Valentine’s Day Secret Admirer

You receive a Valentine’s Day card in the mail from a secret admirer. According to the love note, the secret admirer will reveal his or her identity on Valentine’s Day at a location mentioned on the card. Oddly enough, this is the same location you are taking your current love interest out on a Valentine’s Day date. Write about how this evening plays out.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

Want more prompts? Consider:
The Writer’s Book of Matches

You might also like:

150 thoughts on “Valentine’s Day Secret Admirer

  1. Fawn Redwood

    I sat in the cinema, blankly watching the soppy movie that I had had the will to pay seven quid to see. My boyfriend James was disobeying the ‘No Phones Rule’, having turned down the brightness to minimum, and was texting his mates. He had only come along with me because it was Valentine’s Day and he felt he should make some sort of an effort one day in a whole year.
    I thought back to the card I had received this morning; the small card with clear black handwriting on the envelope reading Elizabeth Matthews. They had sent it to my house and used my full name so I had reasoned that they must know me well. But I couldn’t think of anyone who had that information. Even James didn’t know my full name and we had been dating for six months already.
    The card had been sweet but short and precise, like they had chosen the words carefully. They had said to meet at the cinema, to see the exact film I was watching now, and signed it The Invisible Boy. But The Invisible Boy hadn’t turned up.
    “Footy starts in an hour,” James said to me, “and the boys are having a before-match party.”
    “Can you even have those?” I asked.
    “I dunno,” James replied, “but I have to go.”
    “Bye, then,” I muttered as he got up and left the cinema. Some day this was turning out to be.
    I sat there for a while longer, debating with myself whether I should go or not. I didn’t want to see the rest of the film, but my mind kept wandering back to the card I had received. If only The Invisible Boy would just turn up and turn my day around and we could eat popcorn or something.
    I waited for another fifteen minutes before walking out. I strode out of the cinema, out into the afternoon sunlight outside. I paused for a single instant before deciding to catch the bus home.
    “Wait!” someone said behind me. I spun around to see a boy my age running after me. He was wearing a beanie hat and a coat but I seemed to recognize him.
    “Carter?” I asked incredulously. I couldn’t be him. Not Carter Walsh. He would never go to the cinema. Carter Walsh was the biggest nerd in our year at school.
    When he approached me, he suddenly looked nervous. He pulled off the beanie, revealing his floppy brown hair which fell in his glasses-framed eyes. “I’m sorry I couldn’t talk to you in the cinema, I was… nervous,” he gulped.
    “You…?” I trailed off. It couldn’t be him. Not Carter Walsh who I had known since I was four; the boy who I knew so much about, who lives opposite my house.
    “I am,” he told me, “Elizabeth, I am The Invisible Boy.”

    *****

    I know I didn’t altogether follow the prompt since it sort of went in a different direction, but I would love some feedback – I’m a fairly new writer!

  2. Selenack

    I’m a sensible person. Even in moments of high emotion, I retain my sensibility.

    Reading it made me happy, I admit. Oh, very happy. Jerry – not that it’s a bad thing – he just isn’t the romantic type. We’ve been dating long enough to know that. I don’t mind, really. I guess I’m not the romantic type either. Doesn’t mean I don’t have little-girl memories of princesses and princes, an idea of what love should be.

    The lettering was handwritten and neat. Clearly not my boyfriend’s – even if he was the sort to write it, decoding his handwriting is near impossible. But this – how much can I tell from the handwriting? – is not only attractive, but simple and understandable. The wording isn’t too complicated, it reads like a good book. I’m infatuated with this letter. Not the writer, you understand, I don’t know him, just the letter. It praises me without being odd or creepy, it’s beautiful. The paper smells like oranges and sugar. Only ladies spray that ‘recognize me!’ perfume in the envelope. Scented paper means he’s expensive, that scent means he’s sweet, he doesn’t mind what people think of him, because he uses fruit instead of champagne. He’s used two different kinds of ink. Fountain pen-black for the main letter, and a romantic red for the signature ‘Hopefully yours, a secret admirer’. How can a man so perfect be too frightened to tell me in person? Perhaps he isn’t nervous. Maybe he’s just being romantic. It’s been so long, I’ve forgotten what that’s like.

    I’m sensible, I can’t go through with something like this. Jerry’s in the other room, watching sports as usual, where I can tell him. But… if I do that, he’ll change the reservation. Marcus’s isn’t too fancy of a restaurant – Jerry wouldn’t spring for that. Canceling it won’t take a moment of hesitation, and I’ll never know.

    I suppose not telling is the sensible thing to do.

    So far, no one has approached the table. Maybe he expected me alone, and now he’s too nervous. That must be it. Over by the bar, I see a quivering young gentleman. He looks embarrassed and lonely, sipping his margarita. I want a closer look. With a word to Jerry about the ladies’ room – he’s too busy with steak to even notice – I get up. I’ll pass him and shoot a look. There he is, wearing an expensive-looking suit.

    As I walk past… I small oranges and sugar.

    I’m sure it’s him – or I was, until I heard the woman two seats down say my name as she looked up. I know this woman! Maria, from the office. How did I not recognize that distinctive and unusual perfume?

    She’s embarrassed and looks down. I sit next to her. She’s everything I’d want in a man, if only she weren’t a woman. But I know why I didn’t tell Jerry. I needed something, some excitement in life. There wasn’t passion there. Perhaps… I should give this a try.

  3. laurentravian

    I looked over the letter again as I waited for Johnny to pick me up for our date. Could he have possibly written it? I answered myself again. No, it wasn’t his style. However…no. Billy had died in that shootout with the Santie Brothers, the only men still left in town who followed the ways of the 1850’s. Of course, Pa once did that. I sunk into a deep, brooding mood. Luckily I was ready when Johnny picked me up. ” You look beautiful, Jessica.” he said, kissing me lightly on the lips. As we drove silently to Le Chez Belle, the restaurant he had chosen, known for it’s swankiness. Once inside, we made pleasant conversation at the table a disappointed- looking waiter had shown us to, and raised our glasses of Chere Blanche high. After downing two glasses and an appetizer, Johnny suddenly looked quite nervous. He got out of his chair, and down on one wobbly knee. “Jessica, will you-” he was cut off by a frying pan smacking his head. He collapsed onto the floor with a goofy look on his face, and revealed the waiter standing behind him. “Jessie…” he began. I backed up to the wall. Surely he wouldn’t attack me, here, in front of all these people?! ” Jessie.” he said again. Then I finally recognized him, and began screaming my head off. Can love be stronger than death? I certainly think so.

  4. Jeannie Wraight

    My hands gripped the envelope twisting it as a mixture of fear and dread overtook me.
    “What’s that” My husband of nine years asked as he entered the hallway.
    “Nothing” I said stuffing the wadded envelope in my pocket.
    “Looks like a Valentine. Secret admirer?” he asked jokingly.
    “I wish” I responded with a fake sigh.
    “Too bad, you know I love competition” Darin said gently smacking my rear as he walked past.
    “Don’t forget dinner tonight. The Chief of staff wants to meet you. He’s holding off his final decision until he meets the wives. Family stability and all.”
    All I could manage was a smile as he headed out the door.

    That day was sheer hell. The Valentine’s card telling me to be at Sardini’s the same place and time as the Hospital’s Valentines dinner was nerve wracking enough but it was signed with the same heart and OX John had signed his notes with.

    It was four months since that horrible night. We were both miserable in our marriages, looking for the passion and excitement they lacked. Our office affair was like a dream for five months until Johns behavior began to change. He became jealous and possessive. He threatened to tell his wife and my husband about us. He became irrational. When I told him it was over he lost it, like a switch had been flipped. We were in his car in the park, our usual spot during lunch hour. He demanded I leave with him, abandoning everyone and everything. His eyes grew wild and his voice louder. When I tried to get out of the car he grabbed me by the throat and squeezed. I managed to grab the steering wheel bar lock. I hit him and ran. I never saw him again.

    The next morning the police arrived at our office. John’s car had been found on Millers Bridge. A passer by saw him jump. Weeks later I saw his wife, Rona at the supermarket. She broke down, telling me how much she missed John. She was devastated by his suicide and three months pregnant.

    There were times since then that I’ve felt him. Sometimes at night I felt like he was outside the house, watching me. Now this note, could he really be alive? They never found his body. What was he planning at Sardini’s?

    Dinner proceeded without incident. Darin seemed a shoe in for the promotion. Nearing the end of the night he excused himself to the mens room. The busboy handed me a note. It read “Meet me outside or they’ll be a scene”. Terrified I headed out to the parking lot. Something hard slammed the back of my head.

    I could smell the dirt when I awoke. I was lying in a hole next to John. I could see the bullet wound despite the decomposition. Above me stood Rona and Darin. “Did you think we didn’t know?” laughed John, “and the baby’s mine” were the last words I heard.

  5. Lois

    “See?” Brian’s finger stroke the back of my hand, “It’s not that bad.”

    I smiled, said nothing and set my fork down.

    It was bad. I did not like Indian foods and I still did not.

    “I’m glad you changed your mind.” He said, taking a sip of wine from his cup. I mimicked him, washing the strong taste of the spice out of my mouth, silently wondering what made him think that I had liked the food. I had hardly touched my food and have mostly been waiting for him to finish them so we could leave. The taste was too strong, the smell was too heavy that occasionally, when the waitresses walked pass with a dish, I held my breath briefly.

    Sometimes, his naivety still surprised me.

    I shrugged, pushing the plate toward him.

    “Go on,” I urged gently, and my gaze went away again, scanning the dim amber room. My hand went toward my purse as I thought of the card. Of course, I suspected that Brian would not be happy that I hadn’t told him about the card, but I had my reasons.

    First, there was a good possibility that the card was sent to the wrong address. It could have been for another Kate Nelson and it could have all been a misunderstanding and Brian would not need to know about it. Second, there was a good reason that when this “secret admirer” noticed that I was with Brian, they would leave. Again, Brian would not need to know about it. And lastly, it might even be Brian. He could be my admirer, though he could hardly be my “secret” admire. I felt a little guilty that the he wasn’t the first person I thought about when I read the card, but it was written in a purple pink-Brian only wrote with black and occasionally, when he was in a good mood, blue. He said those were the only colours suitable for men.

    I sighed and he looked up only to flash me a quick smile before he returned to his (our) foods.

    “Bria–,” I stopped as I spotted the young man on the door. He was taller than the last time I’ve seen him. His eyes somewhat darker, his jawline more prominent but I recognised him. A smile lit up my face while a frown fell on his. I stood in hurried as he turned away. I could hear Brian shuffling behind me, calling out and I waved for him to join me.

    “Wait!” Of course, nobody ever waited when you asked them to, “Joshua!” I called out and he stopped. From the corner of my eyes, I could see Brian talking to the waiter, perhaps paying for our meal. Joshua turned to face me, tilted his head the way he had always did. Even if he had grown so much, his movements, his habits were still the same. The same old Joshua who I tutored back in high school.

    “Oh my god, Joshua.” The words slipped out without much thought, because if it had, I wouldn’t have let them out. They meant nothing. I hadn’t since him since I graduated and moved to London. His first few steps were hesitant but then they grew in confidence as he grew closer.

    “Kate,” He nodded, “Kate Nelson, you haven’t changed in a bit.”

    “You’re the one to say.”

    “Kate?” Brian finally caught up, his hand wrapped around my arm as he stopped next to me. I brushed it aside, removing it gently.

    “Brian,” I turned to look at Joshua briefly before turning to Brian again, “This is James. He was my… um… we were in high school together.” Suddenly I felt so alone and I placed my arm around Brian, “And James, Brian’s my fiance.”

    I wasn’t proud but for a brief second, the thought that they should had occupied each other spaces crossed my mind.

    ** Would love feedback. Thank you! **

    1. hillsworth

      Brian, when are we going to see a sample of your work? I think it would be beneficial to alot of us ‘newbies’ to see a pro’s take on his own prompts. Afterall, you must have a scenario running through your mind when you come up with these. Thanks for an amazing site. I’m hooked.

  6. Red Tulip

    I couldn’t agree with Anne more. This is the best website for those who have high passion in writing to pour out and share their creative ideas with each others. Thank Brian^^

  7. annefreemanimages

    Brian – thanks so much for the prompt a week. This is the best thing I’ve done to work on my writing. Although the 500 words is challenging, it’s doable. The community is great – so many good writers, and good comments and insights. This is truely a blessing!

    ~Anne

  8. smcdonald

    Please give me feedback

    I hold the heart shaped note close to my heart. Who could it possibly be? I had no idea but I was strangely compelled to act upon their wishes. I glance at my wallet which had a picture of Aiden, my 6 foot 5 inch boyfriend. I close my eyes and breath in hoping to find some sort of internal answer, but my trance is interupted by a quiet knock at the door. I already know it’s Aiden because of the quiet careful manner in which he knocked. I shove the note into my pocket, fix my hair and open the door.
    “Hey babe!” Aiden pulls me into an embrace of balloons. Setting down the bags and heart shaped balloons, he presses his lips to my in a heart stopping moment.
    “Happy Valentine’s Day,” I say slightly fazed but not enough to forget the note. Aiden hands me a plethora of bags, each with a hand written note on a heart shaped card. Could it be?! Excitement builds inside of me, if it was him it was INCREDIBLY romantic. Alright I’ll play along with his little game, I smirk to myself with pride. “Hey I uh got this letter from a secret admirer.” AIden’s eyes widen with suprise as he snatches the crumpled not from my hand.
    “Who gave you this?!”I wink flashing a small grin.
    “I don’t know,” I say slowly, playfully. Aiden looks at me with anger.
    “Who is it!” He growls inspecting the note.
    “Oh come on Aiden!” I snap, “ I know its you,” He looks at me with shock.
    “Thats poposterus!” He shoves the note into my hand.
    “ Really?! “ I say my voice dripping with sarcasm, “ You really didn’t think I’d pick up on the matching cards?!”
    “ Blair I swear,” He holds up his hands, “ I didn’t write this.”
    “You didn’t?!” I look at it closer, relizing the handwriting was much neater than Aiden’s.
    “No!” He grabs my hand, “ But I’ll know who this guy is at our date tonight!” We walk to Taboo, five minutes early so we could set up. I sit on the concrete bench where I was directed, watching Aiden walk into the resturaunt alone.
    “Blair!’’ The secert admirer runs up to me, dressed head to toe in a trench coat. “YOU CAME!” He pulls off the glasses and hat.
    “Cole?!” He sits next to me, “Wow! Your dressed great!” He pulls of the trench coat reveiling a suit.
    “You too,” I had to admit he was handsome, ok HOT, but he was my best friend. I looked into his eyes, their michevous glint enchanting me. I feel myself lean in. Our lips touch and warm tingles shiver through my body. I pull him closer to myself, pressing our lips against each other harder. Maybe so I can forget my situation.
    “Stop kissing my girlfriend!” Aiden’s voice trembles with anger, and I instantly pull away from Cole.
    “Aiden——-”
    “Stop,” He holds a hand out to me, and pulls me to him. “She’s mine,” He kisses my forehead which feels dull compared the sparks with Cole.
    “She wants me,” Cole stands. God he is so hot when he’s angry. How did I miss that? “She NEEDS me.” He holds out a hand as I look between the two. Which one should I choose?

    1. annefreemanimages

      Hi SM. Interesting scenario. I would have been a little bit scared sitting in the park alone with a stranger stalking me – after all, she really didn’t know who it was. And that made Aiden look a little caddish, leaving her there, even if he was watching. On the other hand, I felt bad for Aiden with her kissing this other guy, knowing he’s watching. If I were Aiden, I’d have dumped her right then! Not sure that most guys in Aiden’s place would have been waiting around to see if she picked him after she started sucking face with the other guy. That didn’t quite ring true to me. Otherwise, it was a good shot at the prompt.
      ~Anne

      1. smcdonald

        Thank you SO much. I’m in middle school, and want to practice my craft a much as possible. You make two excellent points, and thank you for taking the time to reply.

  9. Red Tulip

    I went to my mail box to grab my newspaper and some letters and I went back to my bedroom again. Ashley who is my girlfriend of two years is still sleeping like a baby. I flipped through all the letters and suddenly something caught my attention. It was a pink envelope written “To Marcus” on it. I opened it and there was a card-a Valentine’s card.

    “Dear Marcus, meet me at Strait Quay tonight.” This was what written on the card with the sender’s name left unknown. “Strait Quay? Seriusly? The place for tonight Valentine? Ashley? No way! She wouldn’t know that I owned a private yacht mooring at Strait Quay. I never told her about it. I just bought the yacht few weeks ago to propose her. Who is this?” The question is lingering around my mind for the whole day. I want to ask Ashley but if the message was not from her then it will definitely ruin everything-the proposal, the yacht, the surprise and Ashley will mad at me for having some secret admirers sending me Valentine’s card. Finally, I texted Ashley asking her to meet me at “The Ship” which is the restaurant that we used to hang out and I guessed it is the backup plan for tonight.

    The night has finally come. I went to Strait Quay alone. After half hour of waiting, my curiousity about who is the secret admirer grew stronger. I want to leave but I am eager to find out who is it. Then, there is a woman approaching towards me and she looks familiar.

    “Sherry?” I said.

    “Yes, it is me, honey.”

    “You are the secret admirer? Seriusly?” I asked her.

    “My husband and I already divorced. Our divorce was finalized last week and the first thing that came into my mind is you. I miss you.”

    “I don’t care! We broke up like 6 years ago from the moment I knew you were married and I am so over you!” I am very pissed right now.

    “I still love you and I miss you. I want to be with you. I divorced because of you, Marcus. Because of you.”

    “After 6 years?!” I gazed fiercely right into her eyes waiting for her answer.

    “Erm..I…” She is speechless and stared blankly at the table refusing to meet my gaze.

    “Whatever you do, it is too late now. I don’t feel something for you anymore,” I told her and my anger has faded than just now.

    “Marcus, please. I still love you. You know that. We can be like we used to be. I promise that I wouldn’t never hurt you anymore. Honey, I really love you.”

    “You know what, I am getting married. I am sorry that I don’t feel sorry that thing doesn’t work out for us,” I walked away holding firmly a ring with a sapphire set on it and whispered, “Will you marry me, Ashley?”

  10. Red Tulip

    I went to my mail box to grab my newspaper and some letters and I went back to my bedroom again. Ashley is still sleeping like a baby. Ashley is my girlfriend of two years and I have made my mind. It’s time for me to build my very own family and have some kids around. And today is the best day to make a proposal. Instead of having a romantic dinner in the best restaurant, toasting the best wine and giving her the most expensive gift that I always do every year of Valentine’s Day, I guess this year should be different. I flipped through all the letters and suddenly something caught my attention. It was a pink envelope written “To Marcus” on it. I opened it and there was a card-a Valentine’s card.

    “Dear Marcus, meet me at Strait Quay tonight.” This was what written on the card with the sender’s name left unknown. “Strait Quay? Seriusly? The place for tonight Valentine? Ashley? No way! She wouldn’t know that I owned a private yacht mooring at Strait Quay. I never told her about it. I just bought the yacht few weeks ago to propose her. Who is this?” The question is lingering around my mind for the whole day. I want to ask Ashley but if the message was not from her then it will definitely ruin everything-the proposal, the yacht, the surprise and Ashley will mad at me for having some secret admirers sending me Valentine’s card. Finally, I texted Ashley asking her to meet me at “The Ship” which is the restaurant that we used to hang out and I guessed it is the backup plan for tonight.

    The night has finally come. I went to Strait Quay alone. After half hour of waiting, my curiousity about who is the secret admirer grew stronger. I want to leave but I am eager to find out who is it. Then, there is a woman approaching towards me and she looks familiar.

    “Sherry?” I said.

    “Yes, it is me, honey.”

    “You are the secret admirer? Seriusly?” I asked her.

    “My husband and I already divorced. Our divorce was finalized last week and the first thing that came into my mind is you. I miss you.”

    “I don’t care! We broke up like 6 years ago from the moment I knew you were married and I am so over you!” I am very pissed right now.

    “I still love you and I miss you. I want to be with you. I divorced because of you, Marcus. Because of you.”

    “After 6 years?!” I gazed fiercely right into her eyes waiting for her answer.

    “Erm..I…” She is speechless and stared blankly at the table refusing to meet my gaze.

    “Whatever you do, it is too late now. I don’t feel something for you anymore,” I told her and my anger has faded than just now.

    “Marcus, please. I still love you. You know that. We can be like we used to be. I promise that I wouldn’t never hurt you anymore. Honey, I really love you.”

    “You know what, I am getting married. I am sorry that I don’t feel sorry that thing doesn’t work out for us,” I walked away holding firmly a ring with a sapphire set on it and whispered, “Will you marry me, Ashley?”

  11. Red Tulip

    Valentine’s Day Secret Admirer

    Holding a cup of very finely brewed coffee from Saudi Arabia while still in my bathrobe, I went to my mail box to grab my newspaper and some letters. I went back to my bedroom. Ashley is still sleeping like a baby. Ashley is my girlfriend of two years and I have made my mind. It’s time for me to build my very own family, attend my kid’s birthday instead of going some wild parties and get laid with some women. And today is the best day to make a proposal. Instead of having a romantic dinner in the best restaurant, toasting the best wine and giving her the most expensive gift that I always do every year of Valentine’s Day, I guess this year should be different. I flipped through all the letters and suddenly something caught my attention. It was a pink envelope written “To Marcus” on it. “Maybe it is from Ashley who try to give me some Valentine’s surprise,” I thought that. I opened it and there was a card-a Valentine’s card.

    “Dear Marcus, meet me at Strait Quay tonight.” This was what written on the card with the sender’s name left unknown. “Strait Quay? Seriusly? The place for tonight Valentine? Ashley? No way! She wouldn’t know that I owned a private yacht mooring at Strait Quay. I never told her about it. I just bought the yacht few weeks ago to propose her. Who is this?” The question is lingering around my mind for the whole day. I want to ask Ashley but if the message was not from her then it will definitely ruin everything-the proposal, the yacht, the surprise and Ashley will mad at me for having some secret admirers sending me Valentine’s card.

    “Are you going to propese Ashley while meeting your secret admirer at the very same place?” asked Andrew, my best friend. I stunned. I am too busy thinking who is the secret admirer till I forget about this. It is a big problem now. I am speechless for a moment and then I looked at Andrew. “I got an idea,” I told him. I texted Ashley asking her to meet me at “The Ship” which is the restaurant that we used to hang out and I guessed it is the backup plan for tonight.

    The night has finally come. I went to Strait Quay alone. After half hour of waiting, my curiousity about who is the secret admirer grew stronger. I want to leave but I am eager to find out who is it. Then, there is a woman approaching towards me and she looks familiar.

    “Sherry?” I said.

    “Yes, it is me, honey.”

    “You are the secret admirer? Seriusly?” I asked her.

    “My husband and I already divorced. Our divorce was finalized last week and the first thing that came into my mind is you. I miss you.”

    “I don’t care! We broke up like 6 years ago from the moment I knew you were married and I am so over you!” I am very pissed right now.

    “I still love you and I miss you. I want to be with you. I divorced because of you, Marcus. Because of you.”

    “After 6 years?!” I gazed fiercely right into her eyes waiting for her answer.

    “Erm..I…” She is speechless and stared blankly at the table refusing to meet my gaze.

    “Whatever you do, it is too late now. I don’t feel something for you anymore,” I told her and my anger has faded than just now.

    “Marcus, please. I still love you. You know that. We can be like we used to be. I promise that I wouldn’t never hurt you anymore. Honey, I really love you.”

    “You know what, I am getting married. I am sorry that I don’t feel sorry that thing doesn’t work out for us,” I walked away holding firmly a ring with a sapphire set on it and whispered, “Will you marry me, Ashley?”

  12. Red Tulip

    Holding a cup of very finely brewed coffee from Saudi Arabia while still in my bathrobe, I went to my mail box to grab my newspaper and some letters. I went back to my bedroom. Ashley is still sleeping like a baby. Ashley is my girlfriend of two years and I have made my mind. It’s time for me to build my very own family, attend my kid’s birthday instead of going some wild parties and get laid with some women. And today is the best day to make a proposal. Instead of having a romantic dinner in the best restaurant, toasting the best wine and giving her the most expensive gift that I always do every year of Valentine’s Day, I guess this year should be different. I flipped through all the letters and suddenly something caught my attention. It was a pink envelope written “To Marcus” on it. “Maybe it is from Ashley who try to give me some Valentine’s surprise,” I thought that. I opened it and there was a card-a Valentine’s card.

    “Dear Marcus, meet me at Strait Quay tonight.” This was what written on the card with the sender’s name left unknown. “Strait Quay? Seriusly? The place for tonight Valentine? Ashley? No way! She wouldn’t know that I owned a private yacht mooring at Strait Quay. I never told her about it. I just bought the yacht few weeks ago to propose her. Who is this?” The question is lingering around my mind for the whole day. I want to ask Ashley but if the message was not from her then it will definitely ruin everything-the proposal, the yacht, the surprise and Ashley will mad at me for having some secret admirers sending me Valentine’s card.

    “Are you going to propese Ashley while meeting your secret admirer at the very same place?” asked Andrew, my best friend. I stunned. I am too busy thinking who is the secret admirer till I forget about this. It is a big problem now. I am speechless for a moment and then I looked at Andrew. “I got an idea,” I told him. I texted Ashley asking her to meet me at “The Ship” which is the restaurant that we used to hang out and I guessed it is the backup plan for tonight.

    The night has finally come. I went to Strait Quay alone. After half hour of waiting, my curiousity about who is the secret admirer grew stronger. I want to leave but I am eager to find out who is it. Then, there is a woman approaching towards me and she looks familiar.

    “Sherry?” I said.

    “Yes, it is me, honey.”

    “You are the secret admirer? Seriusly?” I asked her.

    “My husband and I already divorced. Our divorce was finalized last week and the first thing that came into my mind is you. I miss you.”

    “I don’t care! We broke up like 6 years ago from the moment I knew you were married and I am so over you!” I am very pissed right now.

    “I still love you and I miss you. I want to be with you. I divorced because of you, Marcus. Because of you.”

    “After 6 years?!” I gazed fiercely right into her eyes waiting for her answer.

    “Erm..I…” She is speechless and stared blankly at the table refusing to meet my gaze.

    “Whatever you do, it is too late now. I don’t feel something for you anymore,” I told her and my anger has faded than just now.

    “Marcus, please. I still love you. You know that. We can be like we used to be. I promise that I wouldn’t never hurt you anymore. Honey, I really love you.”

    “You know what, I am getting married. I am sorry that I don’t feel sorry that thing doesn’t work out for us,” I walked away holding firmly a ring with a sapphire set on it and whispered, “Will you marry me, Ashley?”

  13. Red Tulip

    Holding a cup of very finely brewed coffee from Saudi Arabia, I went to my mail box to grab my newspaper and some letters. My neighbour, Mrs. Tan, who is a very old minded widow shaked her head in disgrace when she saw me still in my bathrobe. “He must be bringing woman to home again last night.” This is what Mrs. Tan would have in her mind right now. She knows that I always bringing women to home for a one-night stand and she, who being such an old school, can’t accept the way I live. Having fling and flirting around are my passion that started six years ago. However, for the past two years, I have been bringing the very same woman back to home. It just that Mrs. Tan does not notice about it as we always reach home by midnight and she practises the rule, ‘Lights off at 10pm.’

    Ashley is my girlfriend of two years. She is just feel so right to me. She is not the most beautiful women or the hottest chick I have ever seen but she just feel so right to me. She is just who she is and I love her for that. I have made my mind. It’s time for me to build my very own family, have some kids around and attend my kid’s birthday instead of going some wild parties and get laid with some hot chicks that I don’t even know their names. And today is the best day to make a proposal. Instead of having a romantic dinner in the best restaurant, toasting the best wine and giving her the most expensive gift that I always do every year of Valentine’s Day, I guess this year should be different. I want to make this year of Valentine’s Day as the most unforgettable day in our life. No more some lame romantic stuff that only last a night and back to normal by tomorrow morning. After tonight, I want our relationship to have not just love and sex but also commitment.

    I went back to my bedroom. Ashley is still sleeping like a baby. I gave her a soft kiss on the forehead and started to flip through all the letters while sipping my coffee. Suddenly, something caught my attention. It was a pink envelope written “To Marcus” on it. It is not a formal letter from insurance company or credit card company asking me to pay my bills. “Maybe it is from Ashley who try to give me some Valentine’s surprise,” I thought that. I opened it and there was a card-a Valentine’s card.

    “Dear Marcus, meet me at Strait Quay tonight. I am sure you will come.” This was what written on the card with the sender’s name left unknown. “Strait Quay? Seriusly? The place for tonight Valentine? Who is this? Ashley? No way! She wouldn’t know that I owned a private yacht mooring at Strait Quay. I never told her and I never bring her there. I just bought the yacht few weeks ago to propose her. So, who is this?” The question is lingering around my mind for the whole day. I want to ask Ashley but if the message was not from her then it will definitely ruin everything-the proposal, the yacht, the surprise and Ashley will mad at me for having some secret admirers sending me Valentine’s card.

    “Are you going to propese Ashley while meeting your secret admirer at the very same place?” asked Andrew, my best friend. I stunned. I am too busy thinking who is the secret admirer till I forget about this. It is a big problem now and I couldn’t imagine how Ashley will respond if there is another woman shows out on our date. I am speechless for a moment and then I looked at Andrew. “I got an idea,” I told him. I texted Ashley asking her to meet me at “The Ship” tonight at 8pm. “The Ship” is the restaurant that we used to go as it has the best steak in town and I guessed it is the backup plan for tonight.

    The night has finally come. I went to Strait Quay alone. I went to a nearby cafe and grabbed myself a cup of Cappucino while waiting for the secret admirer. After half hour of waiting, my curiousity about who is the secret admirer grew stronger. I want to leave but I am eager to find out who is it. Then, there is a woman approaching towards me and she looks familiar.

    “Sherry?” I said.

    “Yes, it is me, honey.”

    “You are the secret admirer? Seriusly?” I asked her.

    “My husband and I already divorced. Our divorce was finalized last week and the first thing that came into my mind is you. I miss you.”

    “I don’t care! We broke up like 6 years ago from the moment I knew you were married and I am so over you!” I am very pissed right now.

    “I still love you and I miss you. I want to be with you. I divorced because of you, Marcus. Because of you.”

    “After 6 years?!” I gazed fiercely right into her eyes waiting for her answer.

    “Erm..I…” She is speechless and stared blankly at the table refusing to meet my gaze.

    “Whatever you do, it is too late now. I don’t feel something for you anymore,” I told her and my anger has faded than just now.

    “Marcus, please. I still love you. You know that. We can be like we used to be. I promise that I wouldn’t never hurt you anymore. Honey, I really love you.”

    “You know what, I am getting married. I am sorry that I don’t feel sorry that thing doesn’t work out for us,” I walked away holding firmly a ring with a sapphire set on it and whispered, “Will you marry me, Ashley?”

  14. BlueOrangeBooks

    Accidental Change

    On his way out Richard threw the card in the trash. He’d almost passed out when he found the Valentine’s card, immediately recognizing his deceased wife’s handwriting asking him to meet her in his favorite restaurant. The only one he would meet there tonight was Carolyn, the woman he fell in love with after Janie had died. Besides, Janie never liked La Provence, ‘too fancy for a farm girl like me’, she’d say. This is nothing but a sick joke, he thought walking angrily towards the subway entrance.
    They had been childhood sweethearts, best friends, different backgrounds, moving to the big city into a comfortable marriage. He a scientist in quantum physics, she a teacher assistant. They’d been good together. He never meant to lose her.
    Once a week they’d meet for lunch at a bistro they both liked, ordering their usual, a small Caesar salad, grilled steak with truffle sauce and cappuccinos. That day Janie had rushed out the restaurant, late for her next appointment, kissing him on the cheek while he picked up the tab. She’d looked over her shoulder waving at him while shouting at a cab on the other side of the street. Screeching breaks, he turned, saw how she got hit by a car. He still couldn’t recall how he managed to get to her, making sure she was alive, getting her in the cab to the nearby hospital.
    She had some minor bruises on the outside but neurologist Dr. Carolyn Woods had informed him that Janie suffered from complicated internal injuries, that the next 48 hours would be crucial. He never left her bedside, telling her he loved her, saying his goodbyes before she’d slid into a coma and eventually into death on Valentine’s Day exactly one year ago.
    Richard tried to push back the tears avoiding the stares of the few passengers on the subway who noticed. After her passing he’d needed to understand first before he was able to accept, and he and Dr. Woods had long talks about how the human body deals with trauma. Then the tears had come, and a shoulder to cry on, finding his intellectual soul mate in the sophisticated Carolyn.
    Richard composed himself in the cool evening air as he walked over to La Provence. He found Carolyn sitting in a moonlit booth beautifully dressed in raspberry rose, dark curly hair up. She smiled softly as he sat down beside her. She took his hand when the waiter told him tonight’s special. She gently pulled him back as he tried to leave. He felt sick, the card, now their favorite last meal.
    Carolyn hugged him, handing him Janie’s letter. How Janie set this up when she’d known her end was near, how she’d asked the doctor to make sure he would be okay, telling him to celebrate Valentine’s Day every year to honor life, love and memories. And Richard felt like letting go. A fresh start. Without the guilt. Carefully and step by step.

  15. Red Tulip

    Holding a cup of very finely brewed coffee from Saudi Arabia, I went to my mail box to grab my newspaper and some letters. My neighbour, Mrs. Tan, who is a very old minded widow shaked her head in disgrace when she saw me still in my bathrobe. “He must be bringing woman to home again last night.” This is what Mrs. Tan would have in her mind right now. She knows that I always bringing women to home for a one-night stand and she, who being such an old school, can’t accept the way I live. Having fling and flirting around are my passion that started six years ago. However, for the past two years, I have been bringing the very same woman back to home. It just that Mrs. Tan does not notice about it as we always reach home by midnight and she practises the rule, ‘Lights off at 10pm.’

    Ashley is my girlfriend of two years. We met through my cousin brother during his father’s second wedding. She is just feel so right to me. She is not the most beautiful women or the hottest chick I have ever seen but she just feel so right to me. She is just who she is and I love her for that. I have made my mind. She is the one-the right one. It’s time for me to build my very own family, have some kids around and attend my kid’s birthday instead of going some wild parties and get laid with some hot chicks that I don’t even know their names. It’s really time for me to end my bachelor’s life. And today is the best day to make a proposal. Instead of having a romantic dinner in the best restaurant, toasting the best wine and giving her the most expensive gift that I always do every year of Valentine’s Day, I guess this year should be different. I want to make this year of Valentine’s Day as the most unforgettable day in our life. No more some lame romantic stuff that only last a night and back to normal by tomorrow morning. After tonight, I want our relationship to have not just love and sex but also commitment.

    I went back to my bedroom. Ashley is still sleeping like a baby. I gave her a soft kiss on the forehead and started to flip through all the letters while sipping my coffee. Suddenly, something caught my attention. It was a pink envelope written “To Marcus” on it. It is not a formal letter from insurance company or credit card company asking me to pay my bills. “Maybe it is from Ashley who try to give me some Valentine’s surprise,” I thought that. I looked at the back of the pink envelope and there is not sender’s name written on it. I opened it and there was a card-a Valentine’s card.

    “Dear Marcus, meet me at Strait Quay tonight. I am sure you will come.” This was what written on the card with the sender’s name left unknown. “Strait Quay? Seriusly? The place for tonight Valentine? Who is this? Ashley? No way! She wouldn’t know that I owned a private yacht mooring at Strait Quay. I never told her and I never bring her there. I just bought the yacht few weeks ago to propose her. So, who is this?” The question is lingering around my mind for the whole day. I want to ask Ashley but if the message was not from her then it will definitely ruin everything-the proposal, the yacht, the surprise and Ashley will mad at me for having some secret admirers sending me Valentine’s card.

    “Are you going to propese Ashley while meeting your secret admirer at the very same place?” asked Andrew, my best friend. I stunned. I am too busy thinking who is the secret admirer till I forget about this. It is a big problem now and I couldn’t imagine how Ashley will respond if there is another woman shows out on our date. I am speechless for a moment and then I looked at Andrew. “I got an idea,” I told him. I texted Ashley asking her to meet me at “The Ship” tonight at 8pm. “The Ship” is the restaurant that we used to go as it has the best steak in town and I guessed it is the backup plan for tonight.

    The night has finally come. I went to Strait Quay alone. I went to a nearby cafe and grabbed myself a cup of Cappucino while waiting for the secret admirer. After half hour of waiting, I lost my patience and my curiousity about who is the secret admirer grew stronger. I want to leave but I am eager to find out who is it. I am in dilemma. Then, there is a woman approaching towards me and she looks familiar.

    “Sherry?” I said.

    “Yes, it is me, honey.”

    “You are the secret admirer? Seriusly?” I asked her.

    “My husband and I already divorced. Our divorce was finalized last week and the first thing that came into my mind is you. I miss you.”

    “I don’t care! We broke up like 6 years ago from the moment I knew you were married and I am so over you!” I am very pissed right now.

    “I still love you and I miss you. I want to be with you. I divorced because of you, Marcus. Because of you.”

    “After 6 years?!” I gazed fiercely right into her eyes waiting for her answer.

    “Erm..I…” She is speechless and stared blankly at the table refusing to meet my gaze.

    “Whatever you do, it is too late now. I don’t feel something for you anymore,” I told her and my anger has faded than just now.

    “Marcus, please. I still love you. You know that. We can be like we used to be. I promise that I wouldn’t never hurt you anymore. Honey, I really love you.”

    “You know what, I am getting married. I am sorry that I don’t feel sorry that thing doesn’t work out for us,” I walked away holding firmly a ring with a sapphire set on it and whispered, “Will you marry me, Ashley?”

  16. Egg

    “Salam alaykom.” Hamid flashed his broken teeth in a crooked smile as he leaned across the counter.

    Kareem returned the smile, regretful of the man’s recent loss of two brothers. “Alaykom salam.” There was only one letter today, handwritten with loopy characters that rolled across the envelope like the tanks that rattled down the streets after dark. “Shukran.”

    The postmaster nodded as Kareem sliced open the envelope with a calloused finger. The note was in English. He traced the characters with his fingertip, recognizing the number 14, the month February, and the time, 1900. That was today, and the anniversary of his marriage to his wife of twenty-six years.

    He remembered his wedding day like it were yesterday. If it weren’t for his greying temples and failing eye-sight, it could have been yesterday. The soldiers still patrolled the street, their eyes filled with exhaustion, boredom and loneliness. And then there was those who breathed in the power, the urge to kill, the desire to stamp on their fellow man and spit in his blood as it gushed from his side.

    Kareem was conscious of the sweat on his hands, and wiped one and then the other on the front of his dishdash as he continued to scrutinize the letter. He could only guess that it had been sent by the American journalist he had befriended many months ago. She had taken a great risk in speaking with him and his family, and together they had spent many nights crouched in their tiny, one-room home in the dark as gunfire and explosions thundered around them.

    Kareem checked his watch, and knew that Fatima would be waiting for him in her family’s restaurant. The sun was sinking behind the horizon as he stepped into the street and hustled through the crowds hurrying home from evening prayer, eager to be indoors before dark.

    Fatima smoothed her hijab and her eyes wrinkled into a smile when she saw him. Kareem sat and stared at her across the table like the lovesick teenager of years ago. When he showed her the note, she motioned to a man sitting by the door smoking shisha. Kareem recognized him as a local businessman.

    Fatima spoke rapidly and the man Saeed took the note, read it in silence, and relayed its meaning. “I can help you start a new life in America,” it said. “Meet me to discuss,” followed by the name of the restaurant, the date and the time.

    Kareem scanned the restaurant but the fair-skinned woman was nowhere to be seen. He drank his tea and spoke with Fatima about a new life in America; a life without war; a life without the threat of losing one’s children in the careless cross-fire between strangers.

    Kareem and Fatima sat in the restaurant and waited. When the final call for prayer sounded hours later, Kareem slowly rose to his feet and walked back into the street, a burst of gunfire sounding in the distance.

  17. rob akers

    I am glad you did another submission. I did not expect to get emotional when I started reading but at the end, I was crying like Lisa. I have a soft spot for the men and women who have been over there and you hit it dead center.

    1. Icabu

      Oh – I didn’t mean to make you cry! My attempt was to show ‘normal American life’ still occuring (giggling girls before a dance, spat with mom, etc) and then the (welcome) shock when the military parent re-enters that life. Thanks for your input – it gives me hope.

      1. rob akers

        Like you and Hillsworth I served in another life. My service was more recient Iraq and Afghanistan. My daughter was 3 when I got out but many of my friends had older daughters and you hit my soft spot because you described the scene perfectly.

        I was in the air force like you and I agree about the uniform decision. The Marines have the best uniforms but all have earned the right to wear them proudly. I offer my salute to all the vets!

  18. Icabu

    ** Last one from me, I promise! I woke up with this story in my head …

    “Let’s see it again.”

    The girls giggled and crowded around Lisa as she opened the Valentine card.

    “I bet Tommy Blasedale is your secret admirer,” Cindy declared. “Angela dated him for almost two weeks and she said he kissed her on the first date.”

    “Real kiss or just a kiss-kiss?” Lisa asked.

    “Full tongue!”

    Giggles and squeals pealed throughout Lisa’s bedroom.

    “I’ve been practicing in front of the mirror in case it is Tommy.” Lisa stuck her tongue out and wiggled it about, showing her friends that she could handle any kiss Tommy might lay on her.

    “Aren’t you already going to the Sweetheart dance with Billy Thompson?” Shelby asked after another round of squealing giggles at Lisa’s demonstration.

    “Of course I am,” Lisa said. “But that don’t mean I can’t kiss Tommy.”

    After an hour of primping, Lisa and her four friends joined Lisa’s mother downstairs to leave for the dance.

    Lisa stopped cold, seeing her mother in her black dress, heels, and pearls. “Are you a chaperon, Mom?” The horror in Lisa’s voice was unmistakable.

    “Yes, honey.” Monica pickup up her clutch and the keys to the van. “But don’t worry. I’ll be at the refreshment table with the punch and potato chips.”

    That was little consolation for Lisa. She rolled her eyes and stomped out of the house. How could her mother do that to her when she had two dates, one a secret, and possibly her first REAL kiss all pending at this dance?

    “You gotta hold still,” Billy complained.

    Lisa smiled and settled into the slow dance with her original date. She’d been scanning the crowd and had finally spotted Tommy. He’d come to the dance with Brandy Littleton, but was hanging out with the other football players. She kept glancing over to see if he was watching her.

    When the song stopped, Lisa wanted to get a drink, but the music didn’t continue and the crowd became eerily quiet. She looked up at Billy, who was squeezing her arm painfully.

    “What … ?” She turned around, following the gaze of Billy’s big, round eyes.

    Lisa couldn’t believe her eyes. Standing at the edge of the silent crowd, in his crisp Marine uniform with medals gleaming, stood her dad. She screamed and flew to him – she must have sprouted wings because she knew her feet never touched the floor.

    He knelt down and caught her mid-flight. His strong embrace filled her heart as his aftershave brought back a familiarity that time and distance had dimmed. Her joy bubbled out in tears that shamelessly ran down her face.

    “You’re my secret admirer,” she babbled in his ear, her arms tight around his neck. “You sent the card.”

    “Always, sweetheart. Always.”

    *** following hillsworth’s example, this story is dedicated to a dear friend that was not able to come home to his girls – for TSgt T. K.

    1. hillsworth

      That was awesome. In one hand I wish I would have had kids when I was over in Iraq, but on the other hand, that would have made it soooo much harder to be gone. This kind of story gets everyone in their softspot. Thanks for posting.

        1. hillsworth

          I was there in Shield/Storm also. Seems like such a long time ago now. You are right about someone back home, I was married only two months before shipping out. What a honeymoon. I was with the 1st Cav. How about you?

          1. Icabu

            It was a long time ago! I was married 3 yrs by then. Air Force, 1st CE – BDA/Search & Recovery. Many friends in all branches.

  19. rob akers

    Another great Rett story. I like how she left her options open and was rewarded with a colorful character. I like how you keep her consistant and level headed. I would have thought that she would be playing a show on valentine’s day but I am sure we all earn a day off from time to time. Preparing for my submission, I thought about what Rett might be doing and thought she might have two admirers appear at a concert and she would have to work through the situtation.

    I dont know about everyone else, but I find all of these prompts to be difficult. I also struggle with the 500 word limit. However, I think is probably the best writing workout possible and I hope that I am getting better at the craft. I also try to work on one specific technique or aspect of my writing in each prompt. That probably makes the writing more difficult. I appreciate the submissions from each writer and I have found that I am learning from everyone who submits an prompt. What a blessing this site has been to me!

    1. annefreemanimages

      I couldn’t agree with you more, Rob. This weekly prompt was exactly what I needed to help me write consistantly, improve the craft, and develop my character. I took several days to figure out a scenario for this story. But, I’m happy with the way it turned out. Thanks for commenting, Rob.
      ~Anne

  20. princehal

    What to do? First things first, who was she? It wasn’t my first mash Valentine, but to name the time and place for our meeting? “A la Carte, 7 pm. See you.” The very restaurant I was having dinner with Faith. Nothing else. No name to work with. Who did she think she was whoever she was? Or who I was, to get more to the point. To assume I didn’t have a date on Valentine’s Day was positively insulting. There was something vaguely familiar about the handwriting. A vague recollection of a telephone number scribbled on a napkin. What to do?
    Not that I am shy about making a sudden change of plan. I am quite constant when it comes to that. Whales get killed because they take the same path all the time. Constancy is not the same as fidelity. We hadn’t done it yet, me and Faith, so it wasn’t a matter of fidelity. Three dates and still kissing. But I wasn’t going to cancel my reservation and then show up there alone just because some enigma tells me to. That would be cruel. As well as stupid. I mean, who reserves a table for one on Valentine’s Day? Or for two without knowing the Two? That would be like choosing a mate out of a grab bag. Not that I haven’t seen couples who wouldn’t have done better that way.
    I probably should have told Faith about the card, but what if this woman is really hot? I’m no whale.
    I got to the restaurant exactly on time. She didn’t. I’d told Faith to meet me there. Two reasons. First, I am punctual, and she is not. We’d already sat through a play that made no sense because she was late. Second, this was a tough reservation. As in don’t get there on time, then tough.
    I checked in with the maitre d’ – cute, shapely legs – and sat at the bar with a Pinot Noir. I looked at my watch every few minutes. Whenever I looked up, an attractive woman was in my sightline. Patience, lad, patience. After fifteen minutes, I was fuming – ready to bolt with the Mysterious Stranger as soon as she showed.
    The maitre d’ approached, eyes twinkling. Had it been her all along? She did look familiar, or was I handing myself a line? Had she waited until the coast clearly was clear? Faith might still come. Good. It will teach her a lesson. I reached out my hand, expecting the touch of her fingers to be the prelude to her name. An envelope fell into my palm.
    I looked down. That handwriting again! When I looked up, she was walking briskly away. I opened the envelope, eyes still on her muscular calves. I held the note up to the light.
    “Sorry, I really was going to show, honest. But I just met this guy and well, you know, things happen. Maybe it was karma I forgot to sign the card. Faith.”

      1. Brian A. Klems Post author

        All comments must be approved by me to avoid spam. I check in as frequently as I can. I’m typically off on weekends and holidays. I still try to check in, but sometimes I just need some family time away from work. Comments do get approved or answered eventually.

        Thanks
        Brian
        Online editor

  21. annefreemanimages

    Valentine’s Day Cad
    A Rett Bonneville Story
    By Anne M. Freeman

    I was three strikes out and the evening had just begun. Strike one was agreeing to a dinner date tonight with Clint. Nice enough guy, but I didn’t realize it was Valentine’s Day when I said yes to him. I wasn’t ready for a “real” relationship with this man and hated to lead him on. Strike two was agreeing to dinner at the Harvest Inn. Great place, great food, but that was the spot where my Secret Admirer wanted to meet me tonight, according to his card. So that makes three of us who would probably end up unhappy by the evening’s end.

    We arrived at the Harvest Inn just about at the time Secret Admirer hoped to meet me. I quickly scanned the bar area before being seated in the dining room with Clint. The bar was crowded with people, and no one looked at me in particular that I could tell.

    After ordering dinner, our young waiter, Judson, brought a bottle of Champaign and two glasses. Clint was trying hard, I thought, too hard for my comfort level. Clint, however, looked truly surprised.

    “I didn’t order this,” Clint said to Judson as he began pouring the bubbly.

    “Yes, sir. A gentleman at the bar sent it to your table with his regards,” Judson replied.

    “What man?” Clint asked, now frowning, and looking towards the bar.

    “I don’t know, sir, didn’t give a name. He left after he approved the bottle.”

    “One of your boyfriends?” Clint asked me, anger rising up his neck and to his face.

    I just sat there and stared silently at him. I wasn’t getting baited into this game.

    After an awkward silence, Clint finally decided.

    “Fine!” he said, his face set into a mean look. “Enjoy your Champaign.” And he walked out of the restaurant.

    Judson and I watched him go. Well, my at least my secret admirer proved useful in helping me ditch Clint.

    “I’m so sorry, miss!” Judson said, looking really upset.

    “Don’t be. You didn’t do anything wrong.”

    “Is there anything I can do?” he asked.

    I thought for a minute.

    “Yes, there actually is something that you can do for me,” I said, slowly. Then I made up my mind.

    “Go to the bar, and find someone who is alone and looks pretty down. I don’t care if it’s a man or a woman. If he or he or she likes porterhouse steak medium rare and Champaign, they’re on. When you find someone who does, bring ‘em over to my table. Would you do that for me, Judson?”

    “Sure, miss. I’d be glad to.”

    When Judson left, a few diners tried not to look like they were monitoring the situation. Shortly thereafter, Judson came back with a little old man who looked as if he spent a few too many of his evenings at the Inn. He sat down, cautiously.

    “Hi, my name is Rett. Happy Valentine’s Day.” I held out my hand to shake his. It was dry and leathery.

    “I’m Joe. What’s this about, young lady? Are you sure a pretty lady like you wants to spend Valentine’s Day with an old coot like me?” He smiled, and his face lit up.

    “Sure do, Joe. So, tell me all about yourself. How did you earn your those calloused hands? …”

    (This was a hard prompt for me. Anyone else feel that way? Looking forward to reading your submissions and your comments. ~Anne)

      1. annefreemanimages

        Thanks for commenting, Icabu. 500 words is tough. I find I have to write the complete thought, and then start cutting out everything that isn’t essential to the story. Once I post it here, though, I usually expand it prior to posting it on my own website.
        ~Anne

    1. hillsworth

      I didn’t have much trouble with this prompt, but last weeks was bad. I couldn’t even submit to it, just drew blanks anytime I thought about it. I had to read them all in privacy too, cause my kids are still at the age of beleiving in the toothfairy, and I was afraid they would read some of the stories and that would start all the questions, and when they find out about the toothfairy, it’s ‘look out, Santa’. Then you blink and they’re gone. 8(
      Keep up with Rett, I admire the continuity. Was telling my wife that I’d like to find a constant for many stories. Seems like I’m all over the place with characters and genres.

      1. annefreemanimages

        Hi Hillsworth. Thanks for commenting. I find that having one character to place in all of the various situations makes writing a story every week more realistic. At least I don’t have to make up the entire story – I have to figure out the scene and how she reacts to it, but I don’t have to create a new character every week. You may find the challenges a little less daunting if you try that strategy, as well.
        ~Anne

    2. jmiff328

      Anne, I really like you ongoing character and I always look forward to reading about her adventures every week. That said, I felt this week’s short story felt a little forced. Overall it was a good read though. It kept my attention and I always like your colorful lanuage. ie: “Old Coot” awesome!

  22. hillsworth

    When Jamie came home from work and checked his mailbox, he was surprised to see a Valentine card addressed to him. Thinking it was from his wife Lori, he hurriedly opened it and frowned as he read the note saying that he would find out who it’s from tonight at Dong Soo Kim’s Oriental Massage Parlor.

    He walked into the house and asked Lori, “Are you messing with me?” holding the card out to her.

    She read the note twice and said with a smile, “Eeewwwww, You got’s yourself a secret admirer. But how did whoever it is know we were planning on going there tonight?”

    Skeptically, Jamie eyed her for a moment, trying to determine if she was trying to buffalo him, then finally shrugged. “Who knows. Maybe I’ll get lucky and you two will hit it off and this Valentines evening we’ll have that menage a trois you’ve been wanting.” He threw his arms up to ward off the blows that he knew were coming.

    Instead, she just narrowed her gaze, shook her head and said, “You’re such a pervert, just like your buddy, Erik. Now go get a shower so you don’t gross out the masseuse.”

    Later, as Jamie was feeding quarters into the parking meter, he heard a familiar voice calling to him from across the street.

    “Hey Loverboy, fancy meeting you here.” Erik and Mandy were walking toward them, both smiling. “Happy Valentines day, buddy.” Mandy was unable to stifle a giggle as Erik revealed his ‘secret admirer’ identity to Jamie.

    As the two couples came together just outside the entrance, Jamie asked, “That was from you?”

    “Absolutely. You’re always reading the stories I write and you always ask why there’s never a happy ending. Well…., tonight you’re going to get your happy ending. Both of you.”

    Puzzlement appeared on their faces. “What are you talking about?” Lori asked, moving a little closer to her husband and a little further away from Erik.

    “You’ve been here before, right?” Mandy asked.

    “Yeah, remember I told you we were here last year for Valentines Day?”

    “Didn’t you pay extra and get the ‘Happy Ending’?” Erik questioned.

    “Never heard of it. What is it?”

    Erik reached out and opened the door, ushering them inside. “You’re about to find out. Everything’s been arranged and paid for. Happy Valentines Day.” The four of them bowed as Dong Soo greeted them in similar fashion.

    (Thanks for all the support and comments, Jamie and Lori. This one’s specifically for you.)

    Comments welcome and thanks for reading.

    1. annefreemanimages

      Hi Hillsworth. I love the first 5 paragraphs. Enjoyed their interactions, natural and fun. The transition paragraph between Jamie feeding quarters and the two couples meeting in front of the parlor was a little confusing to me. Not sure who was talking at times. One last part I wasn’t sure of – was the threesome in the beginning supposed to foreshadow the happy ending? If so, was it going to be a foursome instead? I wasn’t sure what was being implied at the end. Maybe I read too much into it. Very much liked the idea of the story.

      ~Anne

  23. rob akers

    Anna placed the envelope into the mailbox and walked away smiling. She loved surprises, she loved Birthday Parties and she loved her Billy. Three days later, Anna stormed into the living room as Bill watched Top Shot.

    “WHO SENT YOU THIS LETTER!”

    “What letter?”

    “Who sends my husband a letter doused in perfume? Who is she and how long have you been with her? This is unbelievable.” Anna threw the letter at Bill.

    Bill was caught off guard. His friends always teased that if they looked up Boy Scout it would be his picture in Webster’s. He jumped when the letter landed in his lap as if it were a serpent intent on injecting him with his venom.

    “Open it now and read it to me!” Anna demanded.

    Bill dutifully followed her command. Opening the letter, a sent filled the room like a toxin and he recognized the perfume as the fragrance of his best friend’s wife. It smelled like a nursing home that doubled as a French whorehouse. He scanned the card while Anna maintained her glare.

    Bill immediately knew it was a trick and he decided to play along. “It says that I have a secret admirer. She wants to meet me tomorrow night, 8PM at the Casa Del Blanca. She can’t wait to show me a good time. It says to be careful and to not let my wife know about the rendezvous.” He paused convinced this was a set-up. “I think she wants to jump my bones! Any chance, I can skip our dinner plans and leave you at home?”

    “Not on your life. I want to meet this home wrecker.”

    “I have a much better chance of getting my bean snapped if you stay at home.”

    “You are walking on egg shells mister. You better not be cheating on me.”

    Bill told Anna how much he loved her and that night he showed her.

    Casa Del Blanca

    Bill and Anna sat in the back room as Bill nervously checked his watch. Yesterday he was positive this was a set-up for his birthday but 24 hours later the doubts invaded his mind. It was 8:22 and so far no surprises. The fragrance arrived before she did and suddenly his eyes were covered by two soft hands. “I told you not to bring your wife. Now I will have to punish you.”

    Just as suddenly he felt a third hand start to rub his stomach moving up his chest. A fourth hand arrived on his left knee and migrated up his inner thigh towards his crotch. He jumped as the third hand stopped at his right nipple and started to twist. Exploding out of the chair and away from the mysterious hands he knocked over the opened wine bottle and sprayed the red liquid across the neighboring table.

    Laughter erupted as his three war buddies and their wives joined the quiet dinner party. Bill turned red as his best friend kissed him on the cheek and yelled “Happy Birthday, You Cheater!”

    Comments Welcome

  24. Mercutio

    I haven’t been sleeping much lately. Most would blame this lack of slumber on an important job with long hours or a chemical imbalance, but this is not the case. I wish I was like Da Vinci, driven to sleepless nights by an incessant urge to create and change the world but alas this is not the case.

    Most nights when the exhaustion is enough, I have the strangest dreams. It is not a peaceful dreamless sleep and it is not a violent nightmare. It is somewhere in the void between the two, a moment in time defined by vivid occurrences and the strangest of outcomes. In these “dreams” if you can call them that, i isolate my animalistic tendencies and act on them in every case. I meet a plethora of women, I am confident, and I am the outgoing man I always want to be. I lie to them with a straight face and tell them everything they want to hear, I tell them everything I wish I could hear. My psychiatrist says Freud would have a lot to say about this although he would attribute it to my incestual love for my mother. In fact I may just be a sex addict. But that is just in my dreams.

    In real life I am dating Jenny Narcis, the daughter of the oldest partner in the firm that I just got hired to as a junior attorney. I am actually taking her out tonight for our one year anniversary, to celebrate the fact that in a fit of lonesomeness I asked her to a date on last Valentines Day and she actually said yes.

    Today I got an email from a strangely familiar sounding address but for the life of me I can’t seem to remember who it is. The email requested my presence at the exact Italian restaurant, Bernicio’s, I am taking Jenny tonight. I shrugged it off assuming it was the management confirming my reservation.

    We get to the restaurant to find a hundred tables with only female patrons.

    “Where are all their boyfriends and husbands?” Jenny asked me

    As these words emanated from her mouth every head in the dining room became affixed on me and watched my every move. One by one each women rose from her seat and began making their way to me saying things like,”I thought I was the one” and “Who is this tramp?”

    I receded into the corner as the enraged hands of all the women began tearing away at me with knives, forks and fingernails. As I lay dying on the floor of the dining room where the air was painted by my girlfriends waning screams, I realized i recognized every women in the room from my dreams. I was never sleeping, those were the sleep deprived actions of an uninhibited man.

    My girlfriend smacks my face as I begin to close my eyes and draw my last breaths, “Wake UP!!” She screams.

    I wake up in my apartment. Its 8 a.m. I am late for work

  25. Icabu

    Ruth Goldberg traced her finger around the heart on the worn Valentine’s Day card. The sparkles had long ago flaked away and the corners were frayed and bent, but she cherished it. It came this morning with her breakfast.

    “May I see that?” Tami, her caregiver, asked. She wanted Ruth to eat, so she needed to distract her.

    “It’s from my secret admirer,” Ruth beamed, color rising in her cheeks.

    Tami took the card. She didn’t need to look at it, she’d put it on the tray two minutes ago. “It’s your favorite today, Ruth,” she said. “You should enjoy it before it gets cold.”

    “Oh, my.” Ruth looked at the tray, frowning slightly at the mound of mushy yellow eggs. “My favorite?” Giving a small shrug, she dug in.

    Once Ruth finished her breakfast, Tami returned the card. “Look, Mrs. Goldberg. You have a secret admirer.”

    Ruth took the card, eyes wide. Automatically, her finger reached out and traced the outline of the heart on the card. “Oh, my,” she exclaimed, giggling and blushing. “It says to be in the Group Room at two this afternoon and I’ll get to meet my admirer.” She looked at Tami. “Will you take me there?”

    “Of course, Ruth. I’ll schedule your bath and hair for noon. You’ll be irresistible.” Tami gave the elderly woman a hug and took her tray away.

    Walter sat in his wheelchair in the Group Room, his left leg jiggling restlessly. He looked up when Tami parked Ruth next to him. He saw that Ruth held the Valentine. Tami took the dozing Mrs. Fischer, parked on the other side of Walter, back to her room.

    Ruth frowned as Amy Fischer exited the room.

    “I only have eyes for you, Ruthie,” Walter said in his gravelly voice. He smiled as much as his partial post-stroke paralysis allowed.

    “I’m glad you picked me.” Ruth blushed, glancing back at the departing Amy.

    “Prettiest girl in town,” he boasted. He’d always let her chase away the other gals, it made her feel special.

    “Only fitting,” Ruth beamed, “for the most handsome gentleman.”

    They spoke haltingly about happenings many years past. Walter knew that was all Ruth could recall now.

    “Look what I got,” she said after a brief lull. Ruth stuck the Valentine card out for Walter to see.

    “That’s very pretty. May I see it?” Walter knew he didn’t have much longer with her today.

    With child-like reluctance, Ruth handed over her card, her palsied hand shaking.

    Walter took the card. He’d first given it to her three years ago to coax her out of her room. It had worked every Wednesday since. He slipped it into his shirt pocket, briefly pressing it against his heart.

    Ruth dozed now and Walter knew if she woke out here, she would be disoriented and frightened. He motioned for Tami to take Ruth back to her room. They’d meet here next week and relive whatever part of their life together that Ruth could remember.

    1. hillsworth

      While reading, I kept thinking of Nicolas Sparks ‘The Notebook’. I’m not saying that it sounds like that story, I’m saying that it sounds like it could be as good as that story. VCP773 is right, that it’s depressing, but I think that’s what really grabs the audience, the tug of the heartstrings and the knowledge that we’ll all be there someday, either as Ruth or Walter. Excellent work! Kudos.

      1. Icabu

        Yes, I was channeling my ‘inner Sparks’ with this story. But, who hasn’t been touched by this ravaging (and depressing) disease in some way. Thanks for the input!

        1. annefreemanimages

          Icabu – I once worked in a nursing home, and my mother was a geriatic nurse. I found the story to be lovely and touching. There was a lot of kindness in the characters, looking out for Ruthie, making her feel special and loved. Realistic setting. Great job!!
          ~Anne

  26. tangerine

    I liked the descriptions of your frame of mind/nervousness, etc. Would have liked to see a little more of the Claire situation at the end: was she the secret admirer, etc. I didn’t quite get the ending, and I know it’s hard w/only 500 words. Good sense of “place” and use of dialogue!

  27. Angelite49

    I’m feeling kind of sick. I always get sick when I’m nervous. And I always get nervous when I don’t know what to expect. Like when Claire, my boss, called me into her office yesterday. She never calls me into her office. I went into the ladies room and threw up. Then I went to her office. She never looked up, so she never noticed the green undertones in my face. Mediocre review, tersely delivered, that was all. When she waved me away, I grabbed my copy of her assessment, and dashed for the door, recovering my stomach the moment I crossed the threshold.

    Today there was a single red envelope in my mailbox. No return address. Hallmark, complete with gold seal – a Valentine, unsigned. “Meet me tonight at The Purple Rose. Longing to hold you in my arms. Do you dance?”

    Flashback: “My treat,” I had said, and was delighted when James, the man I was certain was about to propose, agreed to my invitation to dine at . . . The Purple Rose!

    The coincidence was intriguing, but ultimately nerve-wracking. My initial suspicions regarding the anonymous source of the card were immediately dismissed. I’m certain James doesn’t dance. He’s never asked. Not once. This led to an hour and a half of speculating, ruling out, and self-chastisement as I made up, coifed, and dressed for our date. Completely frustrated, and hopelessly nauseated, I put on my coat, grabbed my purse, and for better or worse, turned my car toward The Purple Rose.

    Dinner was leisurely and excruciating, despite my devoted companion. I had the feeling of waiting for the second shoe to drop. I glanced up, jittery, at every passer-by.

    “What’s the matter, darling?” James asked. “You seem distracted.”

    I smiled nervously and sipped my wine, trying to focus on James and what he was saying about – I don’t know what. No use. I was dizzy. The wine was a little too abundant; the music a little too loud; and James talked steadily, like the drone of a far-off plane.

    Suddenly, James grabbed my left hand, and produced a small black box. “Janice, darling . . . ,” he said, just as a shadow passed across the table. I looked up, startled, and James followed my gaze. Claire was standing next to our table.

    “Good evening, Janice,” she said, reaching out to stroke the Veronica Lake wave of hair from my eyes. I stammered through the introductions, and gulped water, hoping my dinner wouldn’t back up on me. James stood politely, but Claire never looked at him. She moved on toward the door to leave.

    Now I’m scanning the room desperately, looking for the sender of the card, hoping to see the eager eyes and tentative smile of some young co-worker, or the coffee delivery boy, or the mailman. The music rises dramatically. James tucks the black box into his jacket pocket, orders brandy, and asks in the most casual manner, “Did you get my Valentine, Darling?”

    1. annefreemanimages

      Angelite – I enjoyed the read. Got a bit confused at the end. I blame that on 500 words. I was sorry that she was so focused on the secret valentine that she blew off Jame’s proposal. He seemed like a good guy who shouldn’t have been treated so badly. But, you were able to make me care about your characters. Good job.
      ~Anne

    2. Egg

      I liked the short sharp thoughts of your character and after a bit of thought, I decided I really liked your ending (oh, to be satisfied with what we have). Nice job.

    1. Egg

      Nicely written and I think you paint your characters really well. I especially like your gutsy long sentence that starts, “The cork on the bottle….” The world needs more long, descriptive sentences like this, in my opinion.

  28. tangerine

    “How could you? I trusted you, and now you’ve made it all a sham. I’ll never forgive you! Never!” I was seated in an elegant dining room of the Residence Inn, my fiance’, David, on one side, and his older brother, Bryce, to my right
    .
    “I thought I was doing you a favor, Lydie. You know as well as I do how much we’ve been at odds lately. Besides, Bryce has a way of living for the moment , something that I will never have. You told me yourself that I was just an old stick in the mud. I’m sorry, I just didn’t have the heart to tell you.”

    “Tell me what? That you’ve done nothing but lie your way through this whole six-month engagement? That you’ve brought your screwball brother to our Valentine dinner, to take your place at the table?”

    So my Valentine’s Day at the Residence Inn hadn’t panned out the way I expected. The cork on the bottle popped me in the eye, my heel got caught on a customer’s purse strap, which sent me crashing to the floor, and then, the grand topper, David, my fiancé , had come to the conclusion that we were not a good fit after all, and in an attempt to alleviate his guilty conscience, had brought his wonderful sidekick, Bryce, his goofy brother, the guy that had pounded on my apartment door at two in the morning to recite some original poetry-the guy who proclaimed his love for me over the supermarket loudspeaker.

    “What a deal,” I said angrily, before kicking David, hard, under the table. I knew it hurt, and for good measure, I gave him another solid kick.

    Turning to Bryce, I said, “Look, you’re a nice guy, but surely this is some kind of joke.” Bryce shifted uncomfortably in his seat, then began picking at the fresh flower bouquet that was in the middle of the table, not knowing how to reply. I saw the sweat stains on his blue collared shirt, and decided to lighten up a bit. “I mean, when I got that card in the mail…I thought it was from David, trying to surprise me or something. You know we’re engaged, so why on earth would you think of such a thing?” I asked.

    Bryce mumbled something, then flashed David a look. “Actually, it was his idea. It was David’s idea,” he stammered. I stared for a minute at Bryce’s ruddy face .At his big, goofy grin. Bryce, poetry laureate, commander of the supermarket loudspeaker. He was plain. Simple. Uncomplicated and without guile. How on earth had I missed this all these years?

    Smoothing the white linen napkin across my lap, I decided I wasn’t going to let a few bumps in the road come between me and the plate of rib-eye that was making its’ way towards our table. Bryce relaxed a bit, then piped up, “Lydie, he said, “ I’ve got something for you. It’s a poem. An original.”

  29. Lilith Flairgold

    Haha, so I was silly because when I looked at word count, I was looking at the TOTAL CHARACTERS (including spaces) instead of the actual number of WORDS. As a result, I had cut out a fair bit of what I had initially wrote, until I was around 100 words and realized,”Oh hey! I could have written more!” It is not my best piece of writing, but it was fun to do. There are some things I am considering taking out, but it is good enough for now for me.

    Also, the point of view is different.

    —————————
    It was there, lurking beneath the door.

    The envelope. The smell of printed ink and plastic lingered in the air. Its colour was red. The colour of lava dormant within mountains, and the fading sun, disappearing from time and space and-

    Marred with white. A winter set on gripping life.

    She stifled the urge to scrunch, to hear it crumple like a fallen body . Instead she pulled out a laminated sheet,” Meet you at 8:00 PM ;D.”

    “GAHHHHH!” her boyfriend knew it gave her a freaking panic attack! What was wrong with him! Adrian KNEW she hated stuff like this! Well, he’s not getting any she huffed . What time was it, anyway?

    7:30 PM. Ah, gotcha, time to go. Her dress shimmered as magma oozing down, and walked out the door. The drive was quick, and she could only hope the magma would stay free. She didn’t want it contained by the cold, and be the colour of rotten pears.

    And so the evening came, and there was her lover and-

    The one she promised. Stained by bandages.

    1. Lilith Flairgold

      GAHHHHH! Pardon me! I used the italic code incorrectly! Only,”Well he’s not getting any,” along with,”What time is it, anyway?” and,”Ah, gotcha, time to go,” are the ONLY things supposed to be in italics! Ugh, I will have to figure out how to edit later.

  30. jmiff328

    Blue smoke hung low in the diner Valentines night. I knew it would take a week for my hair to stop smelling like cigarettes. I thought the entire state had a smoking ban in place but if they did, the patrons didn’t care. A plate of cheese fries were congealing in front of me as I stared through the haze towards the front door. My wife and I met in a bar similar to this and I knew that was why she picked it. The one we met in was torn down a few years back, and from the looks of it, this one wasn’t far behind.

    I hadn’t thought twice about the note that was waiting on my desk this morning. It was sealed with wax and thoughtfully prepared. The paper looked expensive, though I knew nothing about that sort of thing. It wasn’t in my wife’s writing, so I assumed she had it professionally done. It wasn’t like her to do something like that, but I didn’t give it too much thought.

    “You need another Moon? “

    I looked up and saw the bartender standing over me. She had moved close to the table so that I had to look straight up to see her. Even then, I saw more breasts than face. Something about her seemed familiar, but I let it go and continued to watch the door. I glanced down at my beer. I hadn’t realized that I had finished the entire bottle.

    “Sure” I squeaked, suddenly unable to find my voice.

    “You okay honey?” a look of contempt on her face.

    I thought a second about the answer and the room seemed to grow dimmer. Light beams expanded and began to spin. I knew I was about to pass out before it happened.

    I woke with a headache unlike I had ever experienced. I tried to open my eyes but light burned the retinas and I felt like screaming. The pain subsided in my eyes and I managed to open them enough to see where I was. What I saw was comforting because I was home in our kitchen. My wife must have brought me here. That’s when I noticed the red handprint on the fridge. I looked around and saw her lying on the floor.

    It looked like a knife wound. Several of them after a closer inspection. The police would call it a crime of passion due to the number of wounds and savagery of the attack. I laid beside my wife on the cold tile floor and began to cry.

    A short time later blue lights flashed on the walls and a flashlight was searching the windows. I got up slowly and made my way to the back door. I knew I didn’t kill my wife, but I knew who did. As I was laying beside the body on the tile, I remembered where I had seen that waitress before.

    To be continued….

  31. Chilo

    It’s been a long time anyone has sent me paper mail. The only thing I receive is ads and offers for credit cards. This is new, though, an actual Valentine’s card… except it’s not from Peter-
    “Love, Your secret admirer?”
    Oddly enough, a really bad joke. I read the card again and somehow I find Peter’s sense of humor a little offbeat. I mean, it says the admirer will reveal his secret identity today at the same location Peter and I are going!
    ——
    “Coming!” I lowered my dress and ran to the door. Peter was early. He must be very excited about today.
    “Hi, babe,” he leaned to kiss me on the lips. Mmm… Could I possibly get anymore lucky?
    “Let me get my things and we can go.”
    “Okay.”
    I left him by the door and grabbed my purse and coat. Before I walked out, I stopped to admire my admirer. Not bad Susan. Not bad. He has a nice built on him and he’s top of his engineering class. I’ll just have to forgive his joke.
    —–
    “That was great meal.”
    “Yes, yes it was.”
    “I wanted to talk to you about something… something that’s been on my mind…”
    I love it when he gets serious and nervous. His dark eyelashes seem to flutter when he speaks and I can watch his soft lips move.
    “I wanted to-“
    “Excuse me.”
    We both looked up. A young man stood holding a bottle of champagne.
    “Would you mind if I sit here?”
    “What? This is our table.”
    He pulled the chair out and sat, “It won’t take long,” he opened the bottle and called for a waiter who happened to be ready with three glasses.
    “You know, we are kind of in the middle of a conversation.”
    “Not to mention dinner…. Who are you anyway?”
    “I’m your secret admirer.”
    “What is this man talking about?”
    “I have no idea.”
    “Yes you do.”
    “Listen, if he has been harassing you-“
    “Now, Peter, let him explain. There must be some confusion or something. I never met this man before.”
    “Yes you have. Three weeks ago I helped you with your banking concerns.”
    “My banking concerns?”
    “We got to talking about what you do for a living and you have been going in to withdraw a hefty amount of cash about every three days since.”
    “What is this man talking about?”
    “I don’t know. I really don’t. I haven’t been in a bank since last month. I do all my deposits online.”
    He took a sip of his champagne, “Are you trying to tell me your name is not Sandra?”
    “Sandra, of course!”
    “What is going on here Susan?”
    “Sandra is my twin sister.”
    “Why is she using your address?”
    “I don’t know, but I’m going to find out.”
    “At least my being here brought this out in the open, even though I feel stupid.”
    “No, you can actually help us find out what Sandra is up to.”

    1. annefreemanimages

      Hi Chilo. My suggestion for the story is that you begin with them at the restaurant. You’ve presented an interesting situation that we never get to explore. We don’t really need to know all of the lead-up to the story. Then you can continue the conversation between the three of them and dive into the situation between the three of them in more detail, and building up some suspense regarding what was going on with her sister. Maybe she realizes she hasn’t seen or heard from her sister for a few days, which isn’t like her. Or she flashes back on a weird statement her sister made a few weeks ago, but forgot about. If this were a longer story, all the introductory paragraphs would be fine, but with 400 words, you really have to get into the meat of the story almost immediately. Just my humble thoughts.
      ~Anne

      1. Chilo

        Thanks for your “humble thoughts.”They really point out things to consider for a future revision. I really appreciate you taking the time to read and provide feedback.

    1. jmiff328

      I love science fiction and have a special fascination with time travel. I wish I could hear why the Grandmother came back. You had some extra word space you could have used to explain why she was there. Also, the election thing was something that was hard to understand in the context of the story. I would like to read more of this to find out what is going on in this world. Mine is below. thanks!

      1. vcp773

        I have this thing with wanting to blur reality and weave part of the current with a bright, colored, curved future. There has to be a blance there somewhere. I am trying to write it. Thanks for your input. I appreciate it.

    2. rob akers

      Nice Job.I also like the time travel aspect of writing, nice concept. It is so difficult to get the story all together in the 500 word limit. Tough tast and I think you got about 90% there, That makes this a solid “A” in my book.

  32. vcp773

    I feel the familiar tingle in my right temple. Rolling over, I reluctantly pressed my finger to it and the message hologram opened itself in front of me. “ I really have to change my settings”, I mumbled under my breath. Temporal message recognition is great but it always seems to come at the most in-opportune times. Whatever happened to old fashioned emailing? Life used to be so much simpler.

    I funneled through the hologram and actualized the message. A strange voice began to speak, slow and blanketing as a low, heavy fog.

    “Hello Ryder and happy Valentines day. I know that nobody calls it that anymore but I am somewhat of a historian. I hope to meet your acquaintance tonight at the Aviary. ”

    “Iris close”, I said as the hologram faded into darkness. What the hell was that? I surely didn’t recognize the voice and how did she know that I was going to the Aviary tonight? Darccy is not going to be pleased if there is a scene there. Should I tell her? Should I change plans and go somewhere else? The mystery of this voice overpowered me and I just had to find out who this person was.

    The Aviary was packed for being the first evanescent moon of the New Order. The election had been a sham but most of us, and the Mirrors, had shrugged it off and moved on with life. The Aviary smelled of sweet parchment and drink. The winged crooners sat perched on their wires entertaining the couples as they enjoyed their company. Darccy and I sat down at our table and the waitress activated the enhanced menu services.

    “Good evening Ryder” she said. My blood instantly chilled at the sound of her voice. I stared down attempting to not make eye contact with her or with Darccy. “Ryder, I am your great grandmother from the year 2012, pleased to make your acquaintance.”

    1. annefreemanimages

      VCP
      I really liked the introductory paragraphs with the temporal communication device. Very cool. I’d like to read a fleshed out version of this story because I feel that I am missing some connections in the scenes at the Aviary. Not sure about the grandmother being the secret Valentine. Didn’t make sense to me, because Valentine’s for adults are typically romantic. If the story were longer, and some information about Ryder’s relationship with her grandmother and why she would have chosen Valentine’s Day as her date to contact Ryder would have made it work. A romantic partner would have been more straightforward for 500 words, which doesn’t require all that setup. Just my take on it, for better or worse. Very nice.
      ~Anne

  33. dolga

    Happy Valentine’s Day
    I walked down to the street to collect the mail from the box. Opening it I saw a lavender and red card envelope addressed to Elizabeth Pink. Curious, I opened it immediately. On the front Happy Valentine’s Day in big bold letters on the inside signed a secret admirer and an additional note that I will reveal my identity on Valentine’s Day (which happens to be today) at the Crystal Palace. How odd I thought. John and I have attending the Everybody Needs Love benefit for the state patients tonight at seven. Smiling to myself I went back into the house thinking it was John’s way of raising the level of tonight’s romantic mood.
    “Jill, I received the sweetest love note from John. This promises to be a great night,” I said.
    “What kind of note? “
    “He says he’s my secret admirer and will reveal himself tonight at the Crystal Lounge. You know we have reservations there at seven o’clock tonight.”
    “Do you think he might propose marriage tonight? “Jill asked.
    “That’s what I’m thinking. I’ll wear the red silk pantsuit I’ve been saving for a night like this. He’s not the only one who can raise the bar.”
    John picked up Elizabeth at the apartment at six o’clock giving no signs of heighten sensuality. Elizabeth smiled to herself as they drove almost in silence to the Crystal Palace where the benefit for Everybody Needs Love was held. Seated in the large ballroom filled with dinner tables and crowed with beneficent guest, young approached their table and stood.
    “Hello Dr. Pink, I’m Edwin Farmer.” Stroking his neatly cut beards, “I’m your secret admirer,” he said.
    “I don’t know you. How could you know I would be here tonight?” I asked
    “You don’t recognize me with my beard. You were here last year on Valentine’s Day. I know this is your project. You advocated for the patients at the state hospital one of the few who stressed their need for love. Everybody needs love you said. I was one of those patients.”
    “I don’t think it’s just the beard. I don’t recognize anything about you. Are you sure you have the right person?”
    “I’m sure you are right person. I loved you when I was a patient at the hospital. I offered my love to you and you rejected. How could you forget that?”
    “I’m sorry.” Pointing to John, “This is my love, John Baxter.”
    “What is going on?” John asked.
    Ignoring John’s question, “I’m here with the allotted group of patients from the hospital,” he said.
    “How did you get in if you’re not a patient anymore?” I asked.
    “I managed. Rejection of love is unforgiveable,” he said.
    Swiftly, he pulled out a gun and shot John. Then I felt a sharp pain in my chest. Through blurred eyes, I saw him put the gun to his head. Then everything was black.

    Feedback welcome. Thanks for reading.

    1. hillsworth

      Please take this as positive criticism, it is meant no other way. You have a decent plot, but you lost a little in translation. There are a few typo’s and some missing words. I re-read my stories at least three times before posting them (at least once aloud) to make sure I have caught everything possible, but as I’ve stated in earlier posts, everyone believes themselves to be excellent writers (and most are) but it is so hard to catch all of your own mistakes. You tend to overlook them due to the fact that you are playing the movie in your head while you are reading it (at least I do). Reading the script aloud either to yourself or someone else really helps.

      1. dolga

        Thank you for reading and giving me the positive criticism. I will work on the editing. Reading aloud had not occurred to me. I really do appreciate your comments.

        1. DRoberts

          Dolga,
          Read my comments to Brayden. I offered him some suggestions you might find useful. The story was good, but I’d like to comment on a few things as well. There was some repetition in the story-I believe it was stated about three times that your characters were going to Crystal Palace. One time would be sufficient . It would have saved some word count for you to develop the plot more. I was confused as to who Jill was in relation to Dr. Pink. Was she a friend, a neighbor or colleague? She seemed to appear out of nowhere. I’m not sure you needed her in the story. I didn’t expect the ending, so there was an element of surprise. That’s good. Always be sure to revise your work so that you’re producing your best before submitting. Good job and keep writing.

  34. hillsworth

    “What the hell is this?” Gina stands in the flickering light of the fireplace, right hand wrapped around a tumbler, half filled with her favorite, Tanqueray, left hand thrusting a Valentines card in my face. “It says ‘See you soon. I’ve been looking forward to this night for a long time.’ Who the hell’s it from?”

    Fear and confusion overwhelm me as the soft fragrance of Chanel drifts to my nose and transports me back to my senior year in high school, where I first met Julia Hickman after she transferred from out of state.

    All that year, we had an off and on relationship that ultimately ended in tragedy. Prom night came and, although we were in the midst of one of our ‘off’ times, Julia had already purchased her gown, and I had rented my tux, so we bit the bullet and cordially escorted each other. Needless to say, it didn’t go well. We got into an argument in the car while on the way, so when we finally arrived, we went our separate ways, her with a group of cheerleaders, me with most of the football team.

    Later, while stewing over the stupid argument, I saw her heading toward the side door with that scumbag, Jimmy Dunkle. Our eyes locked momentarily, then she disappeared from my life. Julia died seven minutes later when Jimmy thought he could beat the train.

    “Well?” Gina asks, still holding the card.

    “I have no idea, honey. Really. I don’t.” I can tell she’s not buying it by the narrowing of her eyes, but I honestly can’t explain it.

    “We’ll see, won’t we? Tomorrow night,” she whips the card away from me and tosses it in the fire, where it instantly turns to ash. “Secret admirer, huh? You better not be cheating on me.” She drains her glass and slams it down on the mantle.

    The next day, I struggle to keep my mind on my work, making mistake after mistake. Gina gave me the cold shoulder for the rest of the evening last night, but I barely noticed, my mind trying to figure out who’s messing with me. When I arrive home, Gina meets me at the door with a double shot of gin and a smile that tells me she’s been at it for some time. “Hi, loverboy. You ready for tonight?” Sarcastically, she hands me the drink and heads to the bedroom to get ready.

    Two hours and three double shots later, we are on our way to Shakespeare’s Restaurant for what can only be considered an unforgettable dinner. Up ahead, I see the cross buck drop and the flashing red lights, signaling the approaching train. I look over at Gina, smile and say, “I think I can make it.”

    As the train horn blares, Gina’s look of horror fades into Julia’s smiling face and I tramp down on the gas pedal, propelling us into the ever after.

    Feedback welcome. Thanks for reading.

      1. hillsworth

        Sorry, I could have clarified alittle better about who sent the card. I’ve had several people ask me the same thing. I meant to imply that the card actually came from his dead high school sweetheart who knew she would be reunited that evening with him.

    1. annefreemanimages

      Holy Smokes! Didn’t see that one coming. I would have liked him to wonder if it were Julia sending him the card – for just a moment – to give a tiny foreshadowing that something supernatural was afoot. Just an idea. Enjoyed it.

      ~Anne

    2. Egg

      Great story, smooth writing. Your transition starting “The next day…” got me thinking a little about your choice of tenses. Also, I had to think about how someone can sarcastically hand someone a drink. Interesting word choice. Nice work.

  35. BraydenW

    My soon to be Fiance of 11 months Lauren has been hinting to the fact she wants to get married and start a family. Since tomorrow is valentines day I am planning to propose to her. But lately she has been very distant and I can tell by the gleam in her sky blue eyes that something is wrong. She may be in danger but I am not sure, either that or she is seeing someone else. There have been several calls to her cell phone from long distance and it’s racking up my phone bill, I am an accountant not Bill Gates. 

    Night before Valentines Day: 

    “Honey we need to talk” whispered Lauren. Why are you whispering? “She is watching” murmured my now fearful companion. Who is watch- I was interrupted by the shattering sound of our bedroom window. I jumped up to see a rock laying on my bed, than through the utter silence the door slammed shut.

    I woke up the next morning in a daze, I had blacked out last night. “Whoosh” the sound of paper hitting the ground as I jumped up, it was a note which read, “I will see you tonight at 9 at the Laurel Flourish Eatery babe, Love Lauren. 

    8:59 pm: I arrived in my 2007 Highlander in the parking lot. No signs of Lauren throughout the day had been shown. With out thinking I walked in with a strut and approached my soon to be Fiance and bought us a couple drinks. “How was your day babe” I asked in a mysterious voice, “good” she quickly replied. Boy she looked beautiful I thought to myself, like a model. Wait is that a tattoo on your shoulder? I asked in a rather stern voice. “No it isn’t it’s a bruise from the car door” she nervously replied. No it’s not and you don’t have a tattoo, you look identical but your surely not her. “Where is Lauren” I yelled. I am Lauren your my husband and we are getting married. No! You are the one who has been making these calls of threat and shattered my window. Where is Lauren?
    – side note I am 13 and have jut begun writing

    1. Lilith Flairgold

      That is pretty good writing considering you are a beginner. I found the descriptions interesting, and the plot is a nice touch. I look forward to you getting better.

    2. tangerine

      Good plot, it kept the story moving and interesting! Two suggestions, and I know you’ll get the hang of it: With dialogue, double-check the use of quotes, making sure they’re in the right place, and always start a new paragraph w/a new speaker, otherwise, it makes things a little hard to follow. You did a great job, and write very well. Definately keep it up-look forward to more!

      1. DRoberts

        Brayden,
        Good start for a new writer. I have some some suggestions for you to help you learn the craft of writing. Purchase some books on writing. These books will teach you how to develop plot, characters, dialogue, etc. There are also books that show you the proper format for writing short stories and novels. You can find these books at Barnes and Noble or even right here at Writer’s Digest Shop. They have lots of resources for writers. One word of advice. Never stop learning the craft. Learn how to revise your work before sending out the first draft. There are plenty of resources on this, too. Good luck and keep writing.

  36. darkwinter09

    “Have you been here before?” asked Holly.
    “No, just a recommendation,” I said.
    Holly and I approach the restaurant at the corner called “The Red Light.” Conveniently, right above the door sits an actual traffic light which blinks the red stop signal. I open the door for Holly as waves of booming sounds explode from the inside. To the right of the door is the massive bar crowded with many people all dressed in red. The entire bar is completely decorated with heart-shaped ornaments and countless amounts of red heart-shaped balloons.
    However, Holly and I turn left into the restaurant section which is fairly empty. From the table towards the back, we can clearly see into the bar where countless amounts of drunk couples are stationed like cars and trucks being fueled at a gas station. At one end of the bar, a particular lonely young man catches my attention, but then I am distracted by Holly once again.
    “So why do they call this place ‘The Red Light?’” asked Holly. “Besides the traffic light over the door.”
    “You know what the phrase ‘red light’ means, right?” I asked. “Many years ago, there used to be a prostitution ring in basement.”
    Holly laughs. Then she begins with a long story about her paranoid supervisor at her medical center who thinks that Holly is having a sexual relationship with one of the doctors twenty years older than she is. I repeatedly laugh as the story goes on.
    As Holly continues with the story, my attention is diverted to the note in my hand. I received this love note approximately one week ago and have not stopped reading it since. Holly as denied several times that she is the secret admirer. I certainly do not think this is her writing which says:
    Hi, I don’t want to freak you out but I am very interested in seeing you. I will be at “The Red Light” on Valentine’s Day. Love to see you there.
    Almost on cue, the door to the bar opens and a young lady enters.
    No way!
    Jessica.
    I have not seen her since high school. She has not changed one bit with her black curly hair and horn rimmed glasses. Unlike most others in the bar, she wears all black with a small black hand bag. Jessica infiltrates the bar like a panther and finds the young man I noticed earlier at the end of the bar. She approaches and greets him. They exchange several words as the young man takes a small note out from his pocket.
    That is impossible. That is the same exact note I have received. She must be targeting more than one prospect. Several minutes later, the young man turns away for a moment and Jessica slips something into his drink. Several more minutes after that, the young man starts to become increasingly drowsy like a looming giant. Eventually, Jessica whispers something into his ear, takes him by the hand, and without anyone else noticing, guides him to the basement door, and leads him down stairs.
    Now that’s a red light.

    1. annefreemanimages

      Hi Darkwinter. I am intriqued by what is going on with Jessica. Unfortunately, we don’t get to the meat of the matter until so late in teh story that there is not time to develop it. It might have been simpler (although not true to this particular promt) to have the narrator sitting at the bar, observing what was going on. It wasn’t likley he would have been able to tell that the other guy’s not was just like the narrators, but if the narrator, too, was at the bar, that would have been more likely. Maybe the narrator and his date were at the bar instead of a table. Then you can avoid all the descriptions needed to get them in the bar, look at the bar, and go to a table. Just start out the story with them sitting at the bar, the narrator fingering the note in his pocket, while his date jabbers. Then you can dig into this other story that was just unfolding, and make that the main thrust of the narrative. Just my take on it.

      ~Anne

  37. Icabu

    Watching had become second nature to Andrea. Her eyes followed the young couple as the hostess seated them just two tables away from her. Her heartbeat quickened. It had taken her five painstaking years to unravel her family’s twenty-year secret.

    Unable to prevent the flood of memories, Andrea allowed them to wash over her. Those youthful summer days on the Kingford ranch outside Boston. She hadn’t been very interested in her mandated riding lessons until she’d, literally, run into Billy Langston. He was the stable boy at the ranch. She had never seen such rugged male beauty before. Billy seemed so manly at sixteen to her budding fifteen. At the end of that wonderful summer, they had met at a hidden pond on the ranch. After cooling off in the water, things had heated up on the picnic blanket.

    Andrea did not get to attend her school that fall. She’d been sent to a secretly private school in upstate New York. On a fine Spring day in May, after nine excruciating hours of labor and searing delivery, she had a son. A sympathetic nurse held him up for her to see from across the room and then he disappeared from her life.

    Five years ago, Andrea overheard her father and the family accountant talking. Something was said about a long-term nuisance having passed and no more payments need be made. The statement made Andrea’s heart stumble. It took her those five long years to find out that Billy Langston had been paid handsomely to keep himself and his son away from Andrea and the entire Whitcomb family. Billy had bought a small ranch in Arizona. He’d died in a tragic tractor accident that day five years ago.

    With her heart in a flutter, Andrea approached the couple’s table. She set a Valentine card on the table that matched the one she’d sent to the young man stating that his ‘secret admirer’ would be announced at this restaurant. Ever watchful, she’d known he’d be here with his girlfriend.

    Will Langston jumped to his feet. “You’re the admirer?”

    Andrea nodded, unable to speak. Her son watched her now, his sharp eyes piercing her reserved shell.

    Will studied her face intently. “You were at the ranch a couple of weeks ago. A group from Boston in for a trail ride.”

    Weak knees forced Andrea to sit. Will pulled the chair out for her. “I … it took a long time to find you. I wanted to be sure before I contacted you.”

    “You’re my mother.”

    Her son’s frank statement brought back much of the pain of losing him. Tears seeped from her eyes as she gushed out most of her story. As Andrea finished, her son’s girlfriend, Emma, held her hand tightly.

    “Dad never talked much about you,” Will said, his voice low. “He never married.”

    To Andrea’s surprise, her son hugged her fiercely. “Please stay awhile,” he whispered into her ear.

    “I certainly will,” she answered, her pain turning to pure joy.

    **** Feedback desired. I’m not sure how well this story translated in 500 words.

    1. hillsworth

      It’s so hard to condense a great story to 500 words, but I think you did a wonderful job here. Given more space, I’m sure it would be that much greater.

        1. dolga

          I like the story. There was a lot memory packed between the time Andrea saw the waitress seat the couple and Andrea’s approach the table. How did Andrea know this was the couple?
          There is so much good content here.

          Keep writing
          dolga

          1. Icabu

            Thank you for the thoughtful input. To answer your question, I had hoped to paint the idea that some detectiving went on during the ‘painstaking five years’ and the ‘ever watchful’-ness, plus that she visited his ranch anonymously (with the Boston group) to make sure. It was a stretch but definitely a learning experience – especially with reader input. Thanks again.

  38. robotsoul

    The hole was so deep, and squishy and warm. I wiggled my fingers out of it and stared amazed at the oil slick it left smeared on my flesh. The light above me blinked and squinted in awkward geometric shapes, I could feel my brain trying to reset. When I got my bearings I tried to remember. One moment it sounded as a restaurant should, dish clinks, forks on china, the hum of chatter. And I remembered Andrew, and his eyes smiling at me in that sappy way that only a contrived yet meaningful occasion could inspire. He’d pestered me to come out, “It’s Valentine’s Day” he said, and “if someone is gonna try to steal you away, well, I’d like to look ’em in the eye and tell ’em you’re all mine.” Andrew, my very own John Wayne, my personal Steve McQueen. He was talking about the note of course, a strange card I’d gotten summoning me to this very place, on this very night. I’d reluctantly agreed, it was Valentine’s day after all.

    I remembered that it had sounded normal for so long, prim waiters taking orders, the sound of water being poured. And Andrew and his smile. It started in his eyes, they flashed — first confused, then the smile drained away and twisted into dead horror. ‘Wha..’ I started, ready to ask what was wrong. Then the Earth cracked open, first with thunder, than lightning then thunder, then lightning. Then there was the hole. That sticky little spot. And medics, and lights, and chaos, a criminal carried out in black bag. Me on a stretcher and a note, just like the one summoning me here. The same handwriting too, all loops and swirl with a single message: “Faggot baby killers fry in Hell”

  39. cb0825

    Ally, my girlfriend of three years, and I had planned on a nice romantic Valentine’s Day dinner. She thought I was going to propose, but that was so cliché! Instead, I was going to take her out to the nicest restaurant in town, Bellisimo, and we would have a great evening. Then the next night, when we are eating Chinese take out and in our comfy clothes on the couch, I will ask her. I had already finalized everything, and her parents were really excited.

    I got to work about 7:00 that morning, and let me tell you, there is not a soul there at 7:00. Attached to the door of my office was a red envelope. I took it into the office thinking Ally had sent me a note to tell me that she was excited and ready for tonight. Inside there was a plain white card, about the size of an index card. I pulled it out and examined the nice, bubbly handwriting, that did not belong to Ally. The card read, Please don’t be late, Bellisimo at 8, I can’t wait, for you to see me. Signed SA.

    This was very odd. Could it be that Ally is playing some sort of game, and she had someone else write the card so I wouldn’t know? That is just so not Ally. There was no other woman. Since meeting Ally I hadn’t so much as looked at another woman. If someone, say a client, had been hitting on me at some point, I never even noticed. Who could this mystery woman be? Better yet, what is Ally going to think when this strange lady comes up and says “Hi, I’m your secret admirer.” That is going to be awkward.

    I figure the best thing to do is be honest with Ally.

    She picked up the phone and with her voice smooth as silk she says, “This is Ally.”

    “Hey Sweetie, how is your day?” I asked.

    “Pretty good, but it’s only morning.” She responded.

    “Ha, I lost track of time already! Listen, I need to tell you something. I got this strange card from my secret admirer, you didn’t have anything to do with that right? It says to meet them at Bellisimo at 8.”

    “Nope I didn’t. I guess we will have to go find out who this mystery woman is.”

    Later…

    Ally and I were having a lovely dinner at Bellisimo. No one had shown up to claim the note, and Ally didn’t seem the least bit worried about it. I guess she did have something to do with it. Right then, a young teenage girl tapped me on the shoulder.

    “Bobby?”

    “Yes and you are?”

    “I’m your secret admirer. My name is Laura…and I am your daughter.”

COMMENT