when he related that night at her house after the movie when he knew he should kiss her and he knew that she wanted him to kiss her, but he had been too scared… he had gotten a date w/ the most beautiful girl and he had fucked it up…in the credit-twilight he fucked it up…fucked it up…fucked it up… fucking fucked it… fuck, fuck, fuck. Get me another whiskey.

    • Kerry Charlton says:

      I’m totally speechless, awed, in wonderment and proud of you at the same time, Peter, for under the mask of your previous writing, beats a heart that is true to life, tender in moments, realistic at most beats and romantic along the way. Way to go, PeterW!

      Keep it up PeterW and you may turn into another mushpot, as I am. Kerry

    • don potter says:

      A ‘day-drinkers bar’ tells me everything about the place and the people who frequent it. James is locked into a life of fantasy — what could have been and what he hopes might be. The poor bastard is stuck in a rut; and, short of a miracle, he’ll never get out. Your postscript about his day dream is my take on what happened to this lost soul. Nicely told story of what is conjured up in the foggy, distorted mind of a hopeless alcoholic.

      • jmcody says:

        I agree completely with everything Don Potter said — and he said it better than I would have so I’ll just leave it at that. Also, I love the “smudge and dreg of midday pub.” That might be the best line here. I’ve never even heard that expression (I’m betting we’re from different countries), but it is so atmospheric and so perfectly describes the desolation of the pub and of the MC’s existence.

    • snuzcook says:

      Nice creation, PeterW! I handed in my the ticket and rode it all the way through the loops and heights and dips to the slow, anticlimactic end. I think you nailed the fantasies and the self-consuming remorse of what might have been seen through the bottom of a shot glass. PS: Loved the image of the Midday’s day-drinkers standing out in the street like the townsfolk in a Western watching the hero ride off with his gal.

    • bilbobaggins321 says:

      Wow, wow, wow! This carried so much emotion for me somehow. Do me a favor and keep up yours awesome ways, please.

  40. alpal1621 says:

    Last Love

    I sat there. Two vodka and tonics later, he walked in…wearing a tuxedo. I felt my eyebrows furrow with confusion. He greeted me first with his eyes then approached me. I could feel my body temperature increasing with nerves. We hugged.
    “I’m feeling a tad underdressed,” I clenched my skirt and laughed.
    “I’m supposed to be getting married today, but,” he scratched his head.
    “But what?”
    “But,” his eyes began to water. We both sat down.
    “I caught her with the priest.”
    “What? Priests aren’t allowed to do that.”
    He laughed at me.
    “Only you can manage to make me laugh during a time like this.”
    I smiled and laughed along.
    “Let me get you a drink,” I offered. “Can we have two whiskey sours?”
    The bartender handed us our drinks a moment later. We clinked our glasses together and drank.
    “To be honest, I wasn’t going to come today,” he admitted.
    “Why?”
    “Come on, Aly. Let’s be real with each other. Some people aren’t capable of being just friends.”
    I looked down at my drink, not sure of how to respond.
    “I still love you,” he said.
    I looked up, now really at a loss for words.
    “I still love you too, Mikey.”
    “Why did you want to see me today?”
    I looked at him. I looked at the ceiling. I looked at Ed, the bartender. I looked at him again. I chugged my drink, until there wasn’t a drop left.
    “Do you remember that night you and I went to Misha Harrington’s seventeenth birthday party? We got super drunk and woke up the next day in her parents bed.”
    Mikey laughed with a look of sadness as if he was recalling it all.
    “Yes. How could I forget?”
    “Do you remember what you said to me when you woke up?”
    He looked at me. He looked up at the ceiling. He looked at Ed, the bartender. He looked at me again. He chugged his drink, until there wasn’t a drop left.
    “You remember,” I said as he searched for more distractions.
    “Yeah.”
    “Say it.”
    “Say what?”
    “What you said to me that morning.”
    His tongue traced his lips full circle. He looked down and cleared his throat.
    “Can I have another whiskey sour?” he asked Ed.
    “Say it.”
    “Alright,” he cleared his throat again. “I said I hoped that one day I would be able to wake up to you every morning until we were old and senile.”
    “Yeah. What else?”
    He gave me a look. I shot him one back. Ed handed him his drink. He chugged it down before proceeding.
    “And I’m not talking out of a drunk teenage guy’s mouth. I love you Aly Lou.”
    I smiled with satisfaction.
    “What is this all about? What is the point of all this?” he asked sounding somewhat aggravated.
    I closed the distance between us.
    “I still want to grow old and senile with you.”
    I kissed him before he could answer. When I pulled back his eyes were still closed. He looked confused. Scared. Vulnerable. His eyes opened.
    “And for the record, I would never leave you for a priest.”
    He laughed and shook his head.
    “It’s just not that easy, Aly.”
    “If it was easy, it wouldn’t be worth it.”
    His phone interrupted the moment.
    “I’m sorry, hold on.”
    He walked away to answer. He shook his head a few times. He talked with his hands like he did when we were sixteen. He tilted his head and quietly yelled into the phone then hung up. He walked back over to me.
    “Who was that?” I asked.
    “Molly.”
    “Who’s Molly?”
    He just looked down at his phone.
    “Oh. The cheater.”
    “She’s not that bad, Aly. It’s just- she’s very insecure. Her father was an alcoholic and-”
    “Of course.”
    “Sarcasm hasn’t changed either.”
    “Here we go again.”
    “This is why we could never be together.”
    “Then why did you come?”
    I took another sip of my drink.
    “What does it matter? I’m here.”
    “It matters a lot. Did you come because you wanted to? Or because your bride-to-be left you for chronic masturbating hypocrite?”
    He looked into my eyes.
    “Answer the question.”
    “I came because you were always the person I went to when something was wrong.”
    “So I’m your shrink.”
    “No-”
    “Then what am I?”
    “My first love.”
    I nodded my head, understanding now.
    “But not your last.”
    He took in a deep breath and mumbled an unfortunate, “No.”
    “Take a shot with me, Mikey,” I looked at him. Through him.
    “I don’t now-”
    “Like old times.”
    Ed handed us two shots.
    I chugged mine while Mikey observed me.
    “What?”
    “I have to go, Aly.”
    He stood up and left. I drank his shot. I looked at Ed. He shrugged at me. I was just his first love. But never his last. He was my first kiss. My first slow dance. My first bring-home-to-dad kind of date. My first drunk adventure. My first love. My first breakup. And he was my last drink.

  41. Amanda says:

    Chills crept down my spine as I felt the hot breath whisper “Jules” on the back of my neck. Smiling, I whipped my chair around, “Bradley,” I gasped as my arms extended upwards and wrapped around his broad neck. His embrace was tight and felt like it had just fourteen years ago whenever he squeezed me on graduation day. When we finally separated, I noticed that he seemed much more built than the last time I had seen him, and strangely enough, he was wearing a black tuxedo with a crimson colored tie and pocket square.

    “You’re a little dressed up for Barney’s aren’t you?” I questioned teasingly.

    He sighed deeply before speaking, “Julie,” he frowned and directed his gaze towards his black shoes. In the five years that we had dated, it wasn’t often that he used my real name. Nervously, I reached up and touched his face, “Hey, you know you can tell me anything. What’s wrong?” I smiled.

    “I’m supposed to be getting married today, but when you called me a few days ago, everything changed. You know that I never wanted us to end, but your dad…” he paused as tears welled in his blue eyes, “more than your dad, your family, just didn’t approve.” He chose his next words carefully, “Jules, I need you to know that I’m not that guy anymore. I’ve changed. Everything that I’ve done: undergrad, law school, passing the Barr Exam, making partner has been for you. I just want to be good enough, Jules. Please tell me that’s why you wanted to meet.”

    Shocked, I wiped a tear from his cheek and then my own, but before I could lower my hand from my face, he wrapped his fingers around mine, and I knew he could feel it. He pulled my hand down and gazed at the single, solitaire diamond and matching wedding band. Showing a look of defeat, he slid his hands up my arms to pull me into him, but at my flinch, he stopped and apologized. Embarrassed, I looked away and my hair brushed from my shoulder revealing a hand sized bruise.

    With one finger, he gently traced the bruise on my arm. “Jules, what’s going on?” he asked concerned.

    “Bradley, I need your help. Three years ago, I married John Addams. My parents had introduced us and basically tailored John for me. After about a year of marriage,” I paused as Bradley gently pulled me into him and finished my sentence for me, “he started hitting you. That bastard.”

    I looked down, “That’s not all,” I added touching my stomach, “I’m 6 weeks pregnant. Bradley, please help.” I begged.

    His face matched the red color on his tux, and anger raged in his eyes while his jaw became tense. “Come on, we need to get out of here,” he demanded as he took my hand and led me out of Barney’s Pub.

    “That was the last day I was Julie Addams,” I said to my 18-year-old daughter. “Although your older brother didn’t survive, daddy saved my life.”

  42. jmcody says:

    Jordan sat at the bar, nursing her chardonnay. She wouldn’t have to nurse it for long, she knew. Nick would be here soon. Of this she was certain.
    “You know I’m getting married,” Nick had told her on the phone the night before.
    “I know. And that’s why I need to see you. Right away.” It was true. Ever since she learned of Nick’s engagement, Jordan had been unable to think of anything except the insatiable hunger that had stalked her for as long as she could remember. If she could just get one more fix, one more big score, it might carry her through the vast emptiness that lay ahead of her.
    “You’re the one who broke up with me, Jordan,” Nick reminded her. This much was true too. But no matter. That was before Nick got engaged.
    Jordan shifted on her bar stool, crossing and uncrossing her denim-clad legs. She hadn’t even bothered to dress up, not much anyway. She didn’t need to. She knew she would look good to him. She liked the way she looked in his eyes, the way her own reflection shimmered back at her.
    Right on time, Nick arrived, and suddenly Jordan felt underdressed.
    “My, don’t you look handsome,” she purred at the tuxedoed Nick. “Going somewhere special?”
    “Yeah, you could say that,” Nick said, pulling up a barstool. “Jordan, you know what today is….”
    Jordan looked at him blankly.
    “It’s my wedding day, Jordan. You knew that.”
    “You said you were getting married. You didn’t say it was today!” Could he really have failed to mention this small detail? Or could she really have failed to hear it?
    “Well, because you called me up and asked…. No, demanded to see me…”
    “So you came, to see me, your old girlfriend, on your wedding day…”
    They stared at each other for a long moment, until finally she saw it – the thing she had come for. That familiar spark in his eyes, and then the life-sustaining warmth. The adoration.
    “I just thought…” he faltered, running his hand through his no longer camera-ready hair.
    “You thought what?”
    “I just thought that maybe… that you and I… that maybe it’s not too late.”
    But it was so very far past late. Jordan remembered now why she had dumped him. It was for the same reason that she had needed him so desperately, right up until this moment. Because he adored her. Because he would do anything for her and asked nothing in return. Like a bad drug, it simultaneously sickened and thrilled her, this slavish adoration. And she knew there would never be anyone else on earth who would worship her the way Nick did. And she needed it, because without it, she was… she was…. nothing.
    The rush of pleasure and power that she craved exacted its price, and she felt it rising in the back of her throat — pity and loathing, for Nick, for his wife-to-be, and for herself.
    “Go.” She waved him off. “Go back to your little wedding and your little wife.”
    “You really are a piece of work, you know that?” Nick looked baffled, as always.
    “And what about you,” she said, “sneaking around on your wedding day?”
    “Only you, Jordan…” Nick, said, shaking his head. This much was most certainly true.
    “Goodbye, Nick,” she said, rising from her bar stool. As she walked out the door, a satisfied smile crept across her face. She knew she would see him again.

    • don potter says:

      Jordan knows how to work Nick like a yo-yo. He may get over his obsession some day, but I doubt if she will outgrow her selfish, self-centered ego.

    • abhijit jiwa says:

      Jordan is a pro. Nick seriously needs to sit down and have a talk with himself.
      Good drama well written.

    • jhowe says:

      That was well done. I really liked the dialog and the way you added description and narative with the tag lines.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Great response you’ve written. A hopeless situation exists. Jordan is develish seductive and she wants a play toy to punish. Me thinks she doesn’t even like Nick let alone any other man. She lives for power only over another mark on her hunting rifle.

        There are both men and women like this and you describe them perfectly.

    • frankd1100 says:

      It’s rare that both parties to a relationship step away from the game and risk it all on the old fashioned ideas of love and committment. I’m afraid your story is more real than not.

      Left me uncomfortable, being reminded that taking scalps and keeping score is closer to the norm these days.

      Affective…very well written..

    • jmcody says:

      Thanks to all who commented. I am just starting to try my hand at fiction, and this feels like a very helpful, free writing class! I don’t know where this dark character came from. (I promise it’s not even a tiny bit autobiographical!) I actually meant her to be a little pitiful, an empty shell of a person who needs adoration because she is incapable of loving or being loved. But then I guess that’s what makes a narcissist a narcissist.

      • Tannai says:

        Your story was seriously Amazing! It was really good. I’m also trying my hand at fiction. Can you explain to me where i can post my weekly writing prompt? Hopefully you’ll be able to critic mine too. I’d really like to hear your imput. I can be reached at NobleLaureate@yahoo.com. I’m not sure how to work my writers digest profile yet so any help would be much appreciated. Keep writing! Be blessed.

  43. Loneanimewolf says:

    My whole body was shaking, my stomach tight with anxiety, God, Why had i called her? It’s been more than 7 years since our raging hormones had exploded one night, ending with us hot and sweaty, humping each other like dogs. My mouth was suddenly overflowing with saliva, choking i gulped loudly, glancing around nervously to see if anyone had heard. The elderly couple next to me continued to stare lovingly at each other, touching each other here and there, a brush on the shoulder, a hand squeeze. It was the kind of affection you only get after being together through the beauty of life, and through its horrors and still going strong. I felt myself relax just looking at them. My eyes jerked to the door when the it jingled. Eve walked in. Shit. The tension was back, three times as intense. She was still as gorgeous as the day she told me she loved me, but not in the way i did, and she’d found a boyfriend, she would keep in touch. She didn’t. On their six month anniversary. Wild red hair loose down her back, touching mid-thigh, and those long, silken legs, my brain flashed to when those legs were wrapped around my waist, tugging me tight against her. Her tall athletic body arching…suddenly i was staring into her blue-green eyes. Yelping loudly i jumped, yanked violently from my fantasy. Then i shrunk, my shoulders hunching my face tomato red. I could feel the sweet elderly’s curious eyes on me. “What were you thinking about with that lustful expression?” Eve teased, grinning. “No-nothing!” i squeaked. She threw her head back as laughter rocked her. Mesmerized i watched her, feeling desire shoot through me. Desperate to distract myself, i ran my eyes over outfit, and what i saw made my blood freeze. It was a simple white dress, running down her body in straight line, the silk faintly outlining her curves, halting at her ankles. The only flashy thing about it was diamond the trim on the modest neckline. Diamond. It screamed BRIDE TO BE HERE!! Pain made my heart clench and suddenly i couldn’t breathe, Eve had stopped laughing and was ordering a drink. Shakily, I leaned on the bar, struggling to get my breathing back to normal before she got her beer and noticed she nearly killed me. “You want anything Mae?” Just as she turned i straightened and put those nights acting in front of the mirror to use. “I’ll have the thing that has the most caffeine you have please!” I said to the bartender , who, of course looked at me like i just asked for the devil’s autograph. From the Pope. Eve frowned. “You still don’t drink?!” I gritted my teeth and nodded. Her eyes softened, and she put her hand over mine and squeezed. I froze, but she was already talking to the bartender, her hand linger for a second more, then it was gone. I sagged, my heart pounding violently. “Look, can you just get her a goddamn coffee?!” The man jumped as Eve’s voice suddenly got louder, scurrying to comply. She plopped back down, and turned to me, her expression suddenly sad. “Why did you call me, Mea? As you’ve probably guessed, i’m getting married. Today.” My pulse jerked, but i kept my face composed. “Why did you come. As you said, your getting married, you could’ve just ignored my call” I could feel my shoulders hunching, so i straitened and crossed my legs, feeling the slap of rejection when her eyes didn’t follow the movement. She sighed. “I wanted to see how you were doing, Mae. Are you dating anyone? HAVE you dated anyone since we split?” My face burned as i everted my eyes, I barely saw the bartender set my coffee down. She swore “Fuck? Really?! I told you i wasn’t into it anymore, Darlin’. Shit, i’m getting MARRIED. TODAY.” All the hope i didn’t even know i’d had crumbled. My eyes wanted to fill, i wanted to cry, sob at my stupidity. My hand reached for my nose and pinched it, struggling not to give in. “Honey…” Those soft words made me hunch my shoulders, trying to shield myself from the intense agony. When a hand reached for me, i jerked back, a sob escaping before i bit my lip. Hard. I put my hands over my face opening my mouth in a silent scream as my body shakes violently. I feel a soft touch, I jump up, turning to flee when i see the little old lady from the happy couple looking worried, hovering next to me. “Are you alright sweetie? Your friend just left, do you need a hankie?” My eyes darted to where Eve has just been sitting. It was true, she was gone. Gone. The word echoed through me, ripping at my bleeding heart. Eve was GONE. I hiccuped. “Thank you, but no, i’m fine.” I winced, i sounded like i’d swallow nails. She looked like she wanted to protest, she opened and closed her mouth, then sighed and headed back to her table. My eyes went back to where Eve had been sitting, and i just stared. Who knows how long, but when i looked back at the couples table, it was empty. Turning back to the bar I sip the ice-cold coffee Eve had ordered for me, tears dripping down my face.

  44. Observer Tim says:

    After being haunted by this prompt for several days, I had to write this down.

    ———-

    He sat in the bar alone, nursing a Diet Coke. The echo of the phone call lingered in his head. “Noon, at Joey’s pub,” and “There’s something I have to tell you.” After almost ten years of not seeing her, it all came back. The joy of seeing her smile, the hugs and the kisses (oh, the kisses), the sheer joy of being in her company. The pain of the breakup, such as it was; there were no fireworks, only the dark silence of the embers cooling. He had no idea what had possessed him to call her after all those years.

    He’d carried the torch for years, told himself that somehow they’d get back together. When a common friend ran into her he’d ask how she was, hoping to hear that she’d mentioned him or asked after him, but nothing. The problem with “I love you forever” is that it doesn’t go away, even if that makes it inconvenient.

    Other patrons came and went. Noon came and went. He continued to drink, watching the door and waiting. She walked in wearing a flowing white wedding dress, looking just like she had fifteen years before. But it wasn’t her; she ran over the man next to him at the bar and took his hands.

    “I’m supposed to be getting married today, but…”

    He tuned out, deliberately directing his attention anywhere else. They talked for a couple of minutes and then left hand in hand.

    And he waited. Noon passed unnoticed, then one, two, and three. He wished he could drink to wash away the feelings passing over him. After what seemed like eternity, a raven-haired beauty came up and smiled at him. It was just like old times.

    “Excuse me sir, we’re closing to set up for the evening rush.”

    He set down the glass and went home. About 8 o’clock he got up the courage to call; she’d probably got busy doing something else, or had been too disorganized to call him back. A girl, about half drunk, answered the phone. The told him he’d just missed her, and that she and Mark had just left for their honeymoon.

    He thanked her, hung up the phone, and sat staring at it while the room slowly grew dark. Just like old times.

    • snuzcook says:

      So sad, O.Tim, and thoroughly engaging. I found myself with several different ways to understand this story. Were his illusions of the woman he had built up in his mind over the past 15 years so pliable that he saw her face in every woman who approached him? If so, had she really said she would be there, or had he convinced himself that she had. Had she tried to tell him over the phone and he had refused to hear her?

      Nice touch with the wedding dress woman going to the other man in the bar!

    • don potter says:

      A man caught in the past. Seems as if nothing will alleviate his pain, because he does not use alcohol to suppress it rather he lives in his self-made hell. Is suicide the ultimate relief?

    • calicocat88 says:

      This story hurts. The MC’s pain, frustration, and hopefulness oozes between the words. His heart broke throughout the entire story and it was tragically beautiful. Lovely story about lost love and heartbreak. I may just have to go have a good cry, lol!

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        A desperate call for help from the MC, but nobody listens. It is tragic. Our world today is so consumed with the ‘me’ generation, his furure doesn’t appear anywhere. And yet a broken heart can be repaired if he is willing to give of himself and help orhers like himself. Turning to listen to other hesrtbeats beside his own, sometimes creates small miracles. Life’s irony is, When you don’t ask for yourself, it will be given to you, such as a new love in his life.

        The Mushpot

    • agnesjack says:

      This is so sad, Tim. The line, “there were no fireworks, only the dark silence of the embers cooling” was so spot on for the end of some relationships.

      I, too, wonder what the reality is, though. Was she actually so cruel as to tell him she’d meet him on her wedding day when she never intended to? If so, good riddance. If not… if he imagined that she said she’d be there, it would be terribly tragic — and the woman in the wedding dress who went to the man next to him at the bar could have been a kind of symbolic illusion, too.

      • Observer Tim says:

        From what I understand, on several occasions she panicked at the thought of giving bad news and avoided the situation. This generally made things worse. Later she would claim she’d forgotten and apologize. He would obsess and make himself miserable waiting, which also made things worse.

        Totally dysfunctional from both sides.

    • Observer Tim says:

      Thanks for the comments, folks. So you know, the characters are real, the relationship is real; the scenario never happened, but is very plausible if you know the him and her. They were (are) just two broken people each trying to do what they’re able to get by. I haven’t heard from her in over 15 years; I see him pretty-much every day.

      Not every story has a happy ending; the romance part of this story is over (has been for years). The getting by part is a work in progress.

      • agnesjack says:

        Tim – the getting by part is forever a work in progress, whether the loss is by sad circumstance or by death. I am truly sorry for your loss, but I know that when we focus on what we have, rather than what we have lost, we have a much better chance at peace. At least that’s how I look at life now, and it is a comfort.

    • jmcody says:

      “There were no fireworks, only the dark silence of the embers cooling.” Nice!

    • abhijit jiwa says:

      Sad tale, but I can identify myself with that, having gone through the same fire of rejection myself. Nicely told.

    • frankd1100 says:

      Well done, OT. That sense of helpless loss is palpable in your story. No one admits to it but I think we must all experience it at least one time in our lives.

      Thank you.

  45. AnandG says:

    I wanted to write a good one, but I have 3 versions of the same prompt, one is good but not perfect for this prompt. Confused, I have pasted here a random pick of all and I guess this is the worst one of all the three, with no proper intro and characterization, but keeping a count of words was what I concentrated this time.

    Jack couldn’t think of anything better than give a call to Maggie and beg her apology for what he did ten years ago. And he surely did call.

    “Hello..”, a sweet voice he heard and he recognized that it was Maggie’s.

    “Hi Maggie”

    “Jack…my God! How are you?”

    Jack was all emotional. He wanted to release all the flood of feelings, the pain that he went through all the years missing Maggie. But he did not. It would not be wise to talk everything on phone he thought.

    “I am good. Listen, I am in town. Would you like to meet me tonight at the same Irish pub?”

    “Ah! Jack. Seven years later, you want to make a move?”

    “Better late than never Maggie. It’s been seven years but there is no day that I did not think of you”

    “You must be having so many girlfriends Jack. It’s better you find them instead of me. You would be benefited.”

    “I do not need any benefits Maggie. I need love, and the void that is there because of you cannot be filled by anyone other than you.”

    “Jack…I………..” Maggie hesitated.

    “Oh C’mon Maggie love. Please, would you meet me tonight at the pub?”

    “Ok Jack, tonight. Be there at sharp 9pm. I may not meet you if you are not on time”

    “I will be in advance there. Love you”

    Maggie did not say anything.

    Jack sat on the bar stool, waiting for Maggie. Jack wore a tuxedo, the similar one that Maggie had a wished for him when in school. It was already 9:30pm and Maggie was not there.

    “You are a fool Jack. You thought that Maggie would still love you, but you forgot that things would change with time.” Jack was talking to himself.

    And then the door opened. Maggie walked in hurriedly, but in her wedding dress. She looked beautiful in her strapless white wedding gown. Jack was mesmerized looking at that pretty body. But as soon as she walked in she slapped Jack.

    “Idiot, what on Earth made you to walk into this town and call me during this time. But thanks that you have, else I would have got almost married today.” Maggie said.

    “What?” Jack was out of his mind. He did not understand a thing.

    “What do you mean by what?” Maggie said in frustration, “I said I would’ve almost got married. Don’t you see, I am in a wedding dress right now, probably the worst outfit that someone would wear to a pub, but I have because I am a runaway bride. I have my marriage in some time. Now if you love me, take me out of here, else leave me there at the marriage and I will marry the one who is ready waiting for me there.”

    “What if I say I would leave you at the church to get married?”

    Maggie was stunned.

    “You don’t love me, do you?”

    “Of course I love you dear, that’s why I have called you.”

    “Liar! It took you seven years to know that”

    “Better late than never. Would you marry me?

    “I will, but not now. Get me out of here”

    Jack was being selfish, but he thought that this is the second chance that he got and he knew that this is the final one. If he does not listen to Maggie now, then he would never be of hers.

    “Ok, let’s go.”

    And they started running.

    “By the way, who was the poor groom waiting for you there?’

    Maggie stopped and slapped Jack again. There was a pause and then she kissed him tight.

    “The groom ran away with his old flame, leaving me. I did not even reach the church and I got the news. I thought may be this is a second chance and may be the last one to be with the one I loved and still love.”

    “Is it?” Jack was surprised, “then why did you say all the crap that your marriage is in some time?”

    “I wanted to be affirmed of your love.”

    “Ah! You did not change at all”, Jack said and kissed Maggie.

    • Observer Tim says:

      This was a captivating story, AnandG. I enjoyed the tale.

      As usual it was a bit of effort getting past the language issue. The hardest part of learning to write in a foreign language is word choice; I have three suggestions that may help.

      1. Once you’ve created your English, use a program like Google Translate to translate it back into your native tongue. That serves as a check that you’ve used the correct words.

      2. Practice sentences with a sympathetic ‘native speaker’ when you can. I’ll offer my services in that area; you can reach me at observer @ telus planet . net (take out the extra spaces to create a real e-mail address).

      3. Don’t lose heart. Learning a language is work, and taking the step from basic communication to storytelling is hard work. Keep on writing.

    • jmcody says:

      Great twist ending!

  46. swatchcat says:

    “The girl walks into the bar, wedding dress of course, and scans the joint for the first poor sap to look her direction. Then, this poor guy looks up doesn’t know what hit him as she swoops down and crunches his throat.” Tom explains his scenario excited with the idea.

    “No, you didn’t think about the other side, the caller in the bar. What or where is he?” Cynthia picked the idea apart. “Anyone else?”

    “Doctor Who phone booth,” John blurted.

    “Excuse me?” Cynthia was intrigued.

    “Okay, yadda yadda, phone call. Lady shows up at bar dedicated to Dr. Who fanatics. Blue stuff all around, geek mania, okay, yah, well. Her dress is all blue, Like a Virginish. There eyes meet, they both see the phone booth and run in for sex romp.” John grinned from ear to ear, he was pretty happy with himself.

    The whole think tank resounded in one loud, “Ugh.”

    “Come on people, deadline, and deadline!” Cynthia had about had it. Sappy, typically happily ever after, and vampires abound, even time travel but, nothing original, nothing that hadn’t been heard of before.

    Tess chirped, “Um, what if the guy was where the dress? Or gays and lesbians, whose the minority nowadays? Let’s appeal to them.”

    “No, still too typical and this is light hearted. Fun. Go again!” Cynthia ran her hand through her hair. “I don’t want Pygmalion or Shakespearian irony.

    From the end of the conference table Jen speaks up. “You call an old flame from high school whom you still have feelings for and ask to meet up. Or that’s what you think at first. The flame says, “Sure, how about noon at the pub by your house.” While waiting at the pub, your flame walks in—wearing a wedding dress. It makes for mystery.” She pauses and thinks as she scrolls her tablet. “The flame looks at you and says, “I’m supposed to be getting married today.” The table knows this part but she has their attention.

    She continues, “He says, the guy starring forward at the mirrored shelf of liqueur. “Congratulations.” She turns away without a flinch and pulls a gun from the folds of her dress and blows the brains out of the bartender and just stands there gun smoking. The guy in fluid motion scopes his hand around her waist and runs the both of them out to a car waiting in the street. As he pulls away he looks in the rear mirror and two men are aiming guns in his direction. He hears the popping of guns as he skids away. The adventure begins.”

    They all look at her in amazement.

    “Well, do you have more? You need 1500 words at least.” Cynthia smiles as Jen nods yes. “That’s a wrap. Jen, you have till tomorrow at print.” They all shuffle to their desks.

  47. RiversandRoads says:

    I nervously tapped my fingers against the side of my beer mug, staring at the foamy bubbles at the bottom. Two pints down and I didn’t feel any better. Ellie was twenty minutes late now, my watch indicated. “She’s not coming,” I accidentally said aloud. “Stupid of me to even thing she’d show up,” I grumbled while gathering my things. I trudged to the trashcan to throw away the tulips I’d brought for her (she always said they were her favorite back in high school) and bumped into someone on the way. I mumbled a half-hearted apology without looking up from the dingy tile floor.
    “Leo?!”
    I looked up to see a wild-eyed woman wearing what appeared to be a dirty wedding dress smiling at me. I must have had a look of utter confusion on my face, because she repeated my name and said, “It’s Ellie! You called me last week, remember? To meet here for drinks?”
    “Oh, my God! Ellie!” I proclaimed, barely recognizing my old friend. The years had carved wrinkles into the skin around mouth, and her once sparkling blue eyes lacked the luster that had once bewitched me. She was shaking slightly, and looked a little crazy. I wondered if she had been taking drugs. She wrapped me in a too-tight hug, denying me the explanation of her outfit I so badly wanted to know but was too embarrassed to ask. We walked back to the bar together and she ordered two shots of tequila –both for herself- before she began to talk.
    “I have to tell you something, Leo. I’m supposed to be getting married today, but…” she paused, looking down at the floor and concealing a guilty smile. “I was supposed to be getting married today, to Colton, remember him? From high school? But I couldn’t do it. I’ve been in love with you since we were kids!”
    “Wow, Ellie… um, I really don’t think you should’ve done that. I mean maybe ten years ago it would’ve worked between us, but-“
    “But what?” she interrupted, “Come on! Let’s run away together. Today! I know you love me, Leo.”
    Before I had a chance to rebut the door of the pub was thrown open and a team of several policemen entered the room. Ellie tugged at my hands, urging me to leave, and when I wouldn’t comply she let go and bolted towards the back door. In a state of confusion and panic, I thrust my hands into the air to proclaim my innocence. One of the policemen was holding a gun. Ellie was tackled to the ground in what seemed like an instant.
    “Ellie Shields, you are under arrest for the murder of Colton Braxton!” Ellie laughed maniacally, looking directly at me.

  48. Violet Hayes says:

    REASONS WHY

    “I-I’m supposed to be getting married today, but—”

    Luke never finished the rest of his sentence. By the word “married” I had already choked on my drink, coughing the beer down the front of my shirt, the one I’d specifically picked as the one to make me the most appealing. Well, screw that. My face burned (very unattractively, I might add) with humiliation as he thumped me on the back to get my coughing to cease. When I finally caught my breath, I looked up at his face. Concern was written all over it.

    “S-Sammie?” he asked tentatively, his nervous stammer coming through. He’d had that stammer since I’d met him. I swallowed, my eyes taking in tux he was wearing. It looked expensive. Not his style.

    “Sammie?” he asked again.

    “I’m fine,” I said. I tried a small smile. “I’m fine. I just…made a fool of myself, didn’t I?” I laughed. It was so fake, but it was the best I could do under the circumstances.

    Luke shook his head. Paused a moment. Then nodded. “Maybe just a little,” he said, and he started to smile. “I’ve never seen beer come out of someone’s nose before.”

    Immediately my hand went to my face, and he smiled a little more. “Liar,” I accused him, swiping my sleeve over my face anyway—just in case. A stretch of awkward silence came next, me turning my gaze back down into my drink, him uncertainly fiddling with the buttons of his tux. What was I supposed to say, anyway? Was I supposed to congratulate him? Tell him I was happy for him? I settled for a different, brusquer approach.

    “Why did you even come, then?” I demanded of my drink.

    Luke shifted feet, letting a few seconds of silence drag on as my question hung in the air. Eventually I saw him gesture at the empty barstool beside me. “Mind if I sit?” I shrugged noncommittally, and he sat. He turned one way, then the other, half-spinning on the stool.

    After a moment, I snapped, “Are you going to answer me?”

    He frowned, his gaze falling down onto my drink, and suddenly we were both addressing the alcohol. “I don’t know,” he sighed. “I-I just…I s-saw you’re number, and I…”

    “You what?”

    “Answered the phone. Impulse, I guess.”

    It stung. I was, against my better judgment, hoping he’d say he’d felt it. Felt what we once had. I grabbed the drink and took a long swig, putting off responding. When I set it back on the table, I still didn’t know what to say. But he jumped in again.

    “I think,” he said, “I just wanted you to know. I wanted to invite you—”

    I grabbed the lapels of his tuxedo, pulled him close, and kissed him. And maybe it was my imagination, but, for just a second, it felt like he kissed me back. Then I pulled away and said softly, “That’s why I can’t go.”

    And he left.

  49. snuzcook says:

    This inspiration struck as I was reading these fabulous responses. I have not gotten through very many of them, so I can only apologize if I have duplicated anyone else.

    HONOR

    The pub was quiet at noon. I watched a couple seat themselves at a booth. Henry walked over with a basket of chips and took their order.

    “Refill?” he asked as he stepped back behind the bar to get their drinks. I had been wool-gathering and neglecting my coffee. It was sure to be cold by now.

    “Please.”

    Henry topped off my cup before delivering beers to the couple behind me. I glanced at the clock above the bar. 12:08. I wondered if she had decided not to come.

    Laura. It seemed a lifetime ago. I had loved her with all I had to give. But it hadn’t been enough, not for her, not for me. Now, I was seeing her again alone for the first time. I imagined listening as Laura poured out her anxieties about her new fiance. How easy it would be to feed her fears of the future, to ever so gently disengage her from her romantic dreams. I was worried that she was not ready to marry this David of hers. He was a stranger to me, an unknown quantity. I wanted her to be safe and happy, even though she had broken my heart. I would rather have her be alone, I thought selfishly, than unhappy with another man.

    Henry was stacking glasses when someone opened the door. A glance at his face told me without turning around that she had arrived.

    Laura stood just inside the door, filling the narrow entry with a wedding dress of white lace and satin. She had never looked more beautiful.

    She saw me and I realized I was standing. She held out both her hands and I took them, pulling her to the bar stool next to me.

    “Oh, Rick.” She let go both my hands, and put her own hands to her face, pressing carefully manicured fingers along the lower lid to catch the tears that threatened to spill out.

    “Do you love him?” I asked, my voice striving for a paternal and neutral tone, my bitter fantasies evaporating.

    “Oh, yes.”

    “Then that’s all that matters.”

    “I just wanted to see you and make sure you are okay with this I was so afraid it would be too much to ask, that it might be…to painful.”

    “No. It’s an honor. Besides, I want you to be happy.” I turned away, put some money on the bar. I offered a hand to Laura. “Are you ready?”

    She sniffed and smiled, smoothing her veil. “Yes. Let’s do this.”

    I took Laura’s elbow as we walked out of the bar. I could feel the eyes of the handful of patrons following curiously.

    At the door one of the regulars stepped back to let us pass. “Got a wedding today, Father?”

    I nodded.

    “I’m getting married!” Laura added, unnecessarily.

    “Well, congratulations,” Walt said, touching his baseball cap.

    From St. Anthony’s on the corner, I could already hear the organist warming up as we hurried in that direction.

    • snuzcook says:

      Please excuse the typos–I was hurrying to post before a meeting and despite several read throughs, they only glared out at me after posting.

    • calicocat88 says:

      Oh, this took me through so many emotions. First the MC reminded me so much of a friend of mine that I was beginning to think you wrote this about him, lol! Then when I found out he was a priest! My heart sank for him, that this woman he loved so much was going to be with someone else, and be happy. Heart jerking story! Great job!

      • snuzcook says:

        In another life and another time, before his calling, he had been in love with Laura. Loving is a hard habit to break, even when it isn’t forever. How natural for Laura to trust someone she had once known so well to officiate at her wedding–until the realization hit that maybe, just maybe, Father Rick was human after all.

    • bilbobaggins321 says:

      Nice! Totally wasn’t expecting that turn-around there. That’s a real tough situation for the MC there.

      • swatchcat says:

        Half my face/head is numb with meds. fighting the Shingles but still enjoyed reading this. Oblivious to typos except my own after the fact. Your MC was interesting but the bartender was more for a moment as I was going for him being the MC. It’s not unheard of the preacher falling in love thinking of Thornbirds. I was reading maybe MC was marrying the lady not a more harsh possibility that he is officiating. Nice job

        • snuzcook says:

          Poor Swatchcat! Not a fun place to have the shingles! A dear friend once had them in scalp and face and I know how nasty that can be. Hang in there!
          Thanks for reading despite it all!

    • abhijit jiwa says:

      Surprise ending was lovely! Wasn’t ready for that.:) I liked the way the MC looks into a future conversation :> ” I imagined listening as Laura poured out her anxieties about her new fiance” . That brings forth his anticipation of the meeting pretty nicely.

      • snuzcook says:

        Thanks abhijit jiwa,
        Don’t we all imagine those nasty little, self-serving scenes in our heads about how a conversation might go? But no one needs to know those selfish conversations that take place before our higher selves step up and take action.

    • BezBawni says:

      Snuzcook, this was so entertaining, I’m still smiling. Thumbs up for the idea, totally unexpected)

    • don potter says:

      Nice twist. Some commitments are stronger than love. Sorry about the Shingles; guess it’s too late for a shot. Keep writing it may take your mind off the pain. I did that after the effects of oral surgery and it worked. Come to think of it, this worked with your post because it was a terrific tale.

    • agnesjack says:

      The line “I had loved her with all I had to give. But it hadn’t been enough, not for her, not for me,” said a lot. It made it seem that he did not join the priesthood because of her, but because it was something that also had always been in his heart. Do I have that right?

      I liked this story because of that. Very nice, snuzcook.

      • snuzcook says:

        Yes, agnesjack, that’s the author’s intent. It was not enough. She did not jilt him; he did not carry a torch. He had a different path to follow and a different vacancy in his heart to be filled. But still, letting go of what once might have been, what had been imprinted long ago, was hard.

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is a beautiful take on the prompt, snuzcook. I’m sure it happens, which is why so many priests are posted to parishes away from where they grew up. It would be a sore temptation, and I’m glad Rick managed to resist.

    • jmcody says:

      Very nice. Original and well imagined.

    • frankd1100 says:

      So well written! Not a wasted word and all the ‘right’ words. Excellent flow… The bartender’s eyes bring her into the story… Rick’s attempt to be caring in a legitimate way… A double twist; he can’t have her because she loves another man; he can’t have her because of his job…

      Simple and elegant with a twist. Most enjoyable Snuzcook..

  50. ShawnJohnson78 says:

    She didn’t finish her thought, she kind of just let the words hang in the air. He stares at her blankly for a few seconds before he realizes what is happening. “I know you said something profound just now but I…” he stammers a bit under, what he perceives as, pressure. “…I mean you, well, what I mean to say…”
    “Spit it out already” she blurts out on the verge of laughing and crying.
    “You look amazing.” he finally finishes his thought. She takes a moment to let that sink in before a few tears start emerging from her already glistening eyes. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you cry” he explained emphatically pulling a green cloth napkins from the adjacent table and handing it to her.
    “Thanks” she said behind her new green veil. She drops her elbow to the table and she is now hiding her entire face behind the napkin. He doesn’t know the next move here so he lets her cry for a second.
    “You know, I feel like I should be the one crying here” he finally says. She looks up from her new security blanket with a look that says so much but nothing more than “are you kidding me”. He read this look and backpedaled a beat by apologizing. “I don’t know why I just said that. Sorry.” She smiles as best she can. “it’s just that seeing you here, now…it’s been so long.
    “You don’t want to see me?” she asks, her ire beginning to show. “You called me!”
    “It’s not that I don’t want to see you. It’s that you shouldn’t be here.” he explains. “If I am allowed to take a leap here, i’m going to guess that today is you wedding day. I know, my powers of perception haven’t dulled in the years since we last spoke.”
    “You still got it” she says through a laugh and sob.
    “Let’s get out of here. We’ll go for a walk.” he suggests. And they do. They reminisce about old times. He learns about her very soon to be husband and what she’s doing now. For a moment in time, they are the friends they were; before life got in the way and directed them in opposite directions. They walk to the church with time to spare and go around the back entrance to avoid a scene. He takes her by the shoulders and they face each other for probably the last time.
    “You’re gonna be fine. I’m saying that. The one who wants you and had always wanted you is telling you that you’re not making a mistake. Our story ended and now you have this new one beginning. And I know that he loves you because I know what it is to love you. And how could anyone not?” He kisses her forehead and directs her through the door of the church. She turns to say goodbye as the door closes. He tells her he’ll smile when he thinks of her. The light from outside fades and her eyes adjust.

  51. salliew says:

    “… I’ve been feeling kinda apprehensive about this whole wedding thing, you know how I get, Annie, when I’ve finally made a decision about something and then I start second-guessing myself, questioning everything…like when I bought that pale pink cardigan because I though it made me look like an Indie rocker, but every time I wore it (ok, I wore it once) I felt really awkward and sort of nauseated? Remember that Annie? And you said, ‘jeremy, honey, its ok to change your mind…sometimes you have to try something on to know it doesn’t fit’ and you were so freaking right; and how about the time I shaved my head because I thought it would make me feel all kinda street-cool and, what with my ever-receding hairline, just seemed like a pretty smart move, that is, until I took that first look in the mirror and, holy shit, was that ever a mistake but you said, “Jeremy, honey, hair grows back and you wouldn’t have known that your head was shaped like an anvil if you hadn’t taken such a bold step’ and…..ok I think I need to breathe for a minute…so last night, Annie, I had this crazy dream and you were in it and you were asking me if I was sure about this marriage thing and you said ‘Jeremy, honey, I have never stopped loving you’ and I sat straight up in bed and I knew what I had to do….I had to see you because I feel like I’m making a huge mistake….what was I thinking Annie…it seemed like such a good idea at the time, but, God, there is just no way I can walk into that church wearing this hideous, rented tuxedo. Don’t you think it makes me look like an undertaker? What am I going to…Annie? Where are you going? …Annie?”

    • don potter says:

      That’s one second guess too many. I enjoyed the read.

    • Silver Sister says:

      A nice, humorous response to the prompt. If I were Annie, I ‘d run, too.

      • swatchcat says:

        I’m terribly sorry but, I’m a little confused. Is this a stream of consciousness thought of the person dressed in wedding garb.? Or a conversation between two people that just has poor spacing and attribution? It seems pretty good but having to reread to make sure what I’m reading makes it hard to want to continue, sounds a little funny though.

    • jmcody says:

      I actually laughed out loud at this one. Yes, it did read like a stream-of-consciousness, from a neurotic, self-involved nut job. I don’t know why, but I started imagining Woody Allen. Great job voicing a nutty character.

  52. bilbobaggins321 says:

    THE SEARCH FOR HEALING

    It had been many a month since the mere thought of her made me sink subconsciously down to my knees in despair. The memories had receded into a deep wound now. It was a wound nonetheless, but not a fresh one, not back when the dagger of reality was thrust into my innocent skin. It was a page that was cherished, but reluctantly turned.

    Needless to say, my stomach did a few cartwheels when I flipped over the Gazette and discovered that she was moving back into town. I tried to scurry away the idea that I should contact her again. It was definitely past that time. And yet, could the dismal ashes be redeemed? I reached for my phone, not expecting anything else than an awkward clash of lives.

    My gut did a full trapeze act when, mere hours later, she left a message on my home phone and requested a meeting at the downtown pub. Questions raced through my cranium faster than a jockey in the Triple Crown, and I felt so nauseous from the emotional see-saw that I was sick with worry. I picked out my best inconspicuous, casual outfit, looked once in the dirty mirror over the kitchen sink, and set out to the pub to be picked clean by the vultures.

    I’d been sitting at my usual spot, feet propped up on the ripped bar stool, drink lazily in hand, when the doorbell jangled, and the red fury of a thousand suns descended on my cheeks. I threw my shoes down and catapulted myself to a standing position. Don’t look stupid now, I reassured myself, although I was pretty sure my cover had been blown apart.

    I turned to face her, and my spine reverberated with her beauty. After all these years, nothing much had changed, the picturesque eyes framed in with the long brown hair. My eyes sank when I noticed the wedding dress, and I held on tighter to my dismal shot glass. I felt ashamed to be the post-reception sympathy card. The birds of prey began to descend. She sat down next to me.

    “Hey, Joseph,” she said gently. Our pupils locked for an instant, and I wasn’t sure what to say. Seeing her again suddenly awakened a world of feeling, but those same feelings were working against me, against the world. She smiled, but I couldn’t help but notice the hint of discontent in her tone.

    “Hello,” I replied, in a voice way quieter than I intended. “Glad you could make it.” My arm dropped to my side, and I tried not to make eye contact. “Who’s the lucky man?”
    “That’s just it,” and her voice quavered for just a second. And then it clicked. I said nothing, but felt like pushing the jerk who’d called it off across a cliff’s edge.

    “What exactly happened?” I asked. A couple fat guys slid past my stool and exited the bar.

    She filled me in with the details. She outlined a whole meeting and story of the past six months, and I felt some empathy. She was supposed to marry this dude from San Francisco that she met in college, but he’d called it off because, conveniently, a redhead sweetheart from high school had come back. Throughout the story, more of her pain surfaced, and by the end she was nearly shaking.

    “So that’s how this whole thing ended up. Now I’ve come to you,” she ended. She wiped up one solitary tear and looked up at me. I felt my lower lip quiver once. In that one moment of time I felt wrapped up in the past, in the era of when I would stare distantly at her from across the classroom and imagine that I was not young and cruel. That our relationship would somehow be different.

    “What do you want from me?” I asked, and she readjusted one of her shoulder straps.
    “I know we’ve both been through a lot, but do you think…?”

    A smile came over my face. “He certainly didn’t deserve you, to do that, and neither do I, but I’ll certainly try.” I stood up, and she shook off the dress. “The park two blocks down?”

    The clouds above her head parted. We were connected once again. “Sure,” she grinned.

    And off we went, into a completely worry-filled, distraught, lost world. But we had each other, and that was seemingly enough. Marriage bells would ring two weeks later, and two of the most beautiful, cuddly baby girls would follow two years after. And I would never regret that day.

    Some wounds are not meant to be healed. Rather, they lead us in the search for healing. That was in my case as well. I needed to climb the mount before I reached the lookout. I had always thought that each struggle was not noticed, ignored, in my own seclusion. But, rather, they had been collected and poured out of the jar of mercy, and regrets flowed out of my body like a rushing flood. The soft pitter-patter of rain gurgling down the gutters serenaded the gentle clutch of her hand in mine.

    (I just decided to do a second one, that would fit more closely with the prompt. Hopefully someone like it. Go hobbits!)

    • calicocat88 says:

      Such a happy story :) Not all endings have to be bad ones to make a story a good read. Red-heads are awesome, btw ;)

    • don potter says:

      “Some wounds are not meant to be healed. Rather, they lead us in the search for healing.” I loved this line as I did the story.

    • Silver Sister says:

      This was a beautiful story skillfully told. I enjoyed it!

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        A very romantic tale from the MC’s perspective and a vivid description of his love and her personality. I think your prompt has a gentle feel to it and I also thought it beautiful. A lot of romance this week. A skillful response .

      • bilbobaggins321 says:

        Thank you all for your kind words. :D Really appreciate it.

        • swatchcat says:

          This is such a happily ever after, ha rah! But, wait, the mushy clicheish moments leave me puking inside my shirt because I can’t get to the can faster, sorry, so sorry. In the first few paragraphs I was wondering if the cirque de solie was in town with the cartwheels, and flips and trapeze act, then the dismal feelings and death, holy cow. It was nice and all but…

          • bilbobaggins321 says:

            Yeah, I wrote this in kind of a rush. Now I can definitely see a few spots that can be revised.

    • snuzcook says:

      You have a wonderful talent for turn of phrase:
      “It was a page that was cherished, but reluctantly turned.”
      “Don’t look stupid now, I reassured myself, although I was pretty sure my cover had been blown…”
      “I felt ashamed to be the post-reception sympathy card. The birds of prey began to descend.”

      Nice job!

    • Observer Tim says:

      Very nice story, bilbobaggins, and definitely a better fit to the prompt. Go hobbits! (Personally, I’d have been Pippin – I’m a ‘fool of a Took’ sort).

    • jmcody says:

      Nice story, Bilbo. I am new here and not sure how this works, but if I may offer up just one word of advice, I would say to ease up on the metaphors. You certainly do have a way with picturesque phrases, but I would use them a little more selectively. Less is more! Other than that, it was a lovely story.

    • frankd1100 says:

      Bilbo… I like this story because it stimulates a whole range of feelings. I noticed an interesting change in style in the middle of the story. “Hey Joseph,” she said gently. After this the dialogue and detail become gentle and clean, and tell the heart of the story in simple heartfelt terms. That took the story to another level, in my humble opinion. Well done.

      • bilbobaggins321 says:

        Thank you very much, Frank. That second part, starting with the sentence you mentioned, was when it all started coming together, while in the first part I was just writing along and hoping for some ray of inspiration to hit me.

  53. abhijit jiwa says:

    (I resisted the urge to make this into a relationship-based narrative, instead I thought it’d be a challenge to wrap the prompt into the theme of a thriller. Hope you like it. Sorry about the word count, but setting this up will take more than 500 words.)

    DEADLY DOLL

    Picture this: round face, cute lips like Cupid’s bow, frizzy, brunette hair and big doll eyes. Slender neck, long legs, smooth, almost porcelain hands. I was crazy about her back in high-school. ‘Baby Doll’ was what I called her. Cute as a kitten, but a mind that was sharper than a laser. Yvonne and me had spent a lot of time together in high-school. We drifted apart in college, when I moved to Edgemont and she remained in San Diego. We met briefly while she was in college once, but after that we stayed away. I was recruited by K-Division after I completed my training, and it was only yesterday that I was told that Yvonne too had been working for K-Division. And I never knew all these years! She’d been posted up north in Seattle, and was brought in to this assignment specially. Why, I wondered, as I sat in the bar, swishing my Manhattan around in my glass.

    Yvonne walked in just as I was ordering my second drink. For a moment there, time stood still, and all the layers of the years just disappeared. She hadn’t changed much. Work and life had put their stamp on her, but the innocence on her face still lingered. Same baby-doll face. I watched her as she walked over to me, the same bouncy gait she always had, frizzy hair bobbing up and down. Surprise surprise! She wore a wedding dress! Smile on her face, slowly brightening up, lighting up her entire face. Its the same feeling you get during the intermission in a theater, when the lights slowly fade-in. Like a glow. A pang of regret washed over me. I wish life hadn’t kept us apart. I surprised myself; somewhere deep down,……. I was still drawn to her. Yvonne Summers was still sexy as hell!
    “Hey Dave! “ she greeted me as I got up to meet her half way. We hugged.
    “God! You haven’t changed much!” I said.
    She laughed that sexy, throaty laugh of hers. “Jeans! I was just about to say the same thing about you!” ‘Jeans’ was an expression we used back in school, when we said the same thing together at the same time.
    “Why the wedding dress?” I asked.
    A mischievous smile crossed her face. “I’m supposed to be getting married today, but …” she threw her head back and laughed. “Nah,…… gimme a drink and I’ll tell you about it.”

    I ordered a drink for her and we talked. Years went by in a fizz as we made up for lost time as much as we could. She hadn’t known I was in K-Division either, until they told her yesterday.
    “Why did you take up this assignment, and what is it, if I may know?” I asked.
    Yvonne took a sip of her drink. “Lorraine………..”, she said.
    Lorraine was her colleague, as I came to know, and they had grown very close. Blood sisters.
    Lorraine had initiated her into the professional aspects of her work. Assassination one among them. Lorraine knew guns like she knew her nail polish, and pretty soon Yvonne had become a pro. She could take out a mark not just with a sniper rifle, but even bare-handed.
    And “Andre” had killed her. Killed her best friend. “Andre”, as he was known in K-division, was a mercenary, working for the Russians and had been supplying his Russian contacts with classified material. K-division was ordered to take him out. Andre was to be stopped at any cost. And as soon as possible.
    “I’m doing it for Lorraine.” Yvonne said finishing her drink. “Lorraine was getting married when Andre shot her. Last place you’d expect an attack. She died before hitting the floor.”
    So that explained the wedding dress.
    “Why did you ask to meet here?” I asked.
    “Because I’m leaving back immediately. An ongoing project I’m working on. Just had to say hi to you. But Ill arrange for us to meet again. I want to make up for the years we missed” She said with a light smile.
    “Is Andre in town?” I asked.
    “Very much. He’s staying at his villa, a little out of town.
    “Great” I said. “Whats the plan?”
    She looked at me with a deep look. The expression on those big doll eyes were far away.
    “He has a habit of asking for girls to entertain him. We arranged it so I could fill in.”
    “How are you going to do it?” I asked, curiosity getting the better of me. I know how I’d do it. But how would baby doll do it?
    “He’s going to open the door, I’ll tell him this is a special costume party as I like to dress up for my appointments. I will entertain him for some time, will slip him a special psychoactive pill. Get him hooked. He’s going to be high, but will not be in control of his limbs. Tie him up to the bed securely . I am told he loves that. “
    “And then?” I asked.
    “Then I’m going to shoot his kneecaps off.” I winced inwardly. That would pain like hell.
    “And then…?” I asked.
    Yvonne, opened up her shoulder bag, and let me peer inside quickly. I could just make out the black pack of the C4. “I’m going to tape this onto his chest, then walk away and detonate it on my way out”
    She winked,grabbed her bag, and finished the last sip of her drink.
    “See you later Dave. Lots to catch up on” , She blew me a kiss, waved and walked out, with the same sexy bouncy walk of hers.

    Baby doll.
    Cute.
    Deadly.

  54. Mick0712 says:

    I sat in the pub waiting for Beth to show up. I kept thinking I should have been nervous, and was surprised at how calm I felt. Not much rattled me these days.

    The beer was good. Just like I remembered, but had never really appreciated before. One of the many things I’d taken for granted when I was younger. Just liked I did with Beth.

    We were high-school sweethearts in a small town. After we graduated it quickly became apparent that Beth wanted to stay. She cried the day we broke up, begged me to stay with her, but I was young and out to prove something to the world.

    I noticed the wedding dress as soon as she entered the pub. Most would have found this shocking, but knowing her as I did, I took it in stride. I once asked her to pick me up some beer from the local grocer. She arrived with aspirin. Only aspirin. Further questioning revealed she’d worried I’d drink too much, and end up hung over, which means I’d need the aspirin, but while finding that she forgot all about the beer. Typical Beth.

    She rushed over and hugged me before I could even leave my seat. She gave the best hugs. Finally releasing me, she slid into the booth across from me.

    Noting my pointed look at her attire she offered, “I was supposed to be getting married today, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.”

    “Oh?” I queried.

    “Well so far, I’m the only one who has shown. Even the guests haven’t arrived

    “Beth, what time were you supposed to get married?”

    “10:00 am at the church across the street.”

    I looked out the window at the church, noted the sign and smiled.

    “Do you have one of your invitations?”

    She opened her bag and handed me one. I glanced at it, turned it towards her and pointed to the time.

    “This 10 AM looks an awful lot like 1 PM, which matches the time on the church’s sign over there.” a slight grin on my face.

    Her face lit up with excitement.

    “It was supposed to be at 10! They printers must have gotten the time wrong!”
    “I’m sure they did, Beth” I said knowingly.

    She reached across to hug me again and said, “I must get back to the church. I’m sorry I can’t stay longer. I have almost everything I need.”

    “Almost?” I asked.

    “Well they say you’re supposed to have old, new, borrowed and blue. I just need something blue.”

    I thought for a second and said, “Here, take this.”

    I slipped a bracelet off of my wrist handing it to her She looked at it for a second and said, “Hey, this is one of those cancer bracelets, right?”

    I nodded.

    “Will you be here when we get back from our honeymoon?”

    “Yes.” I lied.

    She hugged me and was gone. I wish I could have told her I loved her once more.

  55. john godfrey says:

    Finale

    Our reconnection had been sudden, like our meeting at my best friend Chloe’s wedding. Our nights together had been small and personal, like the pub. Our breakup had been harsh, like the weather outside. When Harry walked into the pub, tuxedo ruffled, tie undone, hair in wild bunches, I knew that the meeting we were about to have would change our lives forever. He ordered a small black coffee from the bartender and sat down across from me at the small table. We looked into each other’s eyes for the first time in three years.

    “Did I drag you away from something important?” I said, gesturing to the tuxedo. I tried smiling a small smile, but it ended up looking more like a frown.

    “I’m supposed to get married today, Anna.” Harry told me in a quiet voice. “But, you said you wanted to talk, so let’s talk.”

    On cue, the bartender walked into the back (to get more alcohol or coffee beans or something) and the petite teenager on the laptop in the corner left the pub without a word. Both of this was done to give us more privacy. We continued.

    “I loved you, Harry. I think I still do. More than you could ever imagine. I know you love me too. But missing your wedding to talk to me, it’s not that important. Why would you do such a thing?”

    “I already told Blair about us meeting. We’ve decided to go next week to Las Vegas and do a cheap wedding. Nothing fancy.” he said.

    Hearing her name, I could picture Blair and all of the things she had done to me: showing up with one of my exes at my eighteenth birthday party and kissing in front of me, hiring the assassin to go after my politician father, and now taking away my true love, Harry Watts.

    “Blair? How could you marry that bitch? After everything she has done to me, to us? She tried to have my father murdered just so her father could fill the final spot in the president’s cabinet. Harry, I love you. I always have. And this whole time, our whole lives, we’ve felt a connection; I know you feel it too.” I said.

    I put my hand on his, and he did not shrink away. Instead, he leaned in closer to my face.

    “Let’s do the right thing, Harry.” I said, “Let’s go to the chapel in Vegas, let’s forget about Blair and my father and everyone and everything else. It’s time, Harry. We’ve gone through the ups and downs of a relationship so many times…I think we’re ready. Let’s get married.”

    And for the final time, we kissed and walked out of the pub, heading for Nevada, heading for a better life. The theme music played us out…
    ***
    “Cut!” the director barked.

    As Paul Foreman and Danielle Edwards, who had played Harry Watts and Anna Shapiro respectively for the past twelve years on the teen-drama “Fish” (or “Freshman” outside of the U.S.) walked off the set, they were treated to applause from the other cast members and crew for a final job well-done.

  56. Silver Sister says:

    All I can say is when I love, I love completely. Ours is complex history. Nate was actually my sister’s boyfriend in school. Miranda loved him painfully through her junior and senior years – my freshman and sophomore years. He was always such a flirt. I was young and easily flattered and confused.

    I believe what happens to us as teenagers – we feel more acutely than at any other time of our lives. Nate stuck around until the year after he graduated. He left without a word. I felt his disappearance keenly. Still do.

    I sipped my ginger ale. Nate wasn’t easy to find. I was grateful he agreed to join me at this pub. He was wary at first. Who wouldn’t be? A few rehearsed phrases in a well-chosen tone helped convince him.

    When he sauntered through the door, I saw him before he spotted me. I had sometimes wondered what I’d feel when I saw him again. Regret? Resentment? Disappointment in him after not seeing him in a decade? I felt none of those. All I felt was happiness. Pure happiness.

    I arranged my bag on the table, then slid from the booth to reveal myself. His smile was just how I remembered. I yielded to his hug. When he unbuttoned his coat, I glimpsed his tuxedo. That rattled me. “I’m flattered you consider seeing me an event,” I said. “But its hardly black-tie.”

    “I’m supposed to get married today, but . . .” I stepped back. A qualm flickered inside me, but I doused it. Nate looked me over. “But I couldn’t resist a summons from Little Miss Untouchable. Not after all these years.” Smiling, he gestured to my drink. “Let me catch up.”

    “No time.” I moistened my lips. “This being your wedding day, I assume you’re under certain . . . time constraints.”

    “Well, yes.”

    “Then you’ll agree there’s no use wasting precious time acting coy?”

    His eyes darkened. “Yes.”

    “And when given the opportunity to get what you want, you should seize it?”

    “Yes.”

    I gently tugged his lapel with my left hand. I eased closer with every word. “Nathan James Schae . . .”

    His pupils dilated. “Yes?”

    With my right hand, I whipped the papers from my bag and whapped him in the chest. “You’ve been served.”

    His face was a buffet of emotions: aroused, confused, shocked, incredulous. I gorged on them all. How I wished Miranda could be here. I committed it to memory. I wanted to describe every delicious moment to her.

    When I love, I love completely. I love my sister and nephew. My nephew’s father, well, I harbor strong feelings for him, too. Just not the loving kind. He abandoned my young sister to raise her eight-month-old son alone. No word. Just gone. It’s a wrong I never forgot.

    I slung my bag over my shoulder. Nate gaped at the documents as if they were in written in Klingon. I helped him out as I breezed past. “Pay your child support, asshole.”

  57. Zane says:

    Mark was nearly finished shredding a third napkin into confetti when he realized how hard he had been eyeballing one particular beauty sitting on the second shelf. It was that bottle of Jack Daniels he couldn’t take his eyes off of. That was, or used to be; he heard she quit drinking, Emily’s favorite drink.

    It was unfortunate, but not much of a coincidence that his favorite memories involved what was ultimately thier undoing. Mark was the one who introduced a seventeen year old Emily to alcohol. It was a party, she was the youngest (and prettiest) and he walked over and offered her a drink. The beginning of the end he thought.

    He glanced up at the screen just in time to hear Dink Wiperman plug the program which was to follow at the top of the hour. And right on cue as if she had been sitting behind the penalty glass waiting for the ref to let her out, Emily ran into the pub. She looked so beautiful that at first Mark didn’t even realize she was wearing a wedding gown.

    “Emily!” He stood and awkwardly held his arms out to his sides not knowing if a hug would be appropriate.

    “Hey Mark. Good to see ya.” Then she turned to the bartender. “Double Jack and diet Coke.” Then back to Mark, almost as an afterthought. “What are you drinking?”

    “Uh, sure. Same thing. I heard you gave up drinking.”

    “I did,” she said with a laugh.

    “Why is that so funny?”

    The bartender slid two short glasses filled with mostly amber colored liquid in front of them. Emily snatched hers from the bar, drinking the contents in one long pull.

    “Oh yeah, that’s the mother fucker!” She held her glass up as if to prove it was empty. “Another one please.”

    She still cusses like a sailor, he thought. He was still waiting for her to answer the original question when he realized she had already forgot; about the question? About him?

    “Emily, what the hell is going on?” Over the course of this question being asked she downed her second drink (forth, taking into consideration they were doubles).

    “Fuck, I should have eaten something first. I’ll be right back,” she said and skirted off towards the ladies’ room (if that was the right word for it).

    Five minutes later Emily returned smelling slightly of Jack Daniels and vomit.

    “I guess I owe you an explanation. I’m getting married, or I think I’m getting married. To my AA counselor.” She looked flushed and uncomfortable in her dress. She was attempting to arrange her breasts in a more comfortable position as she spoke. “Another drink?”

    Mark hadn’t even touched his first. “I’m good. Thanks.”

    She ordered another and then another after that one. Over the next hour she told Mark about getting sober, about getting arrested, about losing her job, about Stanley, and finally about how unhappy she was.
    “I’d been thinking a lot about how I’d rather be drunk and happy then sober and miserable. I’ve been looking for some sign that suggested a different path. Stan, he’s like a rock. He’s solid. He’s a good man, but holy shit is he fucking boring!”

    “Emily, I don’t know how I feel about you leaving Stan for me. I doubt you’d think I’m very fun nowadays either. This is the most I’ve drank in a long time.”

    Emily laughed as if he had just told a joke instead of pouring out his heart. “Oh shit! No, no, no. I’m not leaving him for you, you dummy! I’m leaving him for Jack!”

    And with that final toast she emptied her glass and stumbled out of the pub. Mark was left to pick up the tab.

  58. Slynnberg33 says:

    “I’m supposed to be getting married today, but then you called and it sounded so urgent,” she said, half-lounging the mermaid-style wedding dress that prevented proper sitting.

    “I know, but you’re here instead, so I have to ask, Margo. If you dropped everything to get here to meet with me, don’t you think maybe you’re marrying the wrong person?” I said, stirring the cherries in my whiskey Coke. I loved that about this place; no drink went without garnish.

    “Eric is a much better match for me than you. In some very important ways.” She smiled, trying to make it a joke. I was never going to find this funny.

    The waitress with a high ponytail and her apron inside out came by. “Can I get you something?” she asked Margo, not even batting an eye at Margo’s awkward sitting and unusual attire.

    “No, thank you. I have to get going shortly,” she replied, looking at me for the last remark. The waitress wandered away.

    “Why did you come?” I asked.

    “You sounded stressed. I thought it was something bad.”

    “It is bad. You’re marrying someone totally wrong for you,” I said, attempting a smile to make it seem like a joke.

    “He’s right for me,” she said with so much confidence it almost seemed forced. Or maybe I was only hoping it was forced.

    “Why wasn’t I invited?” I asked. “I thought we were friends.”

    “We are friends. Eric just…” She paused. “You make him uncomfortable.”

    I raised my eyebrows. “Well, that’s to be expected. I guess he doesn’t want to be reminded that you might one day wake up and realize this is the lie.”

    Her eyes narrowed instantly. “It’s not a lie.”

    “You want a wedding and kids, you want to be normal,” I said. “I get it. I get that that is more important to you than being true to yourself.”

    “I am being true to myself. You’re starting to piss me off, so if that’s all, then I could use a hand out of this booth.”

    I stood up and took her extended hand, pulling her up and close to me. I had her trapped between the booth and my body so I slipped my other hand around her waist, feeling the ripples of the rouched satin ever so slightly warm from her skin beneath. I saw a glimpse of fear in her lovely eyes, but I kissed her anyway.

    She didn’t push me away, but it didn’t feel the same as it had. Maybe I was over her after all.

    When I released her, she said, “Satisfied?”

    “Yes,” I said, letting go. “As long as he believes you.”

    Her eyes sharpened again. “He knows the truth of me.”

    “I thought I knew the truth of you.”

    “You knew what I thought I knew. I was wrong. I have to go to my wedding now.” She pushed me aside, but looked at me one last time. I could see the remnants of my lip gloss shimmering over her pink lipstick. “Don’t call me again, Megan. We were over a long time ago,” she said. “Find another girl to love.”

  59. Wordnerdgirl says:

    Josh’s thin frail frame appeared in the arched doorway of the pub. His tuxedo was rumpled and creased and hung loosely on his broad shoulders. There was something awkward about the way he was carrying himself.
    My brain contemplates as he walks over, trying to analyze what memo I had missed about our get together since I was way underdressed. He sits down. Licking his cracked lips, he starts to speak.
    “I’m supposed to get married today, but I couldn’t get you out of my heart,” he stated matter of factly with a simple shoulder shrug.
    “I never stopped thinking about you either, that’s why I called, but my intention was never to cause any trouble in your life.”
    My eyes filled with tears and I blinked, desperately trying to hold them in their place. I had waited years to approach him and my timing couldn’t be any more “off”. I took another chug of my black and tan as he continued on.
    “I remember the last time I saw you. You had stopped at the doorway to turn around and smile at me after we had just made love. Your hair was wild and dampened with sweat. Your cheeks were pink with the flush of exertion. I wanted you to stay so badly but you said you couldn’t, you had to go and I never saw you again.”
    My breath left my body through the aching hole that has seemed to develop in my sternum. The time for excuses had long since passed.
    “I didn’t know how to tell you when I found out I was pregnant. I felt like my life would be over if I kept it. I knew you would try to talk me out of it and I couldn’t take the look on your face. “
    “I know.”
    “What do you mean, “I know”?
    Josh’s head turned to look beside us. My first glimpse was of miniature black patent leather shoes with chubby feet in white tights shoved into them. Hazel eyes studied me beneath chestnut curls. Her dress was white taffeta with lace trim.
    “It’s time to go, Papa.” she chimed. “We have to be getting back.”
    I couldn’t stop staring at her and Josh hadn’t stopped staring at me.
    He stood swiftly and scooped her up in his arms.
    “Don’t go! Please!” I begged jumping up.
    I reached out to touch his arm but he drew it back from me. I felt a wave of goose bumps cover by body causing every small hair to stand on end.
    My eyes searched his face. It was drawn and sallow and his brown sunken eyes were plagued with sadness. He spoke one last time before her turned to leave.
    “God be with you Elizabeth and so will we.”
    A little hand waved over her daddy’s shoulder as they walked across the pub and out through the closed door.

    • Wordnerdgirl says:

      I am a newbie here and just getting back into writing after ten years. Sorry the formatting is a bit off it is my first post. I would take any constructive feedback. Thanks much

  60. Critique says:

    My hands were sweating and it wasn’t from the cold beer stein. Was I being a fool? I’d heard Barb was back in town and on a crazy whim I called her. The door to the pub swung open and my eyes drank in a tall red head wearing – a wedding dress.

    Barb hurried across the room holding up the long skirt in both fists.

    “Ben.” She hiked herself up on the bar stool beside me. “Wow, it’s so good to see you.” She tucked hair behind her ears with trembling fingers.

    Shocked I stared into fearful blue eyes. “Barb… I’m … it’s great to see you too.” I leaned over and hugged her. She looked dazzling – smelled so good. She hugged me back.

    I ordered a soda for her.

    “I know how weird this must look.” She gestured at her dress. “I’m supposed to be getting married today, but I’ve just had the shock of my life.”

    “Who’s the lucky dude?” My mind whirled.

    She pulled up a spaghetti strap that had fallen off her shoulder. “Do you remember Dennis Pullen? The star quarterback two years ahead of us in High School?”

    Every bozo in the bar was staring at her. I wanted to punch someone.

    “He ran for Town Councillor last year didn’t he?” He’d lost by a wide margin. I decided I hated the guy.

    “I didn’t know who to talk to and out of the blue you called.” She bit her lip.

    “Kitten you can tell me anything.” I slipped using the old familiar nickname.

    “Ben.” Her voice dropped to a whisper. “He murdered Carl Philips. He doesn’t know I heard him talking on the phone last night.”

    It made front page news ten days ago. A suspicious death. Carl fell off an eight story balcony. No drugs or alcohol in his system.

    “Even this morning – our wedding day – I didn’t want to believe it. I must have given myself away. He had this… this cold look in his eyes and he wouldn’t let go of my arm.” She rubbed the bruises on her arm. “A lot of the guests were arriving and I managed to get away.”

    “We need to go to the police Barb.” I was feeling a little murderous myself.

    She glanced up fearfully when the pub door opened. “The wedding will have started and Dennis will know.”

    We were a strange duo – me in t-shirt and jeans and a gorgeous woman in a wedding dress – driving down back streets to the police station.

    It’s been two months now and the bad news is Dennis disappeared. The police believe he left the country.

    Barb and I are seeing each other again. Our future looks bright.

    Call it luck or fate, I’m glad I listened to my gut feeling and called Barb that night.

  61. Snow Write says:

    “It’s great for getting reacquainted with yourself,” Jessica told me, a dear friend who had been out of touch for years, recommending that I follow in her footsteps of rediscovering past relationships. I was skeptical but realized she and I reconnected because of her journey, so maybe other friendships would come of my own exploration.

    I looked at my list of names of people from my past. Jessica said to start with the one that pops out from the page first. I saw Dominic. Dom. Before I could talk myself out of it, I jotted a quick message to him, something I haven’t done in years. I suddenly remembered how anxiously I had always waited for his replies when there had been replies to anticipate. I was surprised to see he responded immediately. “Tomorrow, noon, Mogie’s.” I breathed a sigh of relief. Only one night of losing sleep, a brief meeting, and then I could get on with my life. I hadn’t realized how anxious I would be.

    I arrived early after fighting with my nerves, only to realize he was already there. The profile view of his face flooded my brain with memories. Then I saw the rest of him and realized he was dressed up, breaking my heart. He looked up at me just as this registered, so I can only imagine the look he saw.

    “Hello pretty lady,” he welcomed me. I blushed; he always had this effect on me. How did I forget these things? I thought I had convinced myself long ago that he calls all women “pretty lady.”

    “You never dress up, unless there is a very special occasion. Or have you changed that much?” I couldn’t help myself.

    “I’m supposed to be getting married today, but – ”

    “Congratulations!” I said a bit too quickly, not wanting to hear what might come next. He smiled at me patiently. Without thinking, I asked, “What number is this?”

    It was his turn to blush. “My third,” he admitted. “What’s your secret? Obviously I haven’t gotten it quite right. You know me better than anyone. How do I make marriage work?”

    I was taken aback. “You want marriage advice from me, the day of your wedding?”

    “Yes please. If you could also tell me why we didn’t work, I would appreciate that too.”

    “Dom, you are a wonderful, giving man. You were always on a mission to find someone to save. I never wanted a hero, I wanted a teammate, and that’s what I found. As much as a project might make you happy in the moment, when you fix it, you will be done with it. Or if you realize the problem can’t be fixed, you will want to walk away.”

    “You just described my first two marriages!” he admitted.

    “Then don’t repeat them. Make her your teammate. Good luck!” I walked out, hoping to leave him with the advice and none of the underlying feelings or memories that were flooding my mind, closing the door between us, before I could ruin what I already have.

    • frankd1100 says:

      This is a neat story. Set up with a well crafted setting and excellent dialogue.

      The marital advice makes sense. I could have used it a few years ago.

      You write well…

      • Snow Write says:

        Thanks, frankd1100. I’m new to all of this, and found it was an interesting challenge to create a story with a word cap. I keep reminding myself I should make more time to practice my writing and read what others write (on here). Eventually it will become a habit, right?!

  62. Ryguy says:

    I clenched the steering wheel of my parked car. Every few seconds I would risk another anxious glance at my phone. I gave an exasperated sigh, finally releasing my death grip from the wheel The first of February had finally arrived.

    This day was an anniversary of two kinds. It was the day I broke up with Eric but also something more unusual. Eric was never the type to just cut people off. Instead, we made a pact. We would move on with our lives, except for this one day. We would go to the sleazy Irish pub where we first met and catch up on the progress, and setbacks, of our lives.

    I laughed a frigid laugh, still parked in my Chevy and recalled previous visits with him. I would always rub it in his face that I had made two promotions at the hospital. He would just smile, prop his legs up on the table, and congratulate me. This always upset me.

    A text message snapped me out of my nostalgia, lighting up the dim car. I took a deep breath, “Here it goes.”

    I started the car and drove the few dreaded blocks to Ben’s Pub. Making my way inside, my stomach turned. I almost didn’t recognize him at first. There he was, decked out in the most fashionable tux I had seen. He beckoned me to come have a seat, a broad smile on his face. I sat down slowly, the look on my face demanding an explanation for his formality.

    He just laughed, “Calm down, Ryan. I’m supposed to be getting married to Rick.”

    “What?” I asked without thinking.

    “I’m engaged to Rick. You would know that if you weren’t too busy to answer your phone.”

    “I… What?” I was completely without words.

    “No worries, Ryguy. But I do have to tell you something. This will be my last day with you.”

    “I’m not following any of this, Eric. Rick is a joke. You know he’s a cheater.” I retorted, propping my legs on the table and taking a swig of my lager.

    Eric laughed at my uncanny, informal behavior. He always brought out the worst, or the best, in me.

    “I’m not marrying him, Ryan. My wedding was supposed to be five minutes ago. I’m already late,” he said, only adding to my confusion. “I’m dying, Ryguy.”

    “Eric, you told me the treatment was a success,” the tears were already welling up in my eyes.

    He brushed his warm fingers on my face, clearing the tears. Without another word, he went to the jukebox and turned on my favorite song, “Shake it Out”, by Florence and the Machine. This was his favorite thing to do for me when I was feeling down. He grabbed my hand, and we danced. Sure, we got a few stares, but in that moment it was just Eric and I.

    He whispered one last verse of the song to me, “It’s always darkest before the dawn.”

  63. PatDatMann says:

    In a Wedding Dress

    “…this brand of love isn’t true to me”- utters the lips of the most pristine beauty I’ve ever seen dawn a wedding dress.

    Our eyes had been locked with a stark intensity from the moment that she and the ballroom gown she corralled entered the bar. With that we were seemingly synchronized. Beyond what was apparent: her quivering eyes swelling to the lids with the tears that she fought intently to not allow to fall and her almost stoic countenance giving way only to a slightly shuddering bottom lip- I knew there was more to her dismay.
    Rebecca and I- for all intents and purposes- knew each other from the inside out. We were often challenged to find the correct prose to articulate what is was we both knew we felt for each other in the formative stages of our love and coincidentally our lives. Essentially it was the pursuit to satiate our burgeoning intellectual inquisitions that fostered our growing apart just as much(if not more) as it consecrated our love. At any rate, we both had a keen awareness of what it was that our once romantic relationship was built from- friendship. Despite not haven spoken to each other in the better part of five years, our conversational comfortability had never waned.

    The shock value for me lied not in the wedding dress, but deep within Rebecca’s eyes. It was with fear she confessed to me that the love in which she had confidence doesn’t have the authenticity she thought it would. I couldn’t help but feel like there had been something ice-cream scooped out of the center of me.
    My retort only, “Rebecca-” as I opened my arms and offered my chest for her head to rest. The tears she once guarded have now escaped and dressed my shirt. At no more than an octave or two over a whisper, I ask her- “What is it that makes you so sure that this love is so irreparably faulty right before you go to the alter?” It was at this moment that I couldn’t help but notice how her vulnerability rendered her absolutely angelic.
    She then raised her head and voiced her qualm, “He always had this reservation towards my flaws. As if it were a feigned acceptance of them; but at the time it seemed like minutia in an otherwise picturesque relationship. You know just as well as I do, that I can be own relationships’ saboteur-” she chortles. “But in passing, like conversational passing- and more frequently as the wedding approached, he would brush across them as if they would be ‘ironed out’ after we got married.” The cotton colored clad beauty sniffles, wipes her cheeks with the back of her hand and smiles, “Like I’m suddenly going to turn into a fucking Stepford after I say ‘I do’.” I simply smile and rest my hand on her forearm as my admiration slowly welled inside of me. Her lashes bat, “I just had to talk to you. You’d never do that.

    • jhowe says:

      PatDatMann, I like this a lot. Your intelligent prose suggests both Rebecca and the MC are intellectually affluent people. The dialog between the two works well for the people I think they are. You did a nice job of subtly building tension throughout and left us with hope that the two will unite.

  64. zmiley says:

    Even though we hadn’t spoken in almost a year, the moment I heard Paul’s voice over the phone, my heart started drumming. The image his voice conjured up was of the two of us at senior prom- a picture from 7 years ago still prominently displayed on my side table.

    Since Paul was back in town for a couple days, he asked if we could meet at the local pub. A euphoric sensation went tingling down my bloodstream. Despite the time and distance apart, I realized, I still had deep feeling for Paul. No, I didn’t think of him constantly, but my heart skipped and sang when I did.

    The pub Paul suggested we meet at was dimly lit with cozy red couches. A real romantic spot. I was wondering if there was an implication there. Hoping for it.

    I could recall all those years ago signing my name as Mrs. Emily Sunter and doodling our initials interlocking. I had such a big crush on Paul that I considered changing my name to Pauline and then we’d be Paul and Pauline Sunter. Yes, I was that far gone. Then college happened. I decided to attend a local college and pursue a degree in interior design while Paul flew miles away to Columbia University to pursue a medical career. We kept up over the years but he rarely came home. And when he did, sparks flew between us.

    As I enter the pub, my eyes immediately fall on Paul’s handsome face. He’s waiting for me on a plush couch dressed in a handsome tux. Everyone there is dressed elegantly, including me. I am currently sporting a short black cocktail dress that hugs my curves. I look smashing and I know it. But I still revel in Paul’s praise.

    “Wow, Emily. You look gorgeous. You look the same, only different”, Paul gushes. That’s my Paul, always spewing contradictions that made sense.

    After chatting about nothing important for a while and sipping at our seltzer, Paul looks down at his hands surrounding his glass. He looks nervous to me which I find very odd. Paul is the most chilled out guy I have ever met and that is something I have always admired about him. He looks up, catching my eye and tells me something that hits me squarely in the gut. “I’m getting married tomorrow. At least, I think so.”

    I don’t know what to make of this sudden declaration or the sense of nausea that just rose up in my throat. Alcohol makes me nauseous and I know there is no alcohol in the seltzer. I need to excuse myself, I think, and get to the bathroom before I puke all over Paul’s tux.

    “Emily? You okay? You look a little green.” Paul’s voice is filled with concern.

    “I’ll be right back, the seltzer must’ve been tainted” I hastily excuse myself. Paul knows about my sensitivity so he’ll probably believe that excuse.

    Five minutes later I regain my composure and return to sit with Paul. “Sorry about that. So you’re getting married?! Congratulations! I am so happy for you!” I bluff through my teeth.

    “Thank you. I love Cassandra. I really do,” comes Paul’s reply. But to me it sounds like he’s trying to convince himself of it. I almost want to say, “No, you love Emily not Cassandra.” Instead I ask about her and how and where they met. A whole picture emerges and I have to hand it to her she sounds like a pretty great gal. (I’ll only admit that to myself though.) So the question that begs asking is why the hesitation on Paul’s part? Why did he ask to meet me? So he could flaunt his perfect bride in my face?

    Paul answers the unasked. He just has a way of looking into my eyes, seeing what’s written there and answering it.

    “There’s another great gal that occupies my mind from time to time. I cant stop wandering if we were meant to be together but circumstances didn’t allow. I came here seeking closure but I think I just fully opened a partially closed door.”

  65. catbr says:

    “It would be nice to see you again.” Georgia said in a bashful quiet tone. Fifteen years had passed since she last saw her old flame from high school. Life was awfully lonely since her husband of 9 years left her for an older woman. What a shocker that was. The new woman in Fred’s life was a real dog with an earsplitting barking laugh and knotty looking shaggy hair that underneath hid two floppy ears Georgia mused. But now, desperate, here she was making a feeble attempt for another shot at James. Just the thought of him made her heart flutter and gave her glowy warm feelings. As she recalled he was always so handsome back in the day.

    “I never thought I’d hear from you again. I think it would be nice to see you too. Why don’t we meet at Kelsey’s over by your place at noon?” James sounded sincere enough. Georgia didn’t think it would be so easy to see James.

    “Sure James that’ll be fine. See you then.”

    Georgia was on her second cup of coffee at Kelsey’s when in strolled James wearing a tuxedo. He’s a little over dressed for the occasion. Maybe he just wants to impress me. Pleased, she noticed that James had maintained his good looks after all the years.

    “Georgia. How have you been doing? You look exactly the same as you did in high school.” James said as he sat down at the table. “Oh, by the way, I’m supposed to be getting married this afternoon but since you called I just had to ask you one question. It’s very important.”

    She couldn’t believe what he was saying. Is he going to ask me to marry him because he realizes he never stopped loving me? In high school they planned to get married after graduation and saving up enough money for a good start in life together, but James apparently had other plans and skipped town 4 months after graduation. She never heard from him ever again. Heartbroken for years after that, Georgia was all but ruined for dating until she met good old Fred. But, because she hadn’t dated much in her life and couldn’t think of anyone else to call earlier in the day, she decided to let all those bad memories go and take a chance.

    Nervously Georgia said, “Okay James. You’ve got my attention.”

    “I know it’s been a long time since we last spoke and I am sorry for leaving town on you like that years ago. I suddenly realized something this morning. ” Georgia was barely breathing at this point. “Last night me and the guys were out partying last night and I spent a big wad of cash that I shouldn’t have . You know me, I never was very good with money. Anyway, when you called this morning I remembered that you were good with money. Long story short, could you lend me some money? A couple hundred would do. I need it for the caterers.” Handsome James with a pleading look in those tantalizing brown eyes said. Undependable, self centered James.

    Some things never change thought Georgia. “Sorry James. No can do. Have a good life.” After leaving the restaurant Georgia thought to herself that being alone for awhile might not be so bad after all.

  66. Frozen Alone says:

    The pub was empty this early in the day. Sara cleaned the glass in her hand absentmindedly. She had wished he would show up. A week ago, she had called Joe up and asked to see him again. She wanted to tell him something she should have said a long time ago. He said if he had the chance he would stop in around noon this weekend at the pub she tended bar at. Well it was almost noon and there was no sign of him.

    The door opened and a tall man stepped in. She looked up to offer him a drink but her words failed her at his appearance. It wasn’t the tuxedo that threw her off, she had seen the wedding announcement in the paper, but the cut just below his eye. He gave her a gentle smile as he approached the bar.

    “What happened?” she asked reaching across the bar with a rag to clean away the fresh blood.

    “I’m supposed to be getting married to day, but I called it off,” Joe replied. “Lucy’s brother gave me this on the way out of the church. I’m fine.”

    “Let me look at it.” She found the small first aid kit she had and sat on the bar. He stared up at her as she cleaned the wound. “Why did you call it off?” Sara was only mildly curious. She still cared, she always would, but she knew he wouldn’t.

    “I found out she was sleeping with my best friend,” he replied, “and my brother,” there was another pause, “and my dad.” Sara winced at the number of betrayals. “So I came to see you, the one person that could always cheer me up when I was down.” He reached up and cupped her face. “I’ve missed you.”

    Sara didn’t reply right away. She put her hand over his as a small tear ran down her face. “Joe,” she said, “I have to tell you something before you say anything more.” She closed her eyes and pulled a picture from her pocket. She placed it blindly on the bar. “His name is Joey, he’s eight.” She dropped her hand away from his hand. “Your last party back home,” she continued on, “the one you had out at my place, I got a little drunk.”

    “Sara,” Joe breathed standing up and cupping her face. “No.” His face was full of denial. “You mean that was you?”

    She nodded slowly and started to cry. “I couldn’t face you after that night. So I ran. That’s why I didn’t show up at John’s party. Then I had little Joey. I wanted to tell you, I really did Joe, but you had your future laid out in front of you.” She was cut off as he kissed her suddenly. She gasped and looked up at him when he pulled away.

    “I want to meet him and do this right,” he whispered. “Let’s give us a chance.” For him, she would.

    • BezBawni says:

      This is a very sweet story. I only have a few comments, hope you don’t mind) Where you say ‘she winced at the number of betrayals’ the phrase ‘at the number of betrayals’ is obvious and hence you can remove it. And in the end, the last sentence suggests that she was reluctant to give the relationships another chance, while it was clear that she had feelings for Joe and wanted to be with him. It would be more logical for him to say ‘for his son he would’.

      Otherwise, a nice take on the prompt ;-)

    • zmiley says:

      Moving tale. I disagree with bezbawni. I would say, “she winced at the betrayals” not “number of betrayals”. No matter the amount of betrayals, being betrayed is winceable.

      great job

    • Critique says:

      I liked your story. Seems like Joe found out a bunch in the nick of time.

    • don potter says:

      Wow. That girl Lucy sure gets around. Nice story and well told. Hope Sara and Joe make it.

  67. writinglife16 says:

    Flowers

    I walked by the florist’s that morning. They had a huge display of pink, lavender and white roses. It made me think of weddings. It also made me think of Lee. Lee had loved all things alive and growing, particularly flowers. Impulsively, I called and set up a lunch date.

    I got Lee’s machine and left a message that I would be at the Salad Bowl at 12:30 and we could touch base then. Presumptuous and arrogant, I suppose if I was honest with myself about it, but I figured I would still get a good meal or a good meal and great conversation with an old friend.

    I arrived at the Salad Bowl at 12:20, grabbed my salad and went out to the patio. The barbecued shrimp salad was good and I was very focused on eating. I began to hear various people congratulating someone and turned to see Lee walking toward me in an off-white, knee length dress with a white veil and a white bouquet. She reached me and hesitantly embraced me.

    “Delia. I’m getting married today and I came to invite you to the ceremony. I know we broke up two years ago and it’s probably rude, but you did call me.”

    She seemed a bit nervous and I wondered why. I was shocked and then I laughed. She was right. I had called. And we were a pair. I was nervy and she was rude.

    “I’m not dressed, Lee, but I’ll come to the wedding. Even though we didn’t make it, I have always wished the best things for you. If you are marrying her, she must be the best.”

    Lee laughed and hugged me.

  68. don potter says:

    Guess she’s not the only one who sees Greg. However, I felt as if she had a strong connection with him. Is there more to this story?

  69. SummerStarr says:

    Sorry this is kind of long. But I got really carried away with this one. LOL!

    The pub was quiet and mostly empty, with the exception of the disgruntled bartender and a small horde of sad, disheveled patrons sitting at the bar. They kept to themselves and slowly sipped their frothy beer. Sally felt out of place in this small pub and she couldn’t help but wonder why her old flame wanted to meet her there. Suddenly, the door leading outside slowly opened. There standing in the doorway was David.

    He looked just like he did in high school. His jawline still chiseled like a sculpture of a perfect Adonis. His hair was still as dark and shiny as ever. His big blue eyes almost glowed with perfection. This man was one of the most beautiful men Sally had ever seen and she couldn’t believe that he was there to meet her. After she recovered from her awe struck stupor, she noticed something odd. He had on a black tuxedo. She thought to herself, If I didn’t’ know any better, I would almost swear that he looks like he is about to get…….

    “Sally! There you are!” He said with a sense of urgency in his voice. “I’m so glad you called me. I’m supposed to be getting married today, but things have gone horribly wrong and I need your help.”

    “Wait. What? Help with what? What’s going on?” Sally was only planning to catch up. She had no idea that this was a man who was about to be married.

    “Please come with me! I’ll explain on the way!”

    She was hesitant. What in the world could this guy possibly want? What happened since she spoke to him on the phone and why didn’t he tell her he was about to get married? Oddly enough, curiosity got the best of her and she decided to follow him to his car.

    They both jumped in the car and David sped off, screeching his tires and leaving a large tire mark on the pavement.

    “Alright David, what is going on?”

    “You remember Kelly Smith?” he asked.

    “Yeah! She and I used to be best friends in high school” Sally responded. “We lost touch when she left for Hollywood to become an actress. Is that who you’re marrying?”

    “Well that was who I was marrying. Let me ask you something: Did you ever notice anything strange about her?”

    “Well no not really. Why? What happened to her David?” Sally was starting to get concerned. Her pulse raced. Was her old friend okay?

    “Sally, I have something to tell you about Kelly. She isn’t exactly human.”

    At that point Sally knew.

    “Oh.” She sighed. “This is the third time this month. Don’t you men ever listen? I put the warning signs all over my new website. I thought for sure you would have read it by now.”

    “I know. I know.” David replied. “I saw the signs. They were all there. But she’s so pretty Sally and she was interested in me. We hit it off so well. Who would’ve thought that she was a soul sucking succubus from hell?”

    “Well get me there as quickly as possible before she gives your mother a heart attack.”

    The two pulled up to the church and the chaos going on inside was evident from the discord going on outside of the church. People were running and screaming in terror as they fled for their lives.

    David and Sally entered the church and there at the pulpit at the front of the church stood a particularly nasty succubus. Sally had seen quite a few succubi in her career, but Kelly turned out to be a particularly ugly one. She was nearly ten feet tall and covered in red, scaly skin. Her long dark hair was now mangled in a matted web of wool like fiber. Her eyes were a bright yellow. They were so bright, they practically glowed. She had long barbed claws at the ends of her fingers and her feet were now pitch black hooves. She screamed and roared at the remaining patrons and she began breathing fire along the walls. She was intent on burning the church down.

    But Sally was having none of this. She was tired. She was supposed to have been on vacation from succubi slaying this week and now Kelly had ruined everything. This beast touched a nerve. It was time for it to die.
    Sally walked up to the giant beast with complete confidence.

    “Hey!” Sally yelled at the succubus to get its attention.

    The beast looked down at her and tilted its head to one side. In a deep, evil tone, the beast laughed.

    “Sally!” It said with its deep thunderous voice. “I remember you from school and I’ve heard a lot about what you do now.”

    “Oh, really? So you know what I’m capable of?”

    “Oh yes I am. But do you really think you can defeat me?”

    Sally smiled while exuding a Zen-like calm. “Well you are one of the largest and ugliest succubi I’ve ever come across.”

    Kelly emitted a low grumble at Sally calling her ugly. She didn’t like it at all.

    “But,” Sally continued, “I know I can defeat you. Piece of cake.”

    “Oh yeah! Well come and get it!”

    “Okay.” Sally said. “You asked for it.”

    Sally started dashing toward Kelly and Kelly made a mad dash toward Sally, while David stood still in complete bewilderment, wondering how in the world he got himself into this mess.

    Sally whipped out a small translucent blade. It was like a small pocket knife. Sally made a quick left turn down one of the aisles of the pews just before she was about to have a close encounter with her opponent. She slipped up to the front of the church and dowsed her knife in holy water. Kelly wasn’t aware that Sally was carrying a weapon and when she saw what she was doing with it, she began to panic.

    She tried to escape but Sally caught up to her. She jumped onto Kelly’s back as she was trying to run away and she stabbed her in the back of the head.

    Kelly fell to the ground screaming and writhing in pain. Suddenly the ground began to shake. Large cracks began to develop in the floor. Sally ran past Kelly and met David at the entrance to the church. David watched in horror as the ground opened up creating a large hole in the floor. Kelly quickly sank down into the hole and was soon engulfed in flames. As quickly as the hole appeared, the floor and ground slowly slid back and closed the opening. David and Sally sighed with relief.

    They stood there silently for a moment. Sally was used to this kind of adventure, but David was still standing there dumb-struck and completely bewildered by what had just happened. After a few moments of silence, Sally finally spoke up.

    “So I guess you’re not getting married now?”

    “Uh…..no.” David said. “I guess not.”

    “Wanna go back to the pub and grab a few beers and catch up?”

    David slowly turned to Sally and looked at her with a furrowed brow as if he couldn’t believe that she would ask such a thing. Then his expression relaxed.

    “Sure. Alright. You could tell me how you got started with your succubus slaying adventures.”

    Sally laughed. “You think the only things I have to kill are succubi? You’d be surprised how many things that go bump in the night exist in reality. Come on. I have a lot of interesting stories to share.”

    Then David and Sally made their way back to the pub.

  70. calicocat88 says:

    There was a pounding of tribal drums in my head and then I realized it was just my heart beating in my ears. A series of regrets, curses, and hopes fluttered in and out of the wooden door with the icy wind. I sat with my head in my hands at the Irish pub across from my apartment complex. Jake wanted to meet me there after exchanging a few excited texts. We hadn’t seen each other since middle school, but I thought about him every day for fifteen years. I didn’t expect him to remember me or care that I was even alive.

    The bell on the door rang and I glanced between my fingers at a stocky ruddy haired man standing awkwardly at the pub entrance. He wasn’t the little boy I remembered, but I knew him.

    My chest heaved, my mouth dried up—oh, dear God. It was him. He looked exactly the same, only…not eleven, but a grown man. He scanned the burgundy booths, the bar and then his eyes connected with mine.

    “Hey,” my voice was weak, too fearful, but he didn’t notice. He smiled, approached the bar, and I stood too fast, almost knocking over the stool. I laughed nervously and it sounded weird. “So you made it here?”

    Jake raised an eyebrow. “It was easy to find. There aren’t too many Irish pubs in the south.”

    “Yeah, aren’t all pubs Irish?” I said and then mentally smacked my forehead.

    He laughed out of decency. God, he was much better looking than I thought he’d be. I barely knew him. For all I knew he could have become some kind of homicidal killer. Besides the fear of impending death, something else stirred inside me and I wanted to hurl myself into his arms until I melted into his skin.

    “So how’ve you been?” He opened his arms and I floated in. His hug was like pillars holding me against his chest…which was surprisingly solid. He was holding me tight and I reluctantly pulled away.

    “Good, good,” I was breathless. “What about you?” He took off his coat and my jaw hit the floor. “A tux? Were you busy today? We can reschedule—“

    “I…don’t want to reschedule,” he looked at me like I was supposed to get something out of it.

    I did everything but wallow on the floor in surrender. “Oh…okay.”

    “Look,” Jake squirmed uncomfortably. People were starting to watch us. “Do you mind if we go somewhere more…private?”

    “You mean like a church or something?” I was already grabbing my purse and ready to dive humiliated into the gutter. “If your, you know, whatever, needs you there at a certain time.”

    He rubbed his hands through his hair and then after glancing at his phone, grabbed me by my shirt sleeves. “Listen, maybe we can go to your place.”

    I stared. “I’m not a prostitute.”

    “I wasn’t saying that.”

    “Great, now that we have that cleared up,” I was losing it. “I live across the street. If you want to follow me make sure the landlady doesn’t catch you.” My landlady believed I was hiding illegal immigrants.

    “Cool.”

    The thirty minutes talking in my shabby living room went by in a blur. I found out he was getting married in less than two hours, he had become some kind of professional traveler. He had a name for it, but I wasn’t listening.

    When he started kissing me I didn’t push him away. I let him hold me, take me to the bedroom, and then after sinking to my lowest I pretended Jake was mine and we would live happily ever after in a world that would never exist. He lay beside me, propped up on his side and looked down at me with blue eyes that had bright shots speared through them like silver bullets.

    “I’m not using you,” he said, and trailed his fingers down my shoulder. My freckles felt exposed and dirty.

    I didn’t look at him, but said, “You don’t want to be with me.”

    “Poppy, don’t do this,” his voice was strained. “You know we were meant to be together, just…not the way we want it to be. I have to marry her.”

    “Why?” I tore through the sheets, jerking them mostly away from him to hide my shame. “Do you want to live a lie?”

    “Sometimes,” he said. “Don’t you ever want to live two lives at once?”

    I paused. “You have to choose.”

    “Either way I’m losing something with whatever choice I make.”

    “So what are you losing with me?” I skewered him with my eyes wishing they were laser beams.

    He hesitated, like he was counting his breaths before speaking and whispered, “I don’t know yet. I just know what I won’t have without you.”

    Frustration made me want to scalp him. Love made me want to let him go. Desperation made me want to cling to him and beg him to stay. And despair watered me down when I realized I couldn’t do any of them. “So what now?” I pulled the sheets tighter around my waist to keep my insides from bursting out.

    “I’m getting married, I guess,” he said and rubbed a hand over his face. “If I could choose one life this time and then another the next…”

    I shook my head. “You still wouldn’t be happy.”

    “Yes,” he said. “I would.”

    “Jacob Danner, you wouldn’t know happiness if it crawled up your ass,” I said. “Now get out of my house.”

    Like a statue I watched him dress, I felt his lips brush soft and wet against my cheek. I heard his promises I knew he wouldn’t keep. I waited until his truck drove off before I crumpled to the floor. I didn’t cry. Jake would never truly love me. Loving him was like trying to catch and hold on to a dream. As soon as you opened your eyes he was gone.

    • Kerry Charlton says:

      A totally different voice from you Calico. If you hadn’t posted your name I would have thought a marvelous new writer had joined our little forum. It was beautifuuly composed, gritty, realistic, sadfull, yearning; an impossible dream Poppy traveled through.

      She is better off without her first love. You make that crystal clear. I loved your line “…….something else stirred inside me and I wanted to hurl myself into his arms until I melted into his skin.” Completely over-the-top sexy.

      • calicocat88 says:

        Kerry, I have to admit this one is personal for me. A couple of weeks ago I actually got in touch with an “old flame.” And it isn’t going the way I’d like it so this is really semi-autobiographical…? Without the whole marriage and shacking up deal ;)

    • don potter says:

      “Loving him was like trying to catch and hold on to a dream” says it all. We can’t live in a fantasy world, although we may experience glimpses of it.

    • Observer Tim says:

      Wow, you painted Jake as a real top-grade sleazebag. This is a well-told tale, Calicocat. It is definitely a departure from your usual style, but still descriptive and engaging.

      Writing can be a great cathartic, can’t it?

    • bilbobaggins321 says:

      I really love this one. It shows perfectly how we can become so wrapped up in our fantasies that we almost don’t want to leave them for the truth.

    • Silver Sister says:

      I think it’s amazing that you took your disappointment and created something beautiful with it. My compliments. You took a risk in your writing by changing things up and it worked. Wow.

      • calicocat88 says:

        Thank you, Silver Sister :) Even though I get nervous about drifting from my comfort zone I try to make myself do it when the right opportunity comes up. My creative writing teacher always told us to get out of our comfort zone when writing, that we may discover something new about ourselves and even like what comes out of it.

    • BezBawni says:

      I agree with Kerry, that’s really a different voice, though I can here you in the beautiful figures of speech. “my freckles felt exposed and dirty” is pure genius, calico) The phrase ‘I’m not a prostitute’ took me aback a little as too direct, but I guess that’s just the character’s personality. I loved all the metaphors, beautifully written.

      • calicocat88 says:

        BezBawni, your words are too kind. I’m glad you find beauty in bits of my writing–in fact I’m thrilled! Writing isn’t just a piece of entertainment, but art and messages and life. That you found something more in my writing is awesome :) And yes, Poppy was pretty direct, lol! I tried to slip in the rapid up and down her emotions were playing and how when we get so discouraged at a swift rate we tend to be some-what inappropriate because we have that slip of “I don’t care anymore” that unwraps around our tongues. But I’m glad you said something and actually going to watch this direct way of dialogue. I never realized that I think I do it in a wrong way and need to keep an eye on myself. Thanks :)

        • PromptPrincess13 says:

          Writing can definitely be an outlet for strong emotions…I don’t think I’ll ever have the guts to post something so personal though, so I have to commend you. It was an amazing piece with a beautiful voice. I personally loved the character’s frankness…it feels very natural and appropriate, at least in a story like this.

          • calicocat88 says:

            Thanks PromptPrinicess13 :) I usually try not to let too many of my emotions get involved with stories because then they become about “the author” instead of the characters. There’s this one story I’ve been working on for such a long time because I’m having a hard time cutting myself out of the story and leaving it to the characters. I guess I want to play in their world too ;)

    • snuzcook says:

      Calico, this reached out and grabbed me with the way that it made no pretenses, took no shortcuts. You presented us the opportunity to witness as your MC managed to be in many minds at once, to let her fantasy fade into reality, and gritted her way through it to the other side. You created some very memorable prose here. Beautifully done!

    • agnesjack says:

      You’ve touched on something very real, and very difficult to tell, here, calicocat. The conflicted emotions of someone trying to hold onto a dream was so well done. The outward longing, with the knowledge of hopelessness lurking underneath, was threaded beautifully throughout.

      I’m so glad she kicked the bum out, though. It gave me hope for her. She deserved so much better.

      • calicocat88 says:

        Thanks, agnesjack :) Sometimes we want people to be who we want them to be so bad. As writer’s we have the power to create and change our characters to mold them into how we want them to be. Real people, on the other hand, cannot be changed unless they want to be.

    • frankd1100 says:

      ‘I wanted to hurl myself into his arms until I melted into his skin.’ That’s a great line. I also liked, … ‘I mentally smacked my forehead.’

      A well written story with neatly interwoven mix of humor and pain… Good job.

      • calicocat88 says:

        Thanks frankd1100 :) The mentally smacking of the forehead is just something I’ve always used in stories because it’s something I have to do to myself so often, lol!

  71. MRydberg says:

    “I just can’t do it anymore,” Lauren stated with a pained expression.
    “You and John are best of friends, and I sincerely hope you can talk some sense into him.”
    I swilled the last of the mimosa wistfully and fidgeted with my own cufflinks uncomfortably reminding myself not to look at the swooping neckline, or linger too long in her sparkling blue eyes. I knew now exactly what I had missed.
    I wanted to scream. I wanted nothing more than to tell her she was making a mistake and I was supposed to be her happily ever after.
    I knew it had to be now — or spend my own ever after left with nothing but doubt.
    It was my own personal torment that I had intended to use John. He was supposed to be the parking lot for Lauren. A safe place to sate both of them; and at least until I was ready to actually settle down and give Lauren and myself a real chance. Little did I know that so very little in common could have such dire consequences?
    They would fight endlessly, and yet… never did I receive the call from John that it was finally time for the break-up binge drinking night. No matter how many teary eyed nights Lauren spent on the phone sobbing to her girlfriends about their latest disagreement, the next day they would be in each other’s arms like a bile-raising fairy tale on repeat.
    They seemed completely oblivious to their own unhappiness. Worse, they pretended its ensuing ripples drama in our otherwise close-knit group of friends didn’t happen.
    But we all played the role of accomplices. I think of all the wasted opportunities I had to divide the two. A smirk crosses my face as I remember Marcus and me pulling John from the stripper in Vegas during his bachelor party. The mere mention of it would tip Lauren into a jilted sprinter for sure.
    Instead, I listened, as I have done for years now. I continued to play the role of the good friend. The one that cares that John isn’t taking today’s floral arrangements seriously, and is genuinely upset that the caterer couldn’t deliver enough chicken breasts for all the guests that ordered it.
    I smile.
    I nod.
    I don’t look at her beautiful eyes.
    I don’t look at the way that dress hugs her curves.
    I reassure her that everything will be alright, and I will straighten these crises out; because today is her day. It is her day to be a princess wedded to her prince charming.
    I tell her these things, and a little last flickers of hope die inside me, like a child scared of the dark I snuff out the cries of fear welling from deep inside. The phantoms of a future that will never be entrench themselves in that darkness and wait.

    • don potter says:

      The MC is making himself crazy by over analyzing what life might be like for this couple. Nonetheless, there were many fine phrases in this piece of writing.

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is a moody and intriguing scene, MRydberg. The MC painted himself into a corner by trying to manipulate people, and now has to pay the price. Good job!

    • Silver Sister says:

      Good job showing what happens when you play with people’s heart. It almost never turns out as planned. Perfect depiction of the wedding crises, too.

    • BezBawni says:

      This whole piece is like one great internal dialogue. I liked it. At some point I was confused by the tenses switch, you started with the past and ended in the present which interferes with the perception of the story as one integral piece of art. I think, you needed to start in the present tense, which would emphasize the passage where the MC’s talking about the events prior to the wedding and also add consistency to the story. Also, I’d recommend you to be careful with phrasing, e.g. ‘the phantoms of a future that will never be entrench themselves’ doesn’t make much sense to me.

      Having said that, I enjoyed reading the story. ;-)

  72. VBoheme says:

    UNICORN

    ————

    I called Rachel that day. Maybe my new place stacked with memories in boxes in the wake of my divorce made me think too much. Maybe it was the memory of her by the fountain downtown, and her red scarf, how she smelled like fall. She left for the city soon after, to live her dream, and from what I heard, finding love. I’d remembered she moved back recently. I’d called, and asked if she’d want to grab a drink, after a quick exchange. I heard an off-key note to her voice, but she’d agreed. I sat at the Crown pub, nursing my second whiskey.

    “Dane?”

    I turned, and saw her in a cream-colored dress, perfectly fitted. But somehow, it seemed off. It was a wedding dress, but there was no aura of happiness.

    “What’s with the outfit?”

    She scoffed and grinned. “Same old Dane.”

    She stopped my next phrase with a ring-clad hand and ordered a drink. She took a drink, and sighed.

    “I was supposed to get married today, but…”

    I waited, and sipped my whiskey. Her ruby lips I’d never kissed looked the same. Everything the same, but everything different. Time.

    “Dammit, Dane. I’m scared.”

    “Of what?”

    “Commitment? White picket fences?”

    Silence wrapped us together, Rachel and me.

    “But?” I said.

    “Do you know what you want from life? I don’t. I don’t know what I want anymore.” she said, tears clouding her eyes.

    “I thought I knew once.”

    She gazed at me, a thousand miles away. She fidgeted with a lace flower on her dress, thinking. I stood up, and offered my hand.

    “Come on. Walk with me.”

    The wind was picking up outside, and we talked. About Eric, my own divorce. I turned to her finally, looking at her and resting my hands on taffeta-covered shoulders.

    “You know what? Life’s short. We do what we can to be happy. Sometimes it works. Sometimes…”

    I took my hands off her shoulders and thrust my hands into the pockets of my coat.

    “Rachel, you’re the one thing in life that I never wanted more to keep, and I couldn’t. You’re my unicorn, I guess. We all have one. The one thing we can’t capture, and when we can…”

    Her eyes were drops of dew on fresh fall apples. And I realized then that we were standing at the fountain. I laughed to myself.

    “We end up knowing that we want it to be free.”

    She looked at me for a long moment. And she kissed me on the cheek.

    “Maybe I just need to give being happy a chance,” she smiled and touched my hand.

    “Thank you.”

    “For what?”

    “Showing me what I need to do.”

    I smiled sadly. And I let her turn, and I watched her walk to the church across the street. I still remember that day, when I had the chance to capture something I loved. And instead of keeping it, I let it go.

    • don potter says:

      Is the MC noble or simply too frightened to try and recapture what he loved? Time will tell and she may return, but that’s another story. I particularly liked the notion of ‘memories in boxes.’

    • Observer Tim says:

      You did a good job projecting the worry through the dialogue, VBoheme. Every choice we make has a chance to haunt us. This is a touching story.

      • PromptPrincess13 says:

        “If you love someone, let them go. And if they’re meant to be yours, they’ll come back to you.” I’m sure I mixed up that saying but that’s what popped into my mind when I read your prompt. The MC sounds like a gentleman and I loved your last-line. Also, great username… I couldn’t help but imagine La Vie Boehme from Rent playing as a soundtrack to your story. Oddly enough, they work together.

  73. bilbobaggins321 says:

    ALL’S FAIR IN LOVE AND DECEPTION

    The man in the glistening armor and the arrogant smile waited on the stone pier, watching as the papyrus boat pulled up slowly, the red sun lighting up the many reeds making up the vessel. The many rowers could be seen distantly, fanners with large fronds, and he smiled at the show of wealth. She had responded to his invitation in due time.

    He turned to the side, shielding his face with his hand, now looking at his best friend.
    “Quintus, you can tell the servants to pull up the litters, and wait for us at the palace.”
    Quintus clinked back to the horses, and talked in Arabic to the slave driver. From his expedition to Parthia and elsewhere, Quintus was a trained soldier with a thirst for blood–and matchmaking. The first carriage rattled to life, and the horses trotted along the road until it disappeared around a curve.

    Meanwhile, the boat grew nearer, and he saw more of the glorious ship in full detail. A few more servants stepped out of the central box, ropes held in their tough hands. He put his foot up on a stone ledge, brushing off his breastplate. He was too brash to be nervous, even in front of a queen talked about in tales of seers.
    The boat brushed up against the dock, and one solitary curtain moved over.

    “Hello, Mark,” she called seductively. “Nice meeting you at last.” The woman smiled as her servants busied themselves on getting the litter ready. The man, Mark, instinctively moved closer.

    “Good morning, my queen,” he replied back, reveling in the hopeful drug-induced effect of his armor and confidence. No doubt when the palace doors were closed the moves would be less furtive. “I’m glad that you could come to see Quintus and I. We have many things to talk about.”

    The queen was set in her box, and under soft groans of servants they moved forward, Mark on his own horse. They basked in the glow of the plebeian’s awe-filled gaze as they filtered through the wide avenues of Tarsus. A poor boy balanced a water jug here, a long line of Parthians and Armenians shuffled along under the heavy lash of a warden, and centurions in deep red traipsed around on their fine horses, legionnaires throwing dice and showing off battle scars.

    Within minutes they had turned into the secluded palatial district and now stood before two heavy doors. Servants hoisted them open, and the box was set down inside the plant-filled court with a gurgling fountain as its centerpiece. After entering into the private chambers, the two each sat on a long couch, picking at a grape stem on a platter. Quintus would be back in five minutes at most.

    The queen raised her hand, and her servants exited with the fronds.
    “Mark, are you glad to see me?” Her eyes pierced into his, and he kept his gaze on them long enough.

    “Yes, indeed. Quintus and I were getting worried as to your arrival. When he gets back, I’ll escort you into the main hall, where we have some advisers, and recorders. We are concerned about your loyalty, seeing as you paid large funds to Cassius during the Civil War. You would indeed be a great ally to Rome… if you chose to.”

    He looked down, picked up a grape.
    “You need not worry, Mark,” she delicately said in turn. “But we have more important things to speak of right now.” Mark peered back up, a slow smile taking over.

    “Like what?” It was her turn to take a grape.
    “Like the fact that old Julius has been dead two full years now. His assassins are dead, thanks to you. And now it’s just you and Octavian grasping for power.”

    He nodded once. “Politics is hard for anyone, even for a genius. What does Julius have to do with this? He’s long dead and gone,” he noted.
    “As you well know, I was snuck into Caesar’s palace, and shortly afterwards became his mistress. We had children, but never really married at all.”

    “Why not?” he delved.
    “He was just a power token,” she stated nonchalantly. “I prefer men more… young.”
    Their eyes locked again.
    “What are you proposing?”
    “I’m proposing that you come back to Alexandria with me after this. Although I detest Quintus, he certainly knows my interests.”

    His smile blossomed into a coy grin.
    “Let us not get ahead of ourselves, my queen. We still have a treaty to conduct.”
    “Should I take that as a yes?”
    Mark stood up, still smiling. “Yes, take it that way.”

    The servants came bustling in with Quintus, and they were walked into the chamber where the many tables and old men in togas where. After the proceedings were finished, Mark announced the news to Quintus in another room. No other words were spoken. As they boarded the boat back to Egypt, indulged in the splendor of many servants and assuaged by the gentle gurgle of the waves, he knew that he would not be the last to be played by the wiles of Cleopatra. But he didn’t mind.

    (This one doesn’t exactly play out with the prompt, but I thought the historical setting would be nice. Go hobbits!)

  74. hih5026 says:

    “I’m supposed to be getting married today, but … here I am.” She pauses; her green eyes shuffle like leaves rustling against the wind. I begin to respond, but she raises her hand, effectively shutting down me down. “–No,” she says. “No. Don’t speak. I’ve been through hell and back to be here, I’ve practiced this speech a thousand times in my head, I’ve got a hundred things to say, and I’ve only got sixty seconds to say them–so don’t speak. Listen. Got it? Good. Now have a seat. I want to start by saying that this has nothing to do with you. As far as you should be concerned, we’re nothing but two strangers who happen to be in the same bar at the same time, and you just happen to be overhearing my story. It’s about a seventeen year old girl who believed that one day she was going to change the world. No, she wasn’t the smartest, or prettiest, or the most popular girl, but she had a big heart and she loved to dream. She was going to be a lawyer, move to New York City, and storm the legal world with the force of her conviction. “The bastards are going to fry!” she used to say, even though she didn’t actually know who the bastards were. And she was a nice girl too, so so sweet. When a boy told her he loved her, she actually believed him. When a boy told her someday they were going to get married, she called her best friend right afterwards, and they laughed and giggled about it. The boy was her knight and shining armor. He drove a Ford Mustang and he never quite knew where to find the brakes. He always knew the right things to say and the perfect ways to say them. His words were more beautiful than poetry that had ever been written. But words, the girl later realized, meant nothing without feeling. And he never felt them… He was her first. She gave her the one thing in the world she could never un-give. He promised he’d stick around forever, but forever turned out to be fewer than nine months. Then she gave up college, and New York, and verbally abusing the criminal underworld to raise her beautiful daughter, Christine. Your beautiful daughter, Christine. Christine. Christine! Christine! The girl was convinced she’d never believe or dream or love again. In fact, she swore she wouldn’t. But then her real knight and shining armor came and found her–he drove a Toyota Prius, not a Ford Mustang. He proved to her that true love was real, that dreams never die, and that I am worth a happy ending after all. So I came all this way to tell you this story. I wanted you to see me in my wedding dress, and to say that, “I’m going to marry him, ‘you bastard!’” And that I’m going to live happily ever after.”

    • don potter says:

      Telling the story in one long paragraph does not encourage readership. However, I worked through the story and was surprised to learn that Prius drivers are potentially better mates than those behind the wheel of a Mustang.

    • Observer Tim says:

      You did an excellent job of depicting a character delivering a practiced speech before she lost the nerve. Putting it all in one paragraph made everything seem rushed and breathless. It makes for a fast read. Good story, hih5026.

      One little thing: it should be a night in shining armour (or armor on the south side of the red line).

    • Silver Sister says:

      You know how to turn a phrase. I especially liked the boy not being able to find the breaks and not knowing who the bastards are. You had me cheering for this character. I hope she gets her happy ending.

  75. peetaweet says:

    That was great, I had no idea it was coming! Great job!

  76. peetaweet says:

    Perhaps it was getting published that prompted the thought of calling her. A few drinks later I secured the number from a friend. Another drink and I punched in her number and took a deep breath.

    When the taxi screeched to a halt and I saw her face through the cloudy window it was like a dream. She looked magnificent. I sat up, only to see that she wore a wedding gown. She handed the driver a bill and hustled inside, tugging at the dress to keep from stepping on it.

    She made a beautiful bride. Entering without a word of greeting, Jess snatched and drained my tumbler. Eight years had passed since I’d seen her. Facebook stalking notwithstanding.

    She wiped her mouth with her arm and plopped into the torn vinyl bench. “I’m supposed to be getting married today…but…”

    I gawped, looking her over like an old photograph. I searched every detail. I loved the indentation where her collarbones met at her neck. I’d kissed every part of that neck, with my nose behind her ear and her curls falling on my face.

    I needed words but my whole world sat 30 inches away, wearing a shining ivory dress that glowed in the musty bar. My heart hurt. I was that boy who her mother said was too old for her. Now we were all grown up and it was too late.

    “What are you doing here?”

    “Last night, remember, you said 12, I’m a little late.”

    “No, I mean…. “I looked at the dress, the diamond on her finger. I bet her Mom was losing her shit somewhere. Why hadn’t she mentioned a wedding on the phone?

    The bartender placed two tumblers of Makers down and walked away. Some things need not be said. She took a man sized swallow. Same old Jess.

    She turned to the window, where the cab idled at the curb. “I stayed up last night reading your book.”

    Her eyes flashed to me and in the light I could see the specks of gold swimming in the blue. Her stare tugged and pulled me in and I couldn’t turn away. I tightened my grasp on my glass. I could be knocked by Amazon critics until the server crashed, but I’d written that book for only two people. Those two kids looking out at the trestle.

    We would climb down to our spot on the rocks where she leaned her head onto my shoulder and we talked until the sun faded while waiting for our train. It was all there, I’d spilled it into the pages. For me that summer never left, it didn’t visit while I lay in bed with my fiancé. It lived with me. It was why every girl since had been compared to her. Her lips parted and I shook with anticipation.

    “I wanted to say this in person, just so there is no misunderstanding. I’m going to file a restraining order on Monday. Stop posting comments on my facebook page, don’t call me and please, find another muse to write about. It’s creepy. And by the way. The book is not only drivel. Nicholas Sparks is safe.”

    With that she slammed the tumbler to the table. Milo, who’d sat at the bar since the Carter administration wheeled around from his worn place at the bar and waved.

    “Eight years Eric. Eight. Have a nice life.”

    She stomped out of the bar, which was bad timing, because the jukebox played our song just as her cab drove off.

  77. jhowe says:

    Daktoni stood on a mahogany stump and clenched his carved staff as he surveyed the vast expanse of downed trees at the edge of his tribal boundary. The pale men with hairy faces had been hard at work once again.

    Today though, Daktoni did not dwell on the plundering of the forest. Nor did he dwell on the ineffectiveness of his warriors against these formidable foes. Today he would see Suya at long last. His drummer had contacted the Bororo village the night before. At daybreak the Bororo drummer had confirmed the meeting. Suya, his lost love, would come.

    Daktoni wore his best wrap cut from the skin of a panther. His body was freshly painted and his hair was adorned with feathers and shards of teak. Despite his festive garb and glad heart Daktoni was uneasy. His hands trembled slightly as he waited, his knees threatened to fail him. He heard a slight rustle and a hand touched his bare shoulder. Daktoni jumped and readied his staff.

    Suya giggled and said, “The great Daktoni is losing his hearing I fear.”

    “Or perhaps the clumsy Suya has finally learned to stalk prey.” Daktoni beamed and studied the pretty face of his former student with some concern. She wore a strange garment of white that covered much of her body. Her ears contained only a few silver rings and her lips were empty of adornment. The once luxuriant hair was cut short and framed her face in an odd way.

    “My new ways alarm you I see,” said Suya.

    “Only to some extent,” said Daktoni, his smile wavering. “Are you becoming a westerner now Suya?”

    Suya looked at the sky and said softly, “I am to marry the chief of the pale faced men.”

    “Marry? When?” Daktoni became hard faced, his voice louder than he intended.

    “Tonight. It has been arranged. I must return soon.”

    “Where will you go?” Daktoni struggled to keep his emotions in check.

    “To a place called Oregon. It is in America.”

    “I will fight for you.”

    “You are too late Daktoni.”

    “Only a fool is too late and I am not a fool.”

    “My father will receive great treasures after I am married.”

    “I care nothing for your father’s treasures.”

    “Then perhaps you will let me choose who I will marry,” Suya said.

    Daktoni had lost the verbal exchange but he felt certain Suya would choose wisely. It was the way of her people to do so. “Very well,” he said. “I will abide by your choice, but let it be known that Daktoni, chief of the Barasana wishes for Suya, daughter of Mapuche to be his wife.”

    Suya reached into a fold in her garment and removed a photograph. “This is the house in Oregon in which I will live.” Daktoni took the picture and studied it. Suya continued, “My clothing conceals my condition. I am with child.”

    “With child?”

    “Yes Daktoni. I wish to improve my life and the life of my child. I will miss the forest but I choose Oregon. I choose to marry the pale faced chief.”

    Daktoni stared at nothing for a long time. When he regained his senses Suya was gone.

    • agnesjack says:

      Wow, jhowe. This was great. Such a unique idea for this prompt. Beautiful descriptions and a world that I could see very clearly. Excellent!

    • don potter says:

      Is the child Daktoni’s or that of the pale face? I enjoyed your unique take on the prompt.

    • Observer Tim says:

      This was a great take, jhowe. I do like the native take, though it’s one I’m a lot less sympathetic to than most. The culture clash is more interesting.

      One thing did throw me – the switch from panthers and teak to Oregon. It made me a little confused about where exactly the story took place. Amazon? Central America?

    • Silver Sister says:

      I especially liked the banter when the two loves first see each other. It gave me a glimpse into their relationship and had me rooting for them. This was a beautiful piece of writing.

    • BezBawni says:

      As usual, Jhowe, you kept me interested to the very end. First I thought it was a futuristic piece and only when it got to pale faces I realized what it was about. Nicely done)

      • PromptPrincess13 says:

        A powerful tale about hard choices and carrying the flame for those who you might not ever be able to be with. Wonderful job, Jhowe, truly a wonderful story.

    • snuzcook says:

      Wonderful choice for the prompt, jhowe! It showed so well how universal the themes of love and human relationships really are, across cultural, geographic and historical settings. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

    • frankd1100 says:

      Excellent concept and well written dialogue and scene description. The stark pragmatism of Suya provides a jolt at the end. I guess I was rooting for Daktoni.

      The story hooked me… good job.

  78. don potter says:

    I could hardly sit in my seat. The thought of seeing Shelly after all these years made my nerves jingle and my heart race. Didn’t think I’d be this excited when she called and asked me to meet her at the pub around the corner. She walked in at noon wearing a wedding dress.

    “What’s with the getup?” I asked, totally nonplussed by her attire.

    “Is that how you greet your high school sweetheart after fifteen years?”

    “Well, you took me by surprise. Going to a costume party?”

    “Actually, I’m supposed to get married this afternoon,” Shelly replied.

    “To whom?”

    “Marvin Gold.”

    “Oh, him.”

    “His father is one of the richest men in the city.”

    “So why did you ask me to meet you here? You want to rub it in or something?”

    “I can’t go through with it.”

    “Lots of people get the jitters before walking down the aisle,” I said.

    “It’s more than that. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life with someone I’m not in love with.”

    “A big house, lavish living, vacations whenever and wherever you want, endless shopping trips – what’s not to love?”

    “There’s more to life than material things,” she said and dropped her head down.

    “I wish I had some of those things. It would sure make my life easier.”

    “You were the one that wanted to be a writer.”

    “Yeah, but I didn’t think it would be this difficult.”

    “I thought you loved to write.”

    “It’s not the writing that’s the problem. Making ends meet is not easy.”

    “You’ve been published.”

    “I make enough to slide by each month. I’ve been out of college for ten years and have nothing to show for it.”

    “I read everything you’ve done from the articles and short stories to your first novel. You have talent. Keep on writing. Others will recognize what I’ve known all along.”

    “I didn’t know you were a fan of my work; they are few and far between. But enough about me, let’s get back to why you’re getting cold feet on your wedding day.”

    “It’s quite simple. You write because you love it, and I want to marry the man I love.”

    “In time, you could grow to love Marvin.”

    “Not while I’m still in love with you.”

    “What?”

    “I never stopped loving you, through those college years and when you traveled the world gathering information to write about. Then I read in the morning paper you were back in town to work on your next book. So I called you and here we are.”

    “This is crazy. I mean, wow. Guess I feel the same way, but I have nothing to offer you and Marvin has everything a girl could want.”

    “Not this girl.”

    “Well in that case, let’s go down to City Hall and get married. No sense wasting a perfectly good wedding gown.”

    That was twenty-five years ago, and that’s pretty much how I remember it. I have had several bestsellers over the years with Shelly by my side offering support and inspiration.

  79. agnesjack says:

    Everyone assumed that Bob and I would be the first to get married after high school, but during his first semester at Columbia, he met some waspy blonde with a big house on the Hamptons, and it was bye-bye Shirley.

    I was a mess at first, but eventually recovered. After finishing my undergrad at NYU, I decided to go to law school. For the next twenty years I focused on my career and didn’t think much about marriage. I worked long hours, so time and life just tended to slip silently by.

    It was the day after my fiftieth birthday, while sitting on my couch feeling sorry for my successful, but single self, that I got the idea to Google Bob. Almost immediately, I found his Facebook page and phone number. Fortified by a half a bottle of wine, I dialed his number. I thought, if he’s married to the blonde, I’ll just make up something about a class reunion — but he picked up and seemed genuinely happy to hear from me.

    It turned out that we lived about twenty miles from each other in the suburbs north of Manhattan, so we decided to meet at a bar in White Plains. I was on my second glass of wine when I heard the door open and in he walked.

    He was thirty pounds heavier than the photo on his Facebook page, and his hair was obviously dyed, but when he gave me that crooked grin, I melted like a seventeen-year-old.

    “Hey, Shirl,” he said as if he’d just seen me yesterday.

    “What’s with the tuxedo, Bob,” I had to ask. He was wearing a tuxedo that was too tight and seemed a little worse for wear.

    “Oh. Yeah. I’m supposed to be getting married today. It would be my fourth, but when you called last night I thought, maybe God will save me from this one. You know what I mean?”

    I couldn’t say that I did, because all I could think of was, FOUR MARRIAGES?

    Needless to say, our conversation didn’t last long. The funny, playful, surprising young man that I had fallen in love with all those years ago had grown into a tiresome, overgrown child, who apparently supported himself by marrying money.

    While walking in a disappointed haze to my car, I nearly tripped over a guy who had stopped to tie his shoe. My purse and everything in it went flying. As he helped me retrieve my belongings, he asked if I was an attorney. I said yes. He told me he had been with the opposing counsel on a case I had been involved in many years before. He said he remembered me because I had been the only one at the bargaining table who didn’t act like I had something to prove.

    Steven and I had dinner that night and got married the following September. He is funny and smart and quite surprising, but in an easy, secure, adult way. Sometimes I think I should call Bob to thank him, but then I think, maybe not.

  80. Kerry Charlton says:

    BURNING EVER SO BRIGHTLY

    Brian set the phone gently on his coffee table, he thoughts wandered back to the time when his mornings arrived crisply, his high school days having been surrounded by Trudy’s love. Seniors in school, they had danced till dawn at the prom. That coming fall promised Harvard for Brian and Trudy headed to Stanford, 3000 miles west.

    And now his best friend Tom, had called and said Trudy was getting married that afternoon at four. ‘Why hadn’t I kept up with her?’ he thought. He knew the real reason but had continued to punish himself over it.

    With a racing heartbeat, he dialed her number and heard her sweet voice,

    “Trudy, it’s Brian. I wanted to wish you the best today.”

    “Long time between calls,” she replied curtly.

    “I know but would you have time to meet today?”

    “My wedding day? Are you serious?”

    “I’m sorry for everything,” he said. “Good luck to you.”

    “Wait Brian, please. I can meet you at the ‘Red Diamond’ in forty five minutes.”

    “I’ll be waiting for you.”

    “Well Scout, are you ready for a walk?” Brian said.

    The Germas Shepherd mix, wagged his tail with happiness and the two of them left his apartment. Down fourteen floors in the elevator and then to the street, they walked.

    “Are you ready for a slice of Pizza, old boy?”

    Scout nudged his side in approval as they entetred the door to the Red Diamond Inn.

    “Your usual spot?” the manager asked as Brian walked to the dimly lit, rear corner.

    “Thanks Bob, I’m waiting for a girl. She’s five six, redhead and beautiful. Can you give Scott a slice when you have time?”

    “You bet and I’ll show her to your table.”

    Brian thought back to the last time they had met. They had promised love eternal and it was he that decided not to see her again. ‘Was I wise in my decision?’ he pondered.

    Her scent had preceeded her as she walked back to his corner. He rose and held his arms open to her.

    “You want a hug after all these years? Okay,” she said. “Who’s your good looking friend?”

    “Scout boy, say hello to Trudy.”

    The German Shepherd voiced his greeting. As they held each other, Brian felt her lace wedding dress.

    “You look beautifiul Trudy,”

    “Your’re not so bad yourself, you know.”

    When Trudy settled, her gaze fell to Scout.

    “Brian, how do you like my white dress?”

    “It’s as beautiful as you are.”

    Trudy’s eyes filled with tears, that fell to her lavender wedding dress.

    “Why didn’t you tell me? Did you think for one moment it would have made any difference?”

    “I didn’t want you feeling sorry for me and be a burden.”

    “If you can put up with me Brian, I can certainly be your eyes for you. I’ve always loved you.”

    Two lovers kissed in the dark corner of the Red Diamond Inn. Young love, first love is eternal, burning ever so brightly.

    • agnesjack says:

      This is an intriguing story, Kerry. Did the MC become blind in college and break it off then? The reveal of the blindness was quite well done.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Thank you Nancy. The MC’s blindness was a progressive, unrelenting disease that happened in his third year at college. He did manage to become a brilliant trial attorney in spite of his handicap. I’m glad you enjoyed my story.

    • don potter says:

      Your story unfolded so naturally I did not realize Brian was blind until you were ready to reveal it. Very heart warming, indeed.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Thank you, Don. I wanted to keep the blindess under wraps until the ending despite dropping a few clues along the way, should someone catch one or two. I appreciate your comments, as usual.

    • Observer Tim says:

      Great story, Kerry. You dropped the clues, and I walked right past without picking them up. And I love both the happy ending and the way it was gently revealed. This succeeds on so many levels.

    • Silver Sister says:

      This story was lovely and heartfelt. Good job leaving clues that didn’t give too much away, but made sense upon reflection. Great read!

    • BezBawni says:

      I’ve missed the emotional and touching stories of yours, Kerry. And just like first love, my love for your stories burns ever so brightly)

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Thank you, BezBawni. I think that’s the nicest compliment I’ve ever received.

        • PromptPrincess13 says:

          Poignant with gorgeous writing. I really liked it…love can transgress so many handicaps, and sometimes we all forget what a force that is. This is a beautiful tribute to that and it’s definitely my favorite story for this prompt. I think I’ve read it like three times already…probably more.

          • Kerry Charlton says:

            Thamk you Princess, it means a lot to write something that someone else can feel as I feel writing this. You never know when you hit the post bar if you’ve done the best you know how to do.

            This one of only a few stories I’ve posted here, that I’m proud of. Thank you. You are a wonderful writer and I enjoy your voice, as I read.

    • snuzcook says:

      Kerry, your heart shines through again in this story. Your clues were well placed, and made me smile as I suspected the reveal was coming. Sweet sentimental tale.

    • frankd1100 says:

      You write from the heart Kerry. Little hints along the way but enough heart tugging surprise to choke me up.

      Can’t help thinking good people should somehow end up together.

      I’m always intrigued by the creativity of your approach to the prompts. The imagery sticks.

      Well written Kerry.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Thank you Frank. Coming from someone who can write as you do, is treasured compliment. When I write, I only visualize the opening scene, set my mind on “auto” and let the fingers write. So many years of observing so much, must be hidden deep and only comes out when I start to write. Your story above, is very special, but you already knew when you posted.

  81. thejim says:

    Brick stood up and pushed his chair away with the back of his legs. The screech it made as it scraped across the floor resonated throughout the empty pub. Beer foam raced down the inside of his empty pint. He gazed across the room as a figure approached. The white lace of her dress swept the dirty floor. Before he had a chance to extend his arms she dove and tightly wrapped her herself around his body, he could hear her weeping. He motioned for her sit and gave the barkeep a look and with a simple wave of two fingers drinks were on their way.

    He sat and listened to her tale of woe, how she learned that her groom had cheated, lied and then never showed up for the wedding ceremony. As she spoke he paid attention only enough to figure out what she was saying otherwise his mind drifted back; when they had met, their first kiss, dances, long walks, all a just faded memories held captive in his mind. His focus went back to her sobbing about how she thinks he left with one of the bridesmaids because she was gone too.

    Four sets of empty glasses sat on the table as Brick escorted her out to the front seat his car. Some assistance was needed to remove train that was bustled up to her dress. He shut the door and made his way around back to toss the train into the trunk. The white lace covered the two dead bodies nicely. As Brick closed the trunk the corners of his mouth curled up to form a small satisfying grin.

    “Were too?” he asked

    “Any place but here.”

    “I have the perfect spot that no one will find you.” He said as he put the car in drive and pulled away.

    A light fog lifted off the road as they drove away.

  82. BezBawni says:

    “I’m supposed to be getting married today, but …” Lisa broke off and took a trembling breath.

    “Here, drink this,” I said pouring her a glass of water. She took it, but her hands were shaking too much. She put the glass back. Her fear started to rub off on me and the furtive stares from every corner of the cafe made the nagging feeling in my stomach even worse. Under different circumstances I’d be happy to help an old flame in distress – she was stunning in that wedding dress, after all – but I could see by her face that whatever had happened wasn’t to be taken lightly.

    “But what?” I whispered and leaned closer to her. “Lisa, you were supposed to be married, but what?”
    She opened her mouth to answer, but no sound would form. She reminded me of a golden fish cast ashore on a hot summer day.

    “Tell me…whatever it is we’ll figure it out, I promise.” I took her hand and only then I realized why people around us were staring. It wasn’t because she wore a wedding dress, but because that wedding dress was covered in red stains.

    She caught my shocked look and exhaled the words, “It was an accident.”

    “What was an accident?” I didn’t mean to sound cold, but her face turned ashen and she fixed her pleading eyes on me. We were too conspicuous, so I pulled Lisa up on her feet, half-led half-carried her out of the café and helped her into the passenger seat of my car. When I got in from the other side, I turned her face towards mine.

    “What did you do?” I asked her.

    “I killed my fiancé,” she said and broke into tears.

    From what I managed to piece together among sobs and wails, I learned that her fiancé, Owen, had a pint or two in the morning before climbing into Lisa’s window and trying to persuade her that he needed a quickie to help him relax before the ceremony. She pushed him away and he fell back smashing his head on the mantelpiece.

    “So, you just left him lying there and drove here?” I asked. The accusation in my voice was almost palpable. She nodded without looking at me. I took her by the shoulders – they felt so soft and so dear. The touch conjured up memories of quiet evenings on the river bank, of sweet flower fragrance and warm skin. When I’d called her and she agreed to meet I hoped for a quiet romantic lunch. I wasn’t ready for a murder confession. It was a split second when I knew I had to do what was right, but then she raised her eyes. The past rushed on me in one burning torrent of emotions and washed away all reason.

    “Did anyone see you leave?” I asked.

    “No…I think,” she said under her breath.

    I started the car and raced forward, out of the city and God knows where.

    • agnesjack says:

      No, no. Don’t do it! Ah, what people will do when intoxicated by love. Nice to see you back, BezBawni. You’ve returned with a vengence.

    • don potter says:

      Don’t know where they’re headed but the road ahead looks bumpy, at best.

    • Observer Tim says:

      You came back strong, BezBawni! This is a great story; I sense a life on the run ahead for Lisa and her paramour/accomplice. The juxtaposition between the lovely memories and the murder is particularly well done.

      • BezBawni says:

        Thank you, Tim. It’s always a pleasure to hear your kind words as well as read your lovely ‘miniatures’)

        • Kerry Charlton says:

          I have felt the frenzy before and have to tell you, your story line is more real then you might ever imagine. Through history, lovers have murdered for love, slolen for love, died for love and turned traitor for love.

          Despite the tragic circumstances the lovers will find in their journey, I doubt if they had to do it all over again, they wouldn’t take the same patyway. I loved everything about this story including the idea of the ‘quickie’ to relax.

          Your line, ‘She reminded me of a golden fish cast ashore on a hot summer day,’ is classic

    • snuzcook says:

      Great scenario, BezBawni! I am holding out hope that the would-be groom was just knocked unconscious with a scalp wound, and we all know those bleed like crazy. If he survives, I would chalk it up to a happy escape for the bride to be.

  83. snuzcook says:

    KARMA

    “I’m supposed to be getting married today, but I just don’t feel that into him anymore.” Trisha leaned on the bar and signaled for another mimosa. She had told me that she could only drink champagne today, dressed as she was. By that, she meant the wedding dress that flowed around her as she balanced on the bar stool beside me.

    “I had no idea this was such a special day for you.” I had called Trisha because I promised my sister I would start dating again. This was my first, safe step toward seeing women after my ex walked out last winter. I had told myself that Trisha would be easy. We had dated in high school, and just drifted apart. We still ran into each other now and then, and she was always friendly.

    When I walked into the pub and saw her in that wedding dress, I thought the Universe was playing a cruel joke on me. I had looked around for any sign of a groom. That’s when Trisha confided that she was less than enthusiastic about the whole idea.

    “He’s just so boring,” she said. “We’ve been living together for a year and a half, and we never do anything fun anymore.“ She sipped her drink. “I’ve seen him picking lint out of his navel, for God’s sake. And last week I found his funky toe nail clippings on the arm of the couch!” She shuddered, then washed the image away by draining her glass. She waved the empty glass at the barman.

    “Maybe you’ve just got cold feet,” I said. “I’m sure he must be a nice guy or you never would have hooked up with him.”

    She swiveled her eyes my direction, then her face followed. “I only ever hooked up with one really nice guy, Steve, and that was you.”

    I silently took a swig from my beer.

    “No, really. Why do you think I agreed to meet you here, today of all days? Because I had to see you again, had to make sure I wasn’t making a mistake.” She put one hand on the nape of my neck, drawing my face toward her. “You won’t let me make a mistake, will you, Steve?”

    I looked at that face, seeing the girl I once knew somewhere behind the woman I did not know at all. I gave her the smile she was hoping for. “No, I won’t let you make a mistake.” I got up, laid three tens on the bar and took Trisha by the arm. “Come on, let’s get out of here.”

    She grinned and snuggled against me, letting me propel her out the door.

    Five minutes later, I delivered her into the arms of her clucking and scolding relatives gathered outside the church. In my rear view mirror, I watched as the knot of bodies moved as one unit up the walk toward the chapel.

    I couldn’t help smiling. And I was pretty sure the Universe smiled back.

  84. kjliteraryartist@yahoo.com says:

    I didn’t even turn to look toward the door when he walked in. I saw the glow of the late morning light outlining him as he quietly shut the door behind him and turned the deadbolt. We were alone in the dark underbelly of my father’s pub. I knew we would have privacy here. Everyone else was already blocks away at the church. It would be only moments before they realized what had happened. We had to act fast.

    I swallowed the last of the vodka tonic I had been nursing. I spoke without even turning to look at him. “Where have you been?”

    He pulled off his coat and I gasped. The sleeves of his crisp white linen shirt were covered in crimson blood, five shades darker than his apple red necktie and vest, and he was dripping with sweat.

    He slumped down on his barstool: “In case you forgot, I was supposed to get married today. It’s not as though I was able to come and go as I please. There are people everywhere. You have no idea how hard it was to get her alone. With your mother, and all those other girls cackling around her, and she almost had a heart attack when I insisted on seeing her before the wedding.”

    I stepped behind the bar to grab a Stella Artois for him, pulled a bottle opener out of the cleavage of my red chiffon bridesmaid dress, and popped the top. Since high school, Stella had been his favorite beer. We used to park in a secluded area by the lake, just us, a 12 pack of Stella, the tape player in his tiny Mazda RX7, and our hormones. It was in this spot that he had taken my virginity. It was also in this spot that, 12 years later, he proposed to my younger sister.

    I handed him his beer. “What is with all the blood?” I asked. “I thought you were going to make it look like an accident.”

    He set down his empty bottle and motioned for me to open a second: “Your father was hanging around the stairs, looking for you. I couldn’t push her. I had to think fast.”

    “So I’m assuming you stabbed her?”

    “With the cake-serving knife, in her suite. Then I jumped out the window and headed straight here.” With that, he swallowed down his second beer, slammed it down on the bar, let out a burp, and said, “well, I guess we better get going. They’ll be after us as soon as they realize we’re both missing.”

    We had been planning this for a month, ever since I hatched the plan to make him think that my sister was cheating on him, that the seed in her belly belonged to a man she had met on her bachelorette trip to Mexico. I had told him I was in love with him, that I had never stopped being in love with him. I almost had to force myself not to throw up as the vitriolic words fell out of my mouth. It had been too easy to convince him. He was still the exact same boy he was in high school.

    I asked him to wait for me while I used the restroom. Then I headed to the back of my father’s pub, pulled my mobile phone out of the cleavage of my dress, and dialed 911.

    “Operator, I am at Leo’s Pub on Main Street. My sister’s fiancé is here, and has just confessed to killing her. They were supposed to be married today. “

    And with that, I snuck out of the back of the bar, locked the door behind me, got in my car, and headed toward the church to stand proudly with my sister on the biggest day of her life.

  85. Dyane357 says:

    ” but apparently, you didn’t get the memo.” Ray said.
    “What are you talking about?” I asked. “What memo?”
    Ray smiled that same old smile—the one that always used to make me feel as if I were the only woman in the world–and said, “I don’t care what made you call me after all these years but I promised myself that if I ever heard your voice again I’d stop whatever I was doing, find you and do what I should’ve done all those years ago.” Then he pulled a little blue box from his pocket, got down on one knee and said,”Lisa, will you marry me?”

  86. HomemadeHummus says:

    Manuel breezed into the pub. His face lit up when he saw me sitting in a corner booth, nursing a beer. He was wearing a tuxedo with tails and an ascot, the whole nine yards. The thought, “People only wear that for weddings”, flickered across my mind.
    Manuel slid beside me into the booth and kissed me on the cheek like he always had. It caused a flutter in my stomach. I could hear my heart pounding as he said, “I’m supposed to be getting married today, but a black cat crossed my path this morning.”
    I stared at him. Was this a joke? But I knew it wasn’t. Manuel was the most superstitious person I’d ever met in my life.
    “Why did you agree to meet me if you’re getting married today?”
    “In an hour.”
    “You’re getting married in an hour? Get out of here!” I pushed him.
    “I already told you- the cat.”
    “You’re not getting married because of a cat?”
    “And a broken mirror and a hat on the bed and a ladder I walked underneath. I’m telling you, it’s going to be cursed.”
    “Don’t be silly, Manuel. It was great to see you and part of me is glad that you came but you should forget about the cat and go get married.”
    “I can’t. All of that happened this morning and I’ve only been up since seven. I spilled some salt at breakfast and I tried to throw some over my shoulder.”
    “Like you do,” I interrupted.
    Manuel looked at me. His eyes widened and he slammed his hands on the table, “Exactly! And Liz took the saltshaker from me! Can you believe it? She wouldn’t let me throw it over my shoulder. You understand what that does!”
    “To you. I understand what it does to you.”
    “And to my luck! How can I marry someone who doesn’t believe me?”
    “Honestly, I never believed you but I understood that it was important to you. So it was important to me too.”
    Manuel looked pained, like he might cry. I immediately regretted what I’d said but it was the truth. Manuel’s superstitions and obsession with good luck could be almost debilitating at times but I’d accepted it as a quirk. It was part of who he was and this woman wanted to break him of all the little habits that made him Manuel.
    “Go get married,” I choked out, trying not to cry.
    “Do I wait for someone who understands?” he whispered. “You understood.”
    “Do you love her?”
    “Yes.”
    “Then go.”
    As Manuel walked out of the bar I tried not to watch him leave. I tried not to worry about his superstitions driving his new wife crazy and her rejection of them hurting him. I tried not to think about how I’d started throwing salt over my shoulder when I spilled it. He turned back and smiled sadly. I took my pint glass and threw it through the mirror behind the bar.

    • don potter says:

      Does the broken mirror behind the bar mean she will be plagued by his memory for the next seven years? The stringing together of the superstitious acts made this an enjoyable tale.

    • Observer Tim says:

      This reads like something from a Latin American soap opera, HomemadeHummus. It’s emotional, enjoyable, and over the top, all at once. Good job!

    • Silver Sister says:

      Sad that Manuel is about to marry a woman who has no clue who he is. You created a poignant moment between old flames.

    • agnesjack says:

      The superstitions made the story interesting and almost humorous, but the real story underneath of how his phobia affected his relationships made it sad.

      • PromptPrincess13 says:

        I loved your voice in this story, HH. I felt bad for Manuel but liked how the past of him and the MC was present in the portrayal of his quirks. A nice take on the prompt. PS. I love you username…there’s nothing quite as good as homemade hummus with crushed red pepper flakes and warm pitas. Yum.

  87. Reaper says:

    Serial Monogamy

    Emily was my first serious crush. We dated briefly, after Chuck, but our relationship was fated to burn bright then fizzle. Yesterday was the first time I called her since then. I was elated when she agreed to meet at noon today.

    Emily arrived at my neighborhood pub before me. It was not until I sat down that I realized she was wearing a wedding dress. She had ordered for me. She knew me well. The burger was perfect but I had not partaken in Amaretto Sours since that night. She responded to my gaze at her dress.

    “I’m supposed to be getting married today but…”

    I tried to find the words but they all stuck in my throat. She averted her eyes as she continued.

    “You know how my dad never approved of any of my boyfriends?”

    “Yeah.” Finally a word! It sounded weak to my ears.

    “Well he approves of Jim, because my fiancé is an FBI agent. Good enough for me. You know?”

    “Yeah.” It sounded weaker still.

    “I don’t know if I can go through with it. Not how things stand. Jim started asking questions. I think he knows about the night.”

    The night we had agreed never to speak of. Senior year she had been dating a boy named Chuck. One night over too many Amaretto Sours she confessed that Chuck hit her. As she went into detail my anger rose along with my intoxication. I called my buddies Bill, who had a truck, and Frank who was the biggest boy I knew. Emily tried to stop it but in the end she rode along. That night Chuck disappeared. The police looked but not very hard. Chuck had been from the wrong side of the tracks. There was a look in Emily’s eyes when it happened. Something broke inside her at witnessing that act. Even as it freed her it stole her innocence. I was always surprised at how well she coped.

    She asked about our two old friends. I let her know that Bill’s brakes had given out one night on his way home. Frank suffered heart failure from too many drugs during a session with a prostitute that was never found. Emily looked annoyed hearing about the prostitute. She had always been a good girl. Of course the mention of drugs and whores would bother here.

    “Do you think we can give us another chance? Get the worry out of my life and move on?” She was looking down shyly as she held up her glass of wine.

    I gave in and clinked my tumbler to her glass. This was our new beginning. It had been a long time since I indulged in that cocktail. I didn’t remember it smelling so strongly of almonds. Had they always been so acrid tasting? Maybe the sour mix needed to be replaced.

    Why is my tongue numb?

    Emily is kissing my cheek and telling me she can finally get married.

    I thought we were leaving together.

  88. Ink.Reign says:

    sorry If my grammar is bad and this is my first time (plus I usually never write in a man’s point of view)

    Alicia looked dazzling. She always did. She’s probably the only woman I know who can still look beautiful and charming covered in blood. I had closed the pub about three hours ago despite grunts from some of the regulars who seemed to never have their fill. I knew I should go to her,hurry her into the back room and get her cleaned up, but I took a moment longer to admire her beauty. She stood under a few dim lights, her white dress sparkling and contrasting the red blood in a way my eyes would never forget. It was wonderful. She took a step towards me and then a few more and we were so close I could smell her perfume. Then she flashed a smile… and I’m not sure what this means…but in that smile I saw anarchy. She leaned into me and we hugged…the blood still warm between us. And she started to laugh. A silver bell laugh, like the princesses do in movies. And I laughed along. After all this time! Finally! I had emailed her that it was a go, that we could meet at the pub tonight. I hadn’t seen her in so long, long distance just isn’t the same as the real thing. I looked at her pulling apart from our hug and I could tell she was trying to say something between her laughs.
    “I’m supposed to be getting married today!” Her laughter was contagious, “But this is so much better! This was so great! Wonderful!” She stopped, “and Nate…I could never have done this without you.”
    I felt elated. I started shaking. This was it, it was all worth it for her.
    “I have towels in the back.” I stuck out my arm and she took it.
    We walked towards the back humming “here comes the bride” and trying not to laugh.
    “Just hold still.” I said when we got there. I took a damp washcloth and began to wash off her arms.
    “Nate thank you so much.”
    “You’re so welcome Alicia I-”
    The blade must have been concealed in her dress somewhere. She was swift about it, a quick slice to my stomach and I fell on the ground.
    “Oh Nate! it’s even better a second time.” She was a vision of joy.
    I woke up a day later in the hospital, an apparent victim of foul play. They said the attacker was gone and that i was safe now, they probably don’t even know I survived. I know Alicia would never kill me. She knew I wouldn’t die. She loves me. She loves me. She loves me…

  89. Amyithist says:

    I walked into the pub, slinging my purse over my shoulder. I scanned the dark, smokey room, my eyes stinging slightly as I studied the bar. I suddenly spotted him; three seats down, his hands steeped together, his eyes staring straight ahead as if he were reading some dialogue on the bar’s mirror. I approached slowly, clearing my throat as I approached.
    He glanced up at me, frowning slightly. “Hi,” I breathed. I felt incredibly dizzy standing there. Emotions swelled through me as I looked into his eyes, waiting for a response. Finally, he gestured toward the seat and watched placidly as I sat next to him.
    “I thought I’d never hear from you again, Tiffany.” His eyes flashed and I felt my face flush with uncertainty. Was this a good idea? I’d forgotten how intense this man could be…
    “I know,” I said, swallowing. “I-I just wanted to talk to you and tell you how sorry I am about the way things ended between us. I’m going through this 12 step program and-”
    “You waited ten years to look me up,” he said. His voice was laced with anger. “And today of all days.” I suddenly realized that he was dressed in a tuxedo. He flicked his finger at the the bartender, who immediately poured him another shot of whiskey. The weathered old man’s eyes flitted up to me and he gave me a disgusted look. I felt my confidence begin to wane.
    “Adam, I-”
    “NO,” he held his hand up, “you left without any explination. You drank our entire senior year, left me holding the bag for the hit and run YOU caused…” He took a deep breath. “I spent two years in prison, Tiffany. Two years.”
    Tears rounded down my face and dripped onto the grimy bar top. I hung my head and tried not to break down. “I’m sorry,” I murmured.
    He didn’t reply. He looked at me for a long moment before downing another shot of whiskey. I gripped my purse, my insides beginning to feel as if they would shake right out of my body. “Sorry,” he finally huffed. He turned and glared at me. Anger smoldered behind his eyes. “I loved you, Tiffany. I would have done anything for you.”
    I sobbed and wiped at my eyes. “I’m sorry,” I said again.
    Adam rose and flipped two twenties onto the bar. He stuffed his wallet back into the lapel of his tuxedo and looked down at me. I didn’t return the gaze. “I hope you feel good about yourself,” he huffed. “I hope this program works for you and I hope you get your life back on track. In the meantime, I have a wedding to attend and a woman-” he paused and smirked at me, “a real woman to marry.”
    I watched as Adam stalked out of the bar. He didn’t look back. I thought about how silly I’d been to try to make amends. And maybe changing my life and my ways was a silly thing to do, too. I ran my hands through my hair, still trembling. Waiving at the bartender, I fished my debit card out of my purse. The bartender approached. His face was still grim and disgusted. ‘Yes?”
    I handed him my card. “Could I get a Singapore sling and keep the tab open.”

    • Reaper says:

      This is excellently tragic. A well crafted tale human misery. The only bit that threw me off was the quick double use of the word approached in the first paragraph. Which I mostly point out because it is something I am working on curtailing in my own writing.

    • snuzcook says:

      A well-told tale, Amyithist. I was expecting a fairy tale, maybe a parable, but instead it was a story of human tentative courage and underlying pain. It was sad and disappointing that Adam felt the need to punish her, but very human. It was sad and disappointing that Tiffany was strong enough to take steps toward working the program, but not yet strong enough to ride out the results; but also very human.

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is a very entertaining and readable story, Amyithist. There is a certain realism to the dialogue. However, I found it very hard to sympathize with the characters. I doubt either of them is headed for anything good in their futures, if the attitudes presented here are any indication.

    • abhijit jiwa says:

      Good writing. The characters sound real. One finds oneself easily drawn into the narrative. I think perhaps if the story moves on from here, Tiffany and Adam would have a chance to get together again, if somehow she makes up for the bad sides of her character.

    • agnesjack says:

      This was a very realistic take on the prompt. It’s not easy to make amends (as is required in AA), and it’s not easy to forgive. Neither character can take that step forward at this time, and I wonder if they ever will. Excellent, Amyithist.

    • don potter says:

      Never make amends in a bar, because it may end up in a slip. Tiffany’s expected a favorable reaction from Adam rather than realizing her job was simply to clean up her side of the street. Hope she makes it back to AA.

    • Silver Sister says:

      I did find it a little strange that a recovering alcoholic would have a meeting as emotional as this one in a bar. But if Adam insisted on it, I could see how she might think this was the only way. As soon as Tiffany fished out her debit card, I want to climb into the story and shout, “No, don’t do it! He’s not worth it!” Only a writer adept at making a reader feel the scene could’ve elicited that reaction from me. Well done.

  90. Observer Tim says:

    Corinne McAllister was a girl I’d dated precisely three times in high school, but who still managed to get an unbreakable grip on my heart. When her dad was transferred to Seattle my world was devastated. Now, ten years later, an anonymous e-mail told me she was back in town. We arranged to meet at S.U.D.S., a friendly bar not far from my apartment.

    When she walked in I knew her in an instant. She had the same gorgeous blonde hair, the same lithe figure, the same button nose. I hadn’t expected the form-fitting satin wedding dress. Her eyes lit up when she saw me.

    “Jack! You look fantastic!”

    “Thanks, Corinne, you too. But?” I gestured at the gown.

    “I’m supposed to be getting married today, but things have gone south. I need a big favour.”

    Despite the fact that my heart was being torn out through my chest, I had no choice. For her, anything. “Sure, what is it?”

    “I need a groom.”

    “What? What’s going on, Corinne?”

    “Will you do it? Come on, we can talk when we get there.”

    She towed me out the door and across the street to a small church. The minister looked a bit confused as we went into a small dressing room. There was a tuxedo waiting, which looked fairly close to my size.

    “Put this on while I explain.”

    While I dressed she told me that she was part of a secret anti-terrorist organization that was trying to stop some major league crazies from releasing a biological weapon in downtown Chicago. The wedding was a front; the real goal was the five star resort in Colorado where we would be going on our honeymoon, and where they were headquartered. The guy that was supposed to be her partner had come down with a case of steel-jacketed lead poisoning a couple of days ago. That was where I came in.

    “Isn’t this a little complicated, Corinne?”

    “It’s all we’ve got. The resort is booked up for months, and our only way in is a contest prize won by one of our sleeper agents. Don’t worry, I’ll be there to protect you.”

    “But marriage?”

    “It won’t be a legal marriage, silly; we’re both using assumed names. I’m Cindy McWilliams and you’re John Appleby. Do you still do target shooting on Thursday nights?”

    I was surprised she remembered. “Yes, but …”

    “I’ll give you a gun; hopefully you won’t need it. Protecting yourself is like target shooting, except the targets move and fire back.”

    “What about the, um, sleeping arrangements?”

    “In two hours you’ll be my husband. I’ve been waiting ten years to take advantage of that. If we can make this team work, we should be able to work together for a long time.”

    It was dangerous, it was insane. It was probably suicidal. But it was either run off with a gorgeous spy on a dangerous adventure or go back to selling men’s wear at the department store. I kissed the bride.

    • Reaper says:

      I will admit that this is not my normal type of story. I have to say you won me over by reminding me of Chuck without being anything like it except that it’s a normal guy gets the hot agent he loves story. Mostly I fell in love with this because I love a good turn of phrase and the term steel-jacketed lead poisoning had me grinning from ear to ear.

    • snuzcook says:

      That was a lot of fun, O.Tim.
      I found myself fighting the improbability of Corrine/Cindy’s story, and not wanting the MC to swallow it because she just might be hiding a sinister plot to snare him. But somehow his “what the hey” attitude was contagious and I enjoyed the end. There is a definite flavor of the ‘every-man’s fantasy’ about this piece, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

    • abhijit jiwa says:

      Wow ! The story really whizzed by faster than a bullet! Would love to be in the MC’s shoes . Full months in a resort? Yes!