Saturday, October 30, 2010

SnappleApple450 Week 23: Karma Killed the Ghost

SnappleApple 450

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SnappleApple 450's Choice: Picture 1

Karma Killed the Ghost

"Did you hear that?" I turned my head and listened.

Nikki looked up from her book. "Hear what?"

I didn't move a muscle, trying to listen intently. "Someone just called my name."

She gave a short laugh and went back to her book. "You're crazy," she chuckled unconcerned.

I still tried to listen, I swear I heard it. Someone whispered my name from the hall. I stood up, setting my book on the coffee table. "I'll be right back."

Nikki gave a look of surprise. "You're seriously gonna go look knowing we're alone?"

I ignored her and tiptoed towards the doorway leading to the hallway. "Jess." Nikki said sternly. "Stop playing games."

I glared at her. "I'm not playing games. Someone called my name." She was tired of me saying that, but I'd been hearing things a lot lately. No one else would hear it, but I did. They just weren't listening close enough. I peaked around the corner and whispered. "Hello?"

The lights were dim, barely giving a soft glow down the long hallway. It was eery looking, but someone was there. "Hello?" I called again.

"Hello." I heard a deep voice on my neck.

I jumped and glared at Nikki. She was gripping her sides, laughing at my expression. "You should quit thinking someone is gonna answer you." She sobered up quick, but a smirk still played on her lips. "Believe it or not babe, we're alone." She trailed her index finger along my spine causing me to shake as she busted into another laugh.

She went back to the chair with her book, but I looked down the hallway once more. At the very end of the hallway, I saw one of the doors close softly shut. My stomach dropped.

We weren't alone.

I looked back at Nikki and slipped into the hallway. "Where you goin’?" She called.

I cursed her for being nosy. "The kitchen."

"Grab me a beer while you're in there!"

I silently stalked towards the closed door. Lightly walking on the balls of my bare feet. The door was getting closer. I slowed down when I reached a couple feet away from it. My hands were sweaty and I was trying not to shake. I heard clambering in the room, they weren't trying to be quiet at all. I reached out and grabbed the handle. The noise was moving around in the room and I threw the door open.

It was empty.

Not even a scrap of furniture. Not a chair or bed or dresser or anything. The closet in the room was open wide, hiding nothing. Where did the person go? The window was shut and the curtains closed. There was nobody in here.

I walked into the room to get a better look of the place. There were no places to hide. I couldn't figure it out. They were just in here. They didn't leave because I was blocking the door.

"Jesse?" I heard Nikki call from the hallway. "Dude, where's my beer?" She was then standing in the doorway. "You okay?"

I turned back to her quickly, shaking. "They're not here."

Her eyebrows pulled together and her lips pursed into her serious face. "Who's not here, babe?"

"I don't know...the person that was calling my name, I think." I said, still searching the room.

I heard her sigh to herself. "Jesse, come on. It's late and you've had a hard week. Go to bed."

"Where is it?" I asked suddenly. "Everything. The furniture and clothes. There's nothing in here."

Nikki chuckled. "Yeah, I haven't had any use for this room yet so I left it empty until I needed it. I thought I locked the door'd you get in?"

I stared at her blankly. "What do you mean? I saw someone walk in here and close the door. I just followed them."

Her eyes showed confusion and a little fear but she was trying to hide it with a smile. "I forgot I unlocked it this morning. I just now remembered. Come on, go to bed." She forced a laugh and pulled me out of the room. “Did you take your medicine?”

I was staying with my best friend, Nikki, until I got my life back on track. She lived in her parents summer home while we were going to college and the place was huge and empty. I never liked it but I didn't have a choice but to live in it.

Ever since I moved here, I'd been hearing and seeing things. I couldn't figure out why Nikki didn't. Was she just saying she didn't when actually she did?

She refuses to tell you the truth, Jess. She's lying to you.

I listened to them talk. I think they're right too. She's lying to me.

She doesn't like this place either.

If she doesn't like it, why does she live in it? I know we could afford a place in the city, but she refused to spend money when her parents were letting her live here for free. It would be stupid to move with no reason.

Let's do everyone a favor, Jesse! We can burn it down!

Why would I burn it down?

It's haunted. You saw someone that wasn't there. We have to burn it down to get rid of the ghost for Nikki. They could hurt Nikki...

What if the ghost possessed her or something? They were right, I have to burn the place down. Nikki would understand when she knows the reason.

I crept out of bed and opened the door. Nikki’s door was shut and the light was off. She was already asleep. I’d start the fire and get out. She’ll wake up and get out too when she smells the smoke. I couldn’t tell her I was starting a fire or she’d stop me.

The kitchen light was off so I flicked it on and searched the cabinets for some matches. Where would I start the fire? I’d never done this before. I opened the last drawer and still no matches. Damn. I grabbed a wad of paper towels and turned the stove-top on high. The red ringlets lit up fast, getting hot. I laid the towels over it and watched them start to burn.

What about the smoke detector?

Quickly I looked up and saw it flashing in the corner. I reached over and took it down from the wall, taking the batteries out. The fire was getting bigger and I smiled triumphantly. Now all I had to do was get out. Nikki would wake up in time.

I crept back into the hall and headed towards the front door. In the corner of my eye, I saw a shadow. I turned just in time to see them going into Nikki’s room. I started shaking again and I ran back into the kitchen to find a knife. I got the biggest knife and snuck back towards Nikki’s room. The door was cracked unlike before when I saw it.

The fire was growing fast and I had to get out soon, but I couldn’t let the ghost take Nikki. I loved her too much to let her die. I slowly opened the door and went in. Her room was huge being that it was the master bedroom. I saw her bed on the other side of the room; it was empty.

My hand holding the knife was shaking so hard. My mind was foggy from the pills I took earlier. I wiped the sweat from my eyes as I searched the room. Where was Nikki? Did the ghost take her?

I began to really panic as continued to search the room. Suddenly I heard a noise in the giant walk-in closet, heavy breathing.

I silently padded towards the closet, knife raised. It’s the ghost! Stab him! STAB HIM NOW! I screamed as I ran into the closet to save Nikki.

“Jesse?!” I didn’t stop to think, I attacked.

She gasped, gripping the knife’s handle. I stared at her in shock as her nightshirt was staining red. Blood began to pool at her feet.

“Jess, what did you do...” she collapsed onto the floor.

I couldn’t move. “Nikki? Nikki, I’m sorry I thought you were the ghost... Nik?” I knelled down beside her; I could hear wood crackling from the hall, the fire was spreading. Blood surrounded me as I tried to wake Nikki up. She didn’t stir, her eyes remained open and staring.

-The Next Day-

Firefighters finished hosing down the remains of the fire. Police were taping off the crime scene as news reporters taped it. “What appears to be an accidental fire, the Chief of Police says it started in the kitchen, but they are still unclear as to the two bodies found dead. One died from the fire, the other found with a knife in her chest. We’ll be here to report it as soon as the officials release more information. I’m Cathy Bates signing off.”

Firefighters came out carrying the two bodies in plastic bags to be sent to autopsy. “Chief?” One man called from the burned remnants of the house. “I don’t know if this means anything but look at this.” He held up a little bottle for the chief to take.


The man nodded. “I found them in the bathroom cabinet, it wasn’t touched by the fire yet.”

“So you think the girl that died from the fire could have had the pills and killed the girl with the knife?”

“It’s definitely plausible. I’ve seen the effects of this stuff, but why would the pills be in the murdered girls bathroom? I would think if the girl that died by the fire was taking them, they’d be in her bathroom.”

“Unless the other girl was giving them to her...”

The ambulance pulled away, heading towards the morgue, carrying the two girls.

Miss Beckie Louise Week 23: A Night Out

Miss Beckie Louise

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Miss Beckie Louise's Choice: Both

A Night Out

That night was meant to be fun, but instead, it turned into my biggest nightmare. From the outfit I wore right down to where I woke up the next morning. My friends had finally got me to agree to a night out. How stupid was I? We went shopping that day, I tried on loads of outfits but nothing screamed at me, and then Leanne let me borrow a dress that I had my eye on about two months ago.

It was nice two months ago, not so much now, but nevertheless it was a dress and a dress was what I was looking for.

I took it with a tight smile and got into it, it fit me like a glove.


The nightclub was a buzzing with people, the energy was contagious. Leanne and the others quickly got drinks while I was looking for a table. The others followed minutes later with drinks, we had a few shots before going out on the dance floor. Due to the amount of people on the floor, I lost my friends quickly. I looked around and I couldn't see them at all.

I bumped into people a lot, I apologised quickly and was always given a look of lust from guys and disgust from the girls. Either way, whichever look I was sent, I was always uncomfortable.

I hated parties like this and I don't know why I ended up giving into the girls. They always ditched me when they had the chance.

I managed to find myself out of the swarm of people and headed for the direction of the ladies. The bathroom was dirty, it might have white tiled floors but the loos themselves were disgusting, with puke all around the edge, and the smell was vile. The noise from the music was getting too much, I hadn't taken my tablets and this made me more sensitive to the noises.

I bent over and held my head in my hands wanting to get out of the place. I threw up over the floor and the shoes I was wearing. I felt a little better but I wasn't 100%. I found my way out of the toilet and back into the club. I was standing by the bar when a guy came up to me and offered me a drink, I took it without even thinking and drank it in one.

I don't remember much after that but the next morning, I woke up in a foreign bed, with a pounding headache and in my underwear.

I lifted my head and squinted around the room, I didn't see any other signs of life but I still called out “Hello” just encase.

There was no one there at all.

I huffed and put my head back on the pillow roughly.


When I got home, I found a note on my door.

I picked it up and opened it.

Thanks for last night, I always knew you were an easy lay, and there's the proof.

Along with the note, a picture fell out, it was of me leaving with him... the man that caused me all the breakdowns for the past three years.

Miss Beckie Louise Week 22: Fairground Ride

Miss Beckie Louise

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Late, but here she is!
Miss Beckie Louise's Choice: Both

Fairground Ride

We were in Paris! I couldn't believe it, I had wanted this for a long time and now it was finally happening. He told me it was a surprise, that it would be the best time of our lives, and it was. I never doubted him for a second. We went on top of the Eiffel tower, ate French food, drank the wine, the champagne. It was fun, fabulous.

On our last night, he took me to a fan-fare. We went on all the rides until we got to the round-about. Then everything changed. The round-about was right by the tower. So it was a perfect night setting. I loved looking at the lights as we passed it, going round and round and round.

When we got off the ride, he took my hand and led me closer and closer to the tower. Once we were under it, he stopped, so I stopped too, then, he went down on one knee and I gasped, lifted my hand to my mouth in shock.

“I love you, so much. Time always goes so quickly by your side, will you marry me?”

I accepted the proposal and he picked me up and swung me around in circles just like the round-about. The wedding was spectacular, it was everything I ever wanted and more. Then the honeymoon. The beach, the water, the sand, the weather, the hotel. Everything was perfect.

We were there for two whole weeks before real life came crashing back down and we had to start living our lives as married people.

We had the arguments anybody else has, the ups the downs, the crying, the make-up sex. It was all worth it, because I spent my days with him.

Now life isn't worth living. He's gone, and I can't bring him back.

I shed my last tear and closed the photo album, forever.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Kimmydon Week 23: PB & J


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Kimmydon's Choice: Picture2

PB & J

Beth was cooking me dinner. Not in my kitchen, in hers. It had been her idea. I’d suggested taking her out for dinner before a movie, but she’d vetoed that plan, saying she didn’t feel like going out.

So now I was sitting across from Jamie, who was eyeing me up and down. I had stopped at home to change, thank God. The girls were both in sweats and tank tops. A suit and tie would have been very out of place. As it was, I felt overdressed in a polo shirt and slacks. Jamie’s eyes narrowed and she flipped up the hood of the black pullover she had put on when I came in. I tried to figure out what I might have said or done to offend her....

”Peter!” Beth greeted me with a kiss, pulling me in by the arm. “Thanks for coming.” Her broad smile and her hair up in a sloppy ponytail, added to her pale arms that were usually hidden under blouse or blazer, drew me close behind her, pulling her into a reversed hug. It wasn’t until my hands crossed on her belly that I realized there was someone else in the apartment.

That might have been it. I thought it was a rather innocent hug. It wasn’t as though I was groping her, or rubbing myself on her, or anything untoward. In retrospect, I probably would have if Jamie hadn’t appeared then.

“Peter,” Jamie said formally, her reddish eyebrow arched. “I understand you hadn’t taken notice of Beth before two weeks ago.”

“Jamie!” Beth scolded, turning her back on the risotto she was stirring.

“What?! I want to know.” Her green eyes found mine again, cold and unforgiving.

“Um... I...” What could I say that she would believe? That she would understand?

“And why did Brian notice you?” Beth asked turning back to the stove. Her voice was colder than I was used to. Jamie didn’t seem taken back by it, but she did lighten a little.

“Because I tripped him in the hall,” she said without shame. “Did Beth fall into your tree?” Jamie asked, a smile twitching on her lips, as though she were fighting it.

“Something like that,” I replied, seizing the opportunity to give part-truth, something they would understand. I had plans to talk to Beth about Sarah this weekend, but it wasn’t something I would talk to her friend about.

The smile broke and Jamie laughed. “I knew she would climb that tree. There was no way she’d pass up the chance to see you in the buff. Ow!”

A wooden spoon cracked on Jamie’s hand. I hadn’t seen Beth leave the stove, and now only the swaying of her hair on her back showed she’d moved at all.

Jamie was still laughing, holding her reddened hand. “It’s true! She talked about you all the time, you know.”

A pot landed with a thump on the table between Jamie and I. “That is enough,” Beth said as coldly as before. “Supper is ready.” Her tone lightened a little and she smiled at me.

After supper, Jamie was washing the dishes as Beth led me through their apartment. She’d already started supper when I arrived, so I hadn’t seen more than the kitchen and breakfast nook. It was a small apartment, so the tour was short.

“And this is Jam and Bet,” she said with a smile and flourish of her hand. I looked at the stuffed animals, not comprehending.

She sighed. “Jamie and Beth? They’re Mini-us.”

“Give up, Beth. He’s not going to want that kind of teddy,” Jamie called from the kitchen sink.

“Shut up!” Beth hollered back, turning pink.

“I think they’re adorable,” I told her picking up one of the white bears. “Where did you find them? This is Bet, right?” I asked, hoping I hadn’t picked up Jamie’s bear.

“Yep, that’s Bet. We won them at the fair when we were thirteen. We traded and each kept the other’s until we moved in together.”

Jamie came in and hugged Beth from behind. “BFFs,” she said, resting her chin on Beth’s shoulder for a moment before opening one of the three closed doors. “This is my room. You no tour here.” She gave me a scowl before closing the door.

I couldn’t follow Jamie. She was hot and cold, and just when I adjusted to one, she was the other.

Beth smiled at me and led me to another of the doors, this one to her room. I stood at the threshold, looking around.

The only girl’s room I’d spent any amount of time in, was Sarah’s. The girlfriends I’d had were never serious enough for me to notice their rooms, and most were so untidy, there was nothing to see but piles of clothing. Beth’s room wasn’t spotless, but except for a cardigan on one of the bedposts, all the clothes were put away. Most of what sat out were books or magazines. Her walls held nature posters and pictures from the lake.

“You can come in,” she said, a little shyly, sitting on the edge of the bed. She suddenly blushed scarlet and made a quick move with her hand toward the pillow. I made a point to sit at the foot of the bed, although I was painfully curious what had embarrassed her.

I pointed to the picture on her nightstand. “Your parents?” I asked.

She nodded and pulled the frame to hand to me. “Yep. My Mom and Dad. This is my Uncle Terry. He’s a riot. A trucker. We don’t see him often. When he’s in town, he’s usually at the cabin.” She smiled and tucked her hair behind her ear. “He’s the one that taught me to fish. It wasn’t Dad’s thing. He likes to row.”

I nodded. “My Dad wasn’t a fisherman either. Big surprise,” I said rolling my eyes. “He wasn’t really outdoorsy at all, and Mom only gardened. I imagine you could teach me a lot.”

She smiled brightly, taking the picture frame back. “I’d really like that. Hikes? We can start with the parks in the city, lots to see there. Do you know there are over fifty species of birds that migrate through this region?”

I didn’t, of course. A bird was a bird. Blackbird. Bluebird. They sounded different, but I couldn’t tell you how. “I would like that, too. Saturday?” I said beaming, remembering her suggestion that we kiss every Saturday.

She remembered, too, and giggled. “Yes, and I can drive to the Point,” she said with a smirk, reminding me that she liked to drive my car. I hadn’t been to the Point since I was kid. It was nature reserve inside the city.

“That would be perfect. You can tell me about trees and birds, and I can tell you about Sarah.”

She took a deep breath, closing her eyes and sighing quietly. “That would be very nice.”

“Are you that upset about it? She isn’t my ex-girlfriend or anything.” I started to worry that I’d pushed too hard at lunch yesterday. The only thing stopping me from telling her then was the need to return to the office. I wanted to have hours to myself after opening that box of memories. Maybe now? “She was my-”

Beth put her fingers to my lips. “Saturday. Obviously, it’s difficult for you to talk about. I want you to have time to tell me everything. Don’t do it twice.”

I nodded, grateful. “Very difficult. Thank you.”

She leaned forward and kissed me, her hand running down my arm to the plush fabric of Bet, still tucked in my elbow. Beth laughed. “Are you planning to take her home?”

I laughed, too. “I don’t know. Jam might get lonely without her.”

“No, she won’t. You can take her home!” Jamie shouted through the thin wall. Beth slapped the wall with her palm and I heard Jamie laugh on the other side.

“Thin walls,” I muttered unnecessarily.

“Yes,” Beth agreed, rolling her eyes. “So kiss me really loud, okay?” she whispered with a grin.

She didn’t have to ask me twice. Bet fell to the floor as my arms reached for Beth’s sides, wanting to feel how thin the lycra of her shirt was. She giggled and fell back onto her pillow, causing me to topple atop her.

It took all my restraint to keep my hand over her shirt. It helped to put it on her hip, over the bulky fabric of her sweats. I made sure to leave some smacking kisses on her neck for Jamie’s benefit, but when Beth moaned quietly, I couldn’t stop. I licked and kissed all the way to her ear, feeling her moving subtly beneath me. Her thigh shifted a little against mine, her breasts rose with her breath against my arm, her chin tipped up exposing more beautiful white skin that begged to be kissed as well.

It all stopped abruptly when my hand slipped, sliding under her pillow. I braced myself, careful not to fall on her, but a buzzing came from beneath her head.

“Oh my God!” Beth screamed, pushing me aside and diving under the pillow. “Get out. Go, please. Don’t... I’ll see you tomorrow.” She shoved me to the foot of the bed.


The door of the room burst open and Jamie was pulling my arm. “Come,” she ordered. Looking back at Beth, I saw her face down in her pillow. I longed to comfort her, but Jamie pulled harder. “Trust me,” she hissed.

I did. She had known Beth a lot longer than I had. She dropped my hand in the living room, pulling Jam from the mantle.

“Give me five minutes,” she said, opening Beth’s door again.

Once she was gone, I had time to put together what had happened, to figure out what the buzzing had been, why she had been embarrassed. If she knew some of the fantasies I’d had... a simple vibrator was nothing. I used the washroom, the third door in the apartment, and emerged to find Beth, holding Bet. Jam was back on the mantle. She clutched the little bear like a child, tucking it under her chin, hugging it.

I came forward cautiously, reaching for the bear first. “Did Bet and Jam have a talk?” I asked, praying I didn’t sound patronizing.

Beth smiled and then laughed, relaxing her grip on the stuffed bear. “Yes. Yes, they did. Bet is a silly bear, getting worked up over little things.” She looked at the bear fondly and then at me. “I’m sorry I told you to get out. I don’t actually want you to go.” Her dark eyes were rimmed in red.

“I don’t really want to go,” I murmured, kissing her again, softly. “But I probably should.” It was getting late and we both had work in the morning. I plucked the white bear from her elbow.

Her mouth opened into an ‘O’, but she didn’t say anything.

“Do you mind?” I asked.

She bit her lip and shook her head.

“I’ll make sure you get Bet back soon,” I promised. “I’m sure Jam will miss her.”

“Damn right!” Jaime yelled.

We both chuckled at that.

When I got home I opened the door to Sarah’s room. Mom had packed away most of her things, but the bed was still there, with her teddy bear resting on the pillow. It was brown, but matched Bet in size. I made sure both were sitting on Beth’s desk in the morning.

A/N And THAT makes them P, B and J. Groan....

RomanticVamp Week 23: Waking Up

Romantic Vamp

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Romanticvamp's Choice: Both

Waking Up

I heard my door open. It pulled me out of the semi-conscious state I was in. I quickly rubbed my eyes, trying to rid myself of any sleep. I reached out next to me, realizing his side of the bed was empty.

“Happy Birthday,” I heard him murmur.

I sighed, relief coursing through me. I pushed myself into a sitting position and shifted back against the headboard. He tiptoed in further. I felt the mattress sink under his weight. I snuck a glance, seeing his hands cupped around a single cupcake bearing a lone flickering candle, but I couldn’t seem to make myself look at his face. A smile pulled at my lips.

“Thank you,” I whispered.

“Make a wish.”

I fiddled with my blanket. I had no wishes. What I wanted was right here, but I didn’t tell him that. I simply leaned forward and blew the candle out.

“I’m gonna get ready.”

He handed me the cupcake.

“I made breakfast. Come on out when you’re done.”

I nodded, still staring at the cupcake, wondering if he had made it. He hesitated for a moment before slipping out quietly. I sank back into my pillows with another sigh. I smiled at the green frosting, removing the candle and biting into it. It tasted perfect.

He probably did make it. Figures.

I finished eating it, savoring every sweet bite. I quickly climbed into the shower, taking my time. As I rinsed the previous day’s grime away, I reveled in the hot water, thinking on my wonderful life. I was truly lucky. I had my . . . husband . . . a man . . .

I froze. His name . . . what was his name? What did he look like? Terror washed through my veins. I had the ring. Where was my husband?

I screamed.

I sat straight up, searching the sheets next to me. They were cold and empty as they had been for almost four months now. I rolled onto his side, burying my face in his pillow and fighting back tears. It barely smelled like him anymore.

I just wanted him back.

There was a knock on the door. Any tiny fraction of hope I had shattered. He never knocked. he just came in.

“Come in,” I called.

My best friend tiptoed in. She took one look at me and quickly moved to sit on my side of the bed. Her hand on my back was a small comfort.

“Morning. Happy Birthday.”

I choked back a sob.

“We have breakfast ready for you. Why don’t you get dressed and come out when you’re ready?”

I climbed out of bed, moving past her. I showered quickly, traces of my nightmare still lingering in my mind, and dressed for the day. I padded quietly out into the hall, following the smell of crepes to the kitchen.

I bumped into my big brother first. He smiled and wrapped me in an enormous hug. I clung to him, relishing the warmth and comfort I always felt around him.

“Happy Birthday, Mags.”

“Thanks, Sam.”

“I hope you like what I got for you.”

I glared at his bright smile.

“I told you not to get me anything.”

“You think anyone listened to you?”

I rolled my eyes and continued on to the kitchen, him following behind me. Allison looked up from where she was setting a bowl of fruit on the table. She smiled and came to hug me as well. As my best friend and sister -in-law, she had been a godsend.

“Are you okay?” she whispered.

“I just . . . I need a minute.”

She nodded. “I know you didn’t want it celebrated, but humor them.”

I looked back at my family, gathered to support me and celebrate my life continuing on. The whole thing made me feel guilty. I swallowed heavily and nodded, mustering a smile for her. She returned it, wrapping me in another, tighter hug. I blinked back tears.

She slipped behind me to Sam, stretching onto her toes to give him a kiss before whispering in his ear. He smiled, that smile that was reserved only for her. His arm encircled her waist, pulling her closer as she tucked her head under his chin. I watched enviously.

I darted for the stairs, climbing them to the top story of our house. The door at the top hadn’t been opened in several weeks. I hesitated before pushing it open and flipping the light on.

His desk was exactly the way he had left it: papers spread across each other, pens scattered everywhere. His old guitar was propped in the corner collecting dust. I hurried over to it and brushed the offensive signs of disuse away. The big armchair in front of his desk still had my book propped open on the arm, the place saved for absolutely no reason. I wouldn’t touch it and I wouldn’t finish it. He had followed the story through my retelling as I read and had been just as excited to see how it ended. Neither of us would now.

I moved to the floor to ceiling windows on the back side of room. It was what had sold him on this place. They were his favorite. He would sit up here and stare out of them, pretending to work.

I miss you.

The pain was still so sharp in my chest, but I knew I needed to wake up and go on, no matter how much I wanted to stay here and never move. I leaned against the windows, letting everything out and sobbing. My breath fogged up the glass in front of me. I stared at it as it faded away until there was nothing left, like some kind of warning. If I moved on, his memory would fade just like that.

Stepping back, I blew across the glass purposefully and then moved my finger through it. He was here and would always be. All I had to do was look and love.

The condensation faded again. I blew again and my words reappeared.

“I carry you in my heart. Always. I love you.”

Monday, October 25, 2010

AJ Silent Voice Week 23: Just One Day

AJ Silent Voice

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AJ Silent Voice’s Choice: Picture 1

Just One Day

Sara meticulously picked the labels off each bottle. In her head, she sang the song about the bottles on the wall. You know the one where they come off the wall or something? At this point in the day, coherent thought was difficult. She chose this beach because the kids on the rez didn’t care how old she was. And she needed that. Most of her meager wages went to necessities, but it was her birthday, damn it, and she had a right to celebrate. She leaned heavily on the bottle in her hand, well aware that she’d have to leave soon. She was always leaving someone...something.

“Hey, Sara.” a voice called from behind her. She knew that voice.

Without turning around, she nodded. “Jake.”

He sat down next to her, stretching his legs and planting his arms behind him as he reclined into the sun’s rays. Evening was coming and a slight breeze was picking up off the water. She dug her toes deeper into the sand and let moisture seep between them before flicking the dirt off. The waves crashed against the shoreline in a steady rhythm, and she revelled in the comfort. Things came and went...came and went, and eventually came again.

Story of my life, she thought.

“What’s the occasion?” Jake finally asked. His perfect, olive skin picked up the light so perfectly that it seemed to absorb right into him. The Earth drank up his form as if they were united. And he couldn’t lie, it felt amazing on his skin. Jake never knew a time when sunlight couldn’t cure all his ails. He hoped that Sara was finding as much comfort in it as he was; God knows she could use it.

Jake hadn’t known Sara for long, nor did he know her well, but he could tell that something was off.
They'd met at the diner. Jake was coming off night patrols and had a hankering for a big burger. He walked in and took a table. The redheaded waitress recognized him and knew his usual order, so she put the ticket in and gave him a purposeful wink. He cringed and grinned back.

A girl was at the register talking to the cashier. From what Jake could gather, she'd come up a little short. Being the gentleman that he was, he walked up and offered what she didn't have. She thanked him profusely and told him to swing by her work so she could pay him back. He could tell she was embarrassed, so he told her he would. He was in the neighborhood a few days later and stopped into the convenience store where she worked and they struck up a conversation. She was new in town, so Jake invited her to a party. The rest, as they say, was history.

But today was different. Sure, she’d come to the parties on the rez a few time and indulged, but never to this extent. He took in her face as she tried to find the best way to phrase her answer. The breeze caught her long locks and feathered them lightly against her cheek, and with her sandy hand, she wiped them away leaving a bit of sand. Jake dusted off his own hands and, without thought, brushed the grains of sand off her skin. Her eyes closed slightly as if she were savoring something so exquisite, and she could hardly contain it. The smile that crept across her lips made Jake blush.

“Nothing important,” she said. She accidentally let out a small burp and they both had a hearty laugh. “Just the day I was born.”

Jake’s heart dropped at the nonchalant way she spoke of her birthday. “Just your birthday? It’s just your birthday?” he said jokingly.

Sara laughed to keep from crying...she didn’t come out here to cry. “Yup, just my birthday.”

Sara, never one for heart to heart conversations, decided it was about time to go. Shuffling around, she finally heaved herself up and clumsily began to dust off her damp clothes. Taking two wobbly steps, she tried to turn back to face Jake and landed smack on her ass. She laughed again, but Jake didn’t. He walked up to her and extended his hand. She graciously took it and he lifted her with ease. Standing felt good, but her rear end was sore. She’d probably have a bruise tomorrow.

This time, she took it slower and began picking up the glass bottles she’d shamelessly consumed. Again, slowly, she turned around and walked to towards the road and chucked the empties into the big, black trash barrell marked “TRASH.” She giggled at its obviousness, wondering what else it could possibly be mistaken for. That thought got away from her and her giggles turned to real laughter.

Clearing her throat, and gaining her bearings, she picked up the messenger back beside her and slung it over her shoulder. Jake had yet to speak, but she knew he was watching her closely.

Just let it go, buddy, she begged.

No chance. “Where are you going?” Jake asked. The tone of his voice was laden with sarcasm and reproach. He still kept his distance, but never let her out of his sight.

“I’m going to the ball!” Sara said, trying to twirl, but ending up stumbling into the trashcan. Jake moved quickly, keeping her from falling again. He wasn’t angry at her, but then again he was. Here she was, three sheets to the wind, alone, on her birthday, and she had no one in the world to share it with. No one except him, and he figured he was just an uninvited guest.

“Let me go, Jake. I’m walking home.” she slurred. He released her and watched her try to earn her footing again, and before long, she was walking up the embankment maintaining her upright status. He jogged to catch up with her. Before laying a hand on her shoulder, he caught her attention.

He and his boys had learned that lesson early. One night at a party, she stumbled and Paul tried to catch her. When his hand came into contact with her skin unexpectedly, she reared back and punched him square in the nose. Paul had to fake the pain from the punch and immediately covered his nose up while Sara shook her sore hand out. Luckily nothing was broken, but her knuckle looked pretty ugly the rest of the night. She switched drinking hands and said nothing.

“Hey,” Jake called, pulling her shoulder to him. She shrugged him off and tried to keep walking.

“What, Jake? I gotta get home. I have to work tomorrow.” Her voice was tired now, and he feared the worst.

“I need to run into town and pick up some spaghetti noodles. Why don’t I drop you at your place on the way?” he asked.

She stopped and turned too fast, and again she found herself in Jake’s arms. He was smooth and warm, and his body was strong and firm. Had she had the strength, she might have moved away, but she honestly didn’t want to. She looked at his face, his eyes, his hair, and, as if her hands had a mind of their own, she reached up and ghosted her fingertips across his lips.

“Sara....” But before he could finish his thought, she kissed him.

His lips were soft and warm; he tasted like cinnamon, and the taste sent her reeling. His arms stayed locked around her, and for a moment, she thought he would pull away. But, when he pulled her against him, she couldn't help the sigh that escaped from her into his open mouth. He deepened the kiss, tasting and savoring her, before pulling away and ducking his head. She wanted to protest, to demand of him what he'd freely given only seconds ago. Instead, she placed her hand on his chest, right above his heart, and leaned her forehead into his.

“Not like this, Sara,” he pleaded, his voice low and deep. She nodded once and he pulled her to her feet. She stood completely still, touching her fingertips to her still tingling lips. Jake rubbed his short hair and instead of walking ahead of her, he reached out and clutched her hand. They walked to his car together.

The ride was quiet; neither knew what to say. With the windows down, the smell of evergreens blew through the car. Nights in Forks held that magical smell, and Sara leaned her head back against the seat and let the breeze blow through her hair.

Jake's head was spinning with the memory of her body against his, the taste of her lips, and the sound she made when he pulled her close. He'd gotten lost in her...swallowed up in a moment he'd never forget. He tried not to over analyze it or dwell on it too much, but that was an impossible feat. His mind wanted to think on nothing else. He let go and imagined her smiling and laughing as they ran down the beach. He could see her lying next to him softly sleeping. He wanted nothing more than to wake up to her body every morning. He needed to touch her.

It took all his courage, but he reached over and ran his hand down her forearm and twined his fingers through hers. Her thumb caressed his, and he could have sworn it was the most soothing thing he'd ever experienced. But, all too soon, their ride came to an end.

“Sara...” he said. But before he could say more, he saw she'd fallen asleep with her hand in his. Careful not to wake her, he let go and fished her keys out of her bag. He was familiar with her things, having put her to bed a few times after a late night at the rez, so he knew where to go. Walking around to the passenger side, he opened the door slowly, pulled her bag over his shoulder and scooped Sara into his arms.

After getting her tucked in bed, he let himself out and locked the door behind him. He took out his cell phone and set an alarm so that he'd remember to call her and wake her up for work tomorrow. As he turned the key to start the car, he caught a glimpse of himself in the rear view mirror.

For the first time in a long time, he was really smiling.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Destiny Cullen Week 22: Date Night

Destiny Cullen

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Destiny Cullen’s Choice: Both

Date Night

Today was the day! I couldn’t believe that Joey and I would finally have our alone time. We’d both been so busy with work that we’d hardly have time to talk on the phone much less see each other in person. But today was our monthly date night that we always put aside just in case we were too busy.

I ran out of my office building and into a cab ignoring the woman that was waiting also. I took out my cell phone to call Joey but no answer. Maybe he got caught up at work.

Once I paid the cab driver, I shot into my house to change into something a little more sexy and grabbed a bottle of wine. I threw on my four inch heels twirled in front of the mirror, the black dress snug in exactly the right places. I smiled widely knowing exactly how I was going to seduce Joey today.

The house was locked and I was off to Joey’s apartment. I tried him one more time but still no answer. I called my best friend Rachel to give her a play by play.

“You will never believe where I’m going right now, Rachel!”

“You're going to go sex up Joey?” she said in her 'all knowing' voice.

I giggled. “How did you know?”

I heard her sigh into the phone. “One, I can hear your heels against the sidewalk, and the excitement in your voice means only one thing.” I rolled my eyes waiting for her to finish.

“YOUR GETTING LAID TONIGHT!” she screamed. I had to pull the phone away from my ear and check for blood. She laughed, and we chatted the whole way to the apartment complex.

“Hey, Rach, I gotta go. I’m already outside his door.” She giggled, “call me after I want all the details of his technique.” I ended the call and shoved the phone back into the small purse I brought.

I lifted my hand to knock when I heard giggling on the other side. My smile instantly faded as I listened harder. “Come on, babe, come back!” I heard Joey’s voice call out then more giggling and shuffling.

I pressed my ear to the door when the lock clicked and opened. My hand came up and pushed the door and walking in hesitantly. It looked like toddlers where set free in the living room. My head snapped to the left when a soft moan came from his bedroom.

I slowly walked to his room on the way I saw his shirt on the floor along with her shoes.

“Just like that, Ally. God I love you, baby.”

Each word he spoke broke my heart but none compared to what I saw when I reached that bedroom door.

She was grinding on top of him and his hand was inching up her thigh and under her dress. I heard a crash next to me and I looked down and saw I dropped the wine bottle.

They both gasped and leapt from each other. I laughed humorously as I felt a hot tear stroll down my cheek. “I came for our date tonight. I guess you had previous arrangements.” My body turned around and strolled out the apartment. I heard my name being called, but I ignored that voice at all costs.

Once I was home, I ripped off my dress and threw on some sweats. I couldn’t stand to be alone, so I called Rachel and she came over with ice cream, hot chocolate, and magazines.

“Thank you so much, Rach. You’re the best friend ever!” I hugged her as the tears burned my cheeks.

“It’s okay, babe I’ll always be here. Just like we promised in middle school.” We stayed like that all night eating ice cream and drinking hot chocolate.

Around six in the morning, Rachel left and I ended up by the window gazing out into the neighborhood. I closed my eyes and exhaled heavily. My eyes opened to the cloud of condensation on the window. The tears came again as the scene from his bedroom played in my head.

“Just like that, Ally. God, I love you.”

I traced my finger along the glass and wrote what I felt in my heart.

‘Fuck Ally’

I don’t need him; I never needed him. She can have him and all his cheating glory. I can do better and I deserve better, someone worth of my time and love. I smiled as I walked into my closet and got out my favorite outfit.

“No more tears or fears,” I said to myself in the mirror. “I’m going out into the word a better woman looking for a great man.”

“By the way you have a date tonight with Cole. You remember him don’t you? He went with you to the prom senior year.” Rachel said.

I turned around and smiled at her. “I thought you left.”

“Nah, I never leave my best friend when she needs me. Plus I didn’t want you to hear me planning the date. I knew you’d get over Joey. He was scum. Now you're ready for a real man.” She smirked and shimmied over to my closet to find something suitable for date night.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Burntcore Week 22: Redemption


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Burntcore's Choice: Both


I sat in my tub, my hair piled up in a mess on the top of my head, as I tried to figure out what to do next. Cory contacted me out of the blue, the first time since he left two years ago. At that time, he said it was for the best, that he couldn’t be the man that I needed him to be.

To me, it sounded like a cop out. If he really wanted to be that man, he just had to try.

It was the same conversation we had several times over the years when his drinking got out of control again. The same line he would give me before he would walk out on his way to the nearest bar, only to come crawling back a few weeks later. And I was the same idiot that kept letting him come back. Except the last time. The last time was it. I wanted him to get help and he insisted that there wasn’t a problem. I had enough and told him if he walked out than it was it, for good, not more crawling back.

He must’ve believed me because he never did come back. I never heard from Cory again until this morning when an message popped in my gmail. He sounded remarkably sober in the email.

Which led to where I was now: sitting in my tub, surrounded by happy bubbles that normally helped me think, trying to figure out what I should do. My mind went through Cory’s email again, trying to decide if he meant what he said.

Dear Holly,

I’m sure I’m the last person you’d expect to hear from, but I am hoping you’ll hear me out. I feel that I owe you an explanation or at least an apology for what I put you through. I’m not expecting anything. I just want to talk to you for a little bit and thank you. You have affected my life and that I wouldn’t be here, I wouldn’t be alive, if it wasn’t for you.

Please give me this opportunity. I’ll be in town this weekend. If if you are willing, please meet me by the railroad tracks that we used to walk along at 3pm on Saturday.



It seemed pretty straight forward but what did he mean that he wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for me? Guess the only way I’d find out would be by meeting him on Saturday.

As the week went by, Cory’s email stayed on the forefront of my mind. I still hadn’t decided what I wanted to do. There was a part of me that was curious over what he had to say. There was another part of me that wanted nothing to do with him. It took me long enough to get over him, and there were some days that felt like I hadn’t completely. And there was that tiny part of me that still cared about him, that wanted to know what he was doing now, how he was doing.

Saturday morning found me soaking in the bathtub once again. I nervously nibbled on my fingernails as I tried to pretend that my bath was soothing me. Once the water had cooled and I started shivering, I gave up and got out of the tub.

“What a waste of perfectly good bubbles,” I commiserated as I watched the happy bubbles swirl down the drain.

I wrapped my robe around me and padded barefoot into my kitchen to get something to eat. My stomach was fairly unsettled but I knew I needed to try to eat something. I made a few pieces of toast with peanut butter while I idly watched some program on the TV. My mind was elsewhere the entire time and I wouldn’t have been able to tell you what I had been watching if you asked.

As it approached the hour in question, I quickly dressed in jeans, comfy boots, and my favorite sweater. Turning to walk back to the living room, my gaze stopped on an old faded photo album that sat on a back corner of my bookshelf. A thin layer of dust covered the outside. I gingerly reached out and grabbed the album, my fingers leaving tracks in the dust. I dusted the cover of the album with the sleeve of my sweater and walked into the living room.

The television was still droning on, but I didn’t pay it any attention. I sat down on the couch, curling my feet underneath me. My heart was racing as I gazed down at the seemingly innocuous red cover. I hadn’t looked at these pictures in several years and I wasn’t sure what looking at them would bring up. Taking a deep breath, I opened the cover and looked down at the first captured moments of my relationship with Cory.

There were such smiles on our faces. In one, we were laughing with a group of friends on a couch. That was when we had first started seeing one another. It was Superbowl Sunday, and our group of friends had gathered to watch the game. I was nervous that day, knowing Cory was going to be there. We had mutual friends and the last few times we had been at the same gatherings, a connection had been building between us. Shortly after that picture, Cory grabbed my hand and didn’t release it the rest of the evening.

In another, we had our glasses raised in a toast to someone speaking off to the side. Some others were posed pictures of us on vacations we took. Each one showed us at our happiest. However, as I turned the pages, memories that weren’t captured in the album came to mind, memories that weren’t as happy. The fights, the accusations, the nights where I was woken up by late night phone calls from a drunken Cory needing a ride home.

Feeling that I had enough and needing to keep the past in the past, I shut the album and laid it on the coffee table. I tried to remember the good man that Cory once was, how he was when we first met. It helped improve my mood enough that I decided to go through with the plan to meet him by the tracks.
Before I stepped out the door, I ran back over the album and ripped out a specific picture, one that to me, represented the last happy moment before our final downfall.

As I drove, my fingers tapped on the steering wheel. I still couldn’t believe I was actually doing this. Was this going to actually solve anything? Or was it just going to dredge up old feelings and old resentments? This question remained unanswered as I parked in an old parking lot near the railroad tracks. A few other cars dotted the parking lot.

I slowly got out of the car and looked around; trying to see if could spot Cory anywhere. It didn’t appear that anyone was in sight. Shrugging and stuffing my hands in my pants pockets, I walked toward the tracks. My footsteps remained soft until I reached the tree-line. Then, the only noise that could be heard was the rustling of leaves as my feet moved. I kept my head down and watched my feet kick up the leaves, admiring the fall colors.

I hadn’t gone much farther before I heard a soft, masculine voice call out to me.


I turned slowly and saw Cory standing on the opposite side of the tracks. He looked different but exactly the same all at the same time. His body was still lean and his hair still dark. Cory wore his hair shorter than I remembered, but it was a good look for him. I lifted my hand and waved at him slowly without moving. Cory must’ve taken that as an invitation and quickly walked across the tracks towards me.

“Holly, I am so glad you are here. I wasn’t sure if you still used that email address,” he said softly once he stopped a few feet from me.

“I still do. Not much has changed with me,” I replied softly.

Now that he was closer, I was able to see other things that had changed about him. His face looked clearer, younger almost. He stood taller, more sure of himself. His blue eyes no longer looked watery and bleary but clear and bright.

He looked sober. Not just sober after a weekend bender, but sober sober.

Cory smiled softly and I felt my heart skip a beat, which startled me. I wasn’t expecting to have a reaction like that.

“Well, a lot has changed with me. I’d like to tell you about that if I could.”


Cory walks a little closer to me but doesn’t invade my personal space. “Walk with me?” he asked.

I nod and match his step along the railroad tracks. Memories of the times we had spent here flooded my mind. We walked in comfortable silence for a few minutes before he started to speak.

“Before I left that last time, we said a lot of things to one another. I deserved every thing you said. I was firmly rooted in my denial of my problem. I thought I didn’t need you or anyone. It wasn’t until I hit rock bottom that I realized how wrong I was.”

I ingested his first words calmly, although I was curious as to just what rock bottom was. He didn’t make me wait long.

“Two weeks after I left, they found me passed out in my car, with a beer in my lap. Apparently, I had passed out while I was driving and hit a telephone pole. I was lucky that no one was in the way. But my car was totaled and I had my driving privileges revoked… for life.”

“For life?” I gasped.

“Yep, it wasn’t my first DUI.”

“What?” This was a surprise.

“Yeah, um. I had several, but I managed to hide them from you. After it happened the first time, I started to carpool with Reggie because my license got suspended.”

My hand flew to my mouth in shock. He had been carpooling with Reggie within six months of our relationship starting. All that time since then, I thought he just didn’t like to drive.

“I’m sorry, Holly, that I kept all this from you. I wasn’t right in the head. I was addicted to the alcohol.”

I shook my head a little. I had heard plenty of apologies from him over the years. They didn’t really mean anything anymore to me.

“So what happened after the accident?”

“I was arrested and thrown in jail. It was a wake up call, of sorts. I joined AA while I was there too. I learned a lot about myself while I was in jail.”

I nodded and looked ahead, down the tracks. “How long were you in jail?”

“A year.”

Wow, well that explained why he never came crawling back.

“So what does this have to do with me?” I hated to be so abrupt about it, but I wanted to get to the point, to know why he felt I had some bearing on who he was now. He had changed, but I wasn’t certain yet to what extent and what it really had to do with me.

“I always wanted to be better for you. It killed me every time we got into a fight or when I made you cry, but I just couldn’t overcome my addition to alcohol. Until I got thrown in jail, I didn’t know have the will power to overcome my addictions.

“I couldn’t drink in jail, unless I wanted that nasty stuff some guys brew in the tanks of their toilets. I was forced to become sober. And once I had been dry for a few weeks, the consequences of my actions weighed me down until they broke me. Holly, I couldn’t get you out of my mind. I was so in love with you, and when I was finally sober, I was heartbroken over what I had done. I was filled with guilt and disgust for myself, of what I had become, and what I had done to you.”

Tears started to blur my vision, tears I did not want to be shedding. I had dealt with this already. I had put it behind me. I didn’t want to be feeling this again. I couldn’t. Angrily, I shook my head until they went away.

“At my lowest, the only thing that kept me going was a picture of you. There wasn’t much we could have in our cells, but I had your picture. I stared at that picture like it was my key to sanity. Now I realize that it was. In those dark times, I kept thinking that people could change, that I could change. I could be the man you deserved. Even if you didn’t want me anymore, I wanted to be a better person... because of you.”

I stopped in my tracks, stunned by his admission. Cory hadn’t realized that I had stopped and kept going a few steps before he noticed he was walking alone.

“Holly?” he asked softly, his voice concerned.

I stared at him. This was so much to take in. These were words I had longed to hear two years ago.

“I… I’m sorry, Cory, it’s just so overwhelming.”

He smiled sadly at me, his blue eyes full of sorrow and regret, as he ran a hand through his short cropped brown hair. “I’m sorry too, sorry that it took something like a serious car accident and jail time for me to come to my senses. If I had been a real man back then, perhaps we wouldn’t be here right now having this conversation.”

“What ifs are pointless, Cory. What’s done is done. It’s what you do afterward that matters,” I retorted, stuffing my hands in my jean pockets. All the wishes and what ifs in the world wouldn’t have changed what happened between us. He chose the bottle over me, over our life we had built together, every time.

“That is very true, Holly. Can I tell you what I decided to do with my life after that?”

I nodded and continued walking with him.

“So, I joined AA while in prison. I acknowledged that I had a problem and that I needed help to fix it. I gave my life over to God and let Him lift me up. Through the meetings and the counselors, I was able to start putting the pieces back together. My sponsor really helped me a lot in the beginning, when it seemed hopeless. He reminded me every time I started to give up of the picture of you I had hanging in my cell. It worked. Every step of the way, you were my guide, my reason to keep going. I knew I had blown my chances with you, but I prayed that one day, once I was out, that I would be able to talk to you again and thank you. I knew that if I didn’t change where my life was going I would never get that chance because I’d be in jail again or I’d be dead.”

We walked silently for a few moments as I absorbed what he told me. A part of me was genuinely happy for him that he had turned his life around and was sober. Was all he wanted from me was to thank me? Thank me for what? I realized that I was his “guide” while he was incarcerated but it wasn’t like we were still together.

“When were you released?”

Cory looked over at me from the corner of his eyes. “Six months ago.”

“Do you still live around here?”

“Yeah, I have a small place of my own around the corner. It isn’t much, but I can afford it. Plus it’s close to my new sponsor.”

“Your new sponsor?”

“Yeah, my old sponsor was serving time too, so when I was released, I had to find a new one.”

“That sucks.”

“It did, because I had a great rapport with my first sponsor but it just wasn’t possible. He did help me find my new sponsor out there.”

“So how has it been since you’ve been out?”

Cory thought a moment before responding. “Enlightening? Eye-opening? Shameful? Some of my old drinking buddies tried to get me to go out with them, but I put my foot down. I had already lost so much and I didn’t want to lose what I had left.”

“What did you have left?” I asked, softly.

“Hope,” Cory replied simply. “I had hope that tomorrow would be a better day and hope that eventually I’d be able to be here with you.”

I didn’t know how to respond to that so I just kept walking. I wasn’t sure if Cory expected a response from that admission, but I wasn’t ready to provide one yet. He continued telling me his story, letting me off the hook from forming any kind of response that I wasn’t prepared to give.

He told me about how he adjusted to life outside of prison again, how even though he’d only been in jail for a year, things changed. When he was released, it was like looking at the world through brand new eyes, brand new sober eyes. It made the realizations that he made in jail that much more profound when confronted with the reality of his prior poor judgments.

Cory realized that the majority of his old friends were traveling the same path that he was. In order to rise above what he was before, he ended up being quite lonely. Finally, he started to make new friends. Some were from his new AA group, others were from his new job, there were even a few who had been friends when he was much younger, before he got into alcohol. He realized that he hadn’t done much in his past life that didn’t involve drinking.

We continued to walk by the tracks after Cory finished catching me up on the past two years. The silence was comfortable, much to my surprise. I had expected things to be awkward between us. It was still a little weird to be here with him now after everything that happened, but if I had to be honest, I derived some comfort from it. As much as I liked to tell myself that I was over Cory, I still thought and worried about him during the past two years. It was comforting that he was straightening his life around. Quite simply, I realized I was proud of him.

“What about you, Holly?” he asked quietly, his voice disturbing the peace that surrounded us.


“What about you?” he prompted, turning his face towards me. “What have you been up to these past two years?”

“Um, not much,” I replied, slightly caught off guard to be asked about myself. “I’m still working at the Center, but I moved shortly after you left. Our lease was almost up, and I couldn’t live there anymore.”

“God, I’m sorry. I should’ve sent money to you or something so you wouldn’t have to move because I was such an asshole.”

“It wasn’t because of the money, Cory. I made enough to live there on my own. If you remember, that was my place before you moved in with me. I couldn’t live there anymore because of the memories. They haunted me.”

“Oh.” His voice sounded so defeated and so sad.

“My new place is closer to work and a little bigger. It’s nice. But I still do a lot of the same things. I still talk to my parents every week and go out with Eileen for lunch and shopping with Joanne.”

“Are… are you… seeing anyone?”

I looked down at my feet and slowly came to a stop. My fingers twisted into one another as I tried to think of a response.

Cory stuttered nervously, toeing the gravel with his foot, “D-don’t-don’t answer, it’s none of my business. I shouldn’t have asked. I don’t have the right to ask.”

“No,” I whispered, my heart pounding in my chest.


“No, I’m not seeing anyone. I’ve gone out on a few dates but that’s it,” I admitted softly.

What I wouldn’t tell him was that no matter how great the guy was, he wasn’t Cory. Cory, when he was sober, was a wonderful, kind, loving man. It was that man that no other could hold a candle to; and it was this man that I realized was really standing in front of me.

He gasped and looked down at me in surprise. Hope burned freely in his eyes now. At that moment, I knew that I still loved him, but I still wasn’t positive that I could trust him, that I could allow him back into my life again.

“Holly, I-“ he stopped, losing the words that he was trying to say. He ran his hands along his scalp before knuckling his eyes.

I turned my head away from him, I wasn’t ready for this yet. I wasn’t sure what I was ready for.

He took a deep breath, which seemed to center him and still his nerves. He dropped his hands to his sides and turned fully towards me. Cory reached out and tentatively took my hand in his as he prepared to speak.

“Thank you, Holly. Thank you for loving me when I didn’t deserve it. Thank you for being my friend when I didn’t deserve it. Thank you for being everything I needed when I didn’t think I needed it. Despite all the hurt and pain I caused you, you were the one who helped me finally rise above it. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”

The last words came out in a reverent whisper as he gazed at me, his blue eyes so full and earnest.

I couldn’t help the tears that fell from my eyes. Before I could wipe them away, Cory’s thumb gently brushed them away.

“Cory, I- I don’t. I c-can’t,” I murmured softly as I pulled away. It was all too much.

Cory’s face fell, but I tried not to feel bad about it. I couldn’t. I loved him, but I wasn’t sure if I could just let him walk right back into my life like no time had passed. I may not have done much in the past two years, but I had changed. He definitely had changed.

“I’m sorry, Holly, I’m so sorry.” He shoved his offending hands into his pockets.

“I know, Cory.”

“So what do we do now?”

“What do you want?” I asked.

“I want you back in my life, Holly. I want more than just memories.”

I squeezed my eyes shut and wrapped my arms around myself.

“What do you want?” he asked softly.

I shrugged as I turned and started to walk back towards the parking lot in the distance. Cory followed without saying a word. We walked in silence all the way back to my car. I stopped outside the passenger door, keeping my eyes downcast. Cory’s nerves were starting to get the best of him; he started to fidget. My brain swirled round and around as I thought about the possibilities, the real possibilities about having Cory in my life again.

Taking a deep breath, I opened the car door and dug into the glove box. After I finally touched what I was searching for, I closed everything up and leaned against the car, keeping my hand and what it contained hidden from Cory’s view.

“Cory, I don’t know if what I want is possible.” His head whipped up when I spoke. “I never stopped caring about you but I can’t go back to where we were at. I can’t go through that again. I won’t go through that again.”

“Holly, I’ve been sober for nearly two years now.”

“I know, and I think that is awesome. But how do I know that you’ll stay that way? You weren’t drinking when we first started dating. If it’s not alcohol, what if it is something else? Something worse?”

Pain was etched deeply into Cory’s face.

“Holly, I will always be an alcoholic, but I will always be a recovering alcoholic. I won’t allow myself to become a slave to that kind of addiction again.”

“How do I know that?” I asked, my voice rising. He just didn’t get it. Him saying he’s recovering doesn’t make everything all better again. “What proof have you ever shown me that you can say no to a drink?”

He nodded a few times, comprehension finally sinking in. “I understand, Holly. I haven’t given you any reason to trust me. But...I would like the opportunity to show you that you can trust me again, that you can let me into your life again.”

I looked away, unable to decide one way or the other. After several minutes of deep introspection, I slowly reached out my hand and showed him what I was holding.

“Do you remember when this was taken?” I asked softly.

Cory nodded. “We were right here, walking along the tracks.”

“In this picture, I thought we were perfect. Little did I know that you were hiding a secret that would eventually drive us apart. This picture will never change. Show me that people can, that you can, that you did and you will.”

Hope glimmered in his eyes again as he tried to fight a smile. “Holly, can I email you again?” It has hard not to hear the desperate hope in his voice. “Maybe we can chat a little bit and meet up again the next time you are free?”

I smiled, wide and warmly for the first time since arriving. “Sure, I think I’d like that.”

Cory’s face broke into the biggest smile I had ever seen.

“I should go,” I said as I walked over to the driver’s side of my car. Cory looked a little disappointed but nodded and walked over by me.

“Thank you for coming out to meet me, Holly.”

I got into my car and rolled down the window, looking up at Cory’s handsome face. “Thank you for not forgetting about me.”

“I could never forget about you, sweet girl,” he murmured, reaching out and cupping my face.

I blushed and started up the car.

“I need to go.”

“I know.”

Cory removed his hand and took a few steps away from the car. He smiled softly as I pulled away. The last thing I saw as I pulled onto the street was him waving goodbye.

It was a goodbye to the past, to the pain and sorrow. It was a hello to the future, to love and to trust.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Kimmydon Week 22: Lunch Date


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Picture 2

Kimmydon's Choice: Both

Lunch Date

Mary looked at me crosswise through the morning commute.

“What?” I finally asked her.

“You’re glowing,” she said, narrowing her eyes. “Are you pregnant?”

“What?! No! Mary!” I couldn’t believe she would suggest it. I hadn’t had sex in months. If my luck held, that wouldn’t be true for much longer, but still.

“Okay, okay. Don’t get your panties in a bunch.” She looked me up and down. “Assuming you’re wearing any.”

Now she was just being Mary. I pursed my lips and tried to ignore it.

“Who is he?” she asked with a sigh.

“You mean you don’t know?” I asked, arching a brow.

“I do. I want you to say it.”

I huffed. Were we so obvious? “Does everyone know?”

“No, but I’m not just anyone.” She rolled her blue eyes at me, shaking her blonde locks. “Come on, Beth. Out with it. What’s going on with you two?”

“We’re... seeing each other.” What could I tell her? We weren’t ‘going steady’ or any other inane thing like that. We’d gone for dinner twice and he’d fished with me. Oh, and we’d made out hot enough that I needed new underwear. What did that count for?

“Seeing each other,” she repeated. “Well, that’s a start. How’d the donation go?”

My grin broadened. “I gave you two.”

She rolled her eyes. “You can’t give twice, Beth.”

“I didn’t. I brought a second.”

Her lips turned up in a grin as well. “Peter?” she asked, a twinkle in her eye.

I nodded vigorously. “And then he took me for sushi. How awesome is that?” I asked excitedly.

“Pretty perfect,” she agreed with a smile. “I should have let you handle the drive yourself. You were on the rampage.”

“I hate losing,” I muttered, slouching and crossing my arms.

Mary chuckled, eyes on the road. “Well, I don’t see that being a problem.”

I smiled at her and straightened a little. “What are you doing for lunch? I was thinking of hitting that new Thai place.” Eating out last night meant I didn’t have left overs today.

Mary chuckled. “I have a lunch. Maybe Peter will take you,” she practically sang.
I stuck my tongue out at her. Soon enough, we’d be out of the car and I’d have to be professional, but for now, we were just friends.

“Think we’ll make it to second base soon?” I asked, clamping a hand over my mouth when the words had already escaped.

Mary laughed loud as she turned off the ignition. “Oh, baby, it’ll be a home run with him. If not, I’ll have the reason why.” Her eyes lit up now; she meant it.

I smiled, glad Mary was on my side. I would probably need it when the rest of the office found out. Blowing out a sigh, I climbed out of the car.

My mind wasn’t on the numbers all morning. I tried to do some writing, some filing, anything but data manipulation. It was only eleven, but I was useless. I threw in the towel, poking my head in Gary’s open door, after finding Peter’s closed and hearing his voice on the other side.

“I’m taking early lunch. Be back in an hour.”

He looked up from the report he was reading. “What do I care?”

I shook my head in disbelief. I didn’t understand how Gary got to be in high level position, let alone how he managed to stay there. His laid back attitude, although refreshing when you’d been staring at a screen for hours, didn’t seem conducive to a business work ethic. Obviously, he was doing something right though; the boss’s kept him around.

I walked the few blocks to the park, deciding on a sandwich at one of the bistros over Thai. I sat on a bench looking at the odd sculpture on this edge of the large pool. The water ran almost an entire block from city hall, giving the appearance of a lake in the middle of the downtown core. It was a great place to take a break.

I stood up, taking another look at the very thin figure climbing the twisted ladder. It looked like it was intended to be inspirational for those of us “climbing the corporation,” but instead it made me think of the scaffolding at the lake and Jamie. I smiled, wiping the corners of my mouth and balling my napkin in my fist.

I turned, practically colliding with Peter. He was staring at the statue. I looked between the two a couple of times, expecting him to come out of it and talk to me, but he seemed lost.

“What do you see?” I asked him.

“Sarah,” he whispered. Then he shook himself visibly. “I heard you had gone out for lunch and thought I’d try my luck.”

I didn’t know anyone named Sarah. I wondered who she was. Someone from his childhood? The way I’d just been thinking of Jamie.

“Well you got lucky,” I said, not sure how to reply. “Did you need to get lunch?” I had noticed he held nothing, no sandwich, no bag.

“No, I... I left it in the office,” he said looking down at his feet.

I couldn’t quite understand. “You came to meet me for lunch, but didn’t bring your lunch?” I giggled a little at the end. He turned a little pink.

“Gary just told me you’d left. He didn’t say how long ago. I...”

Still chuckling, I put my fingers to his lips, stopping him. “It’s all right. You don’t have to explain. I’m glad you did.” I added after a slight pause, a little less glib.

“Did what?” he asked.

I couldn’t help laughing again. “Came to find me.” I grabbed his hand, lacing my free fingers through his. “Walk with me?”

A large smile spread across his face. “I’d love to. Around the lake?” he offered.

“Perfect,” I said dumping my garbage in a nearby can. “And you can tell me about Sarah.” I smiled at him, knowing my dimples were showing. It was a trap, but I didn’t want it to feel like one. I was really curious about him. He knew I didn’t have any siblings, but I didn’t know if he had any. I didn’t know if he grew up here or moved after college. I didn’t know much before two years ago when I met him. I was understandably curious. Especially if this were to be something more than a fling, and I dearly hoped it would be. I’d done the casual dating scene and it didn’t suit me.

“Not today?” he pleaded.

I set my mouth in a line, but nodded before walking away.

He sighed. “Ask me something else? Anything else?”

I turned to face him, crossing my arms beneath my breasts, appraising.

He blanched a little then flushed. He reached out and grabbed my wrists, pulling my hands to him.
“Please, Beth. I will tell you, I promise, just... please, not now.”

I knew the disappointment was still on my face. “Tell me about your grandma, the one that gives you cookies.” I still wasn’t smiling.

“I will tell you, this weekend?” he offered. “All about Sarah, okay?”

I nodded.

“Thank you.” He leaned forward and kissed me, still holding my wrists tightly. He stepped back and I felt my lips curl up. It was so nice to be touched by him, kissed by him, if only I were trusted by him a little more.

“Grandma Netty is my Dad’s Mom. She lives in Florida with her sister Flo. They moved there when I was still in school.” He turned us and started walking again.

“And you visit her every Christmas? Are your parents in Florida too?”

“My parents are dead.” He said flatly.

I stopped, staring at him. “I’m sorry... I didn’t... Oh God, Peter-”

“Stop, Beth,” he said with a tiny smile. “They passed a few years ago. It’s really okay.”

I took several short quick breaths before coming to believe him. “So... that’s their house,” I said, making the connection aloud.

He chuckled. “Yeah. I couldn’t afford that place myself. They’d almost paid it off though. I should clear the last of the mortgage next year.”

I nodded, smiling. When his face reflected it to me, I wrapped my arms around his neck.

“Thank you.”

“For what?” he asked with a chuckle.

“For trusting me. For letting me in.”

He squeezed me tighter and I felt my breath leave in a whoosh.

“I want nothing more than to let you in, Beth. Please, please come in.”

Whoa. That... might have frightened me if I hadn’t just thought that I wanted more than casual. I kissed his cheek, settling back on my heels and sniffing. Was I tearing up? I touched the corners of my eyes, surprised to see that I was.

“Beth?” Peter asked, searching my face.

“I’m fine. Just... a little overwhelmed, I guess.”

“Shit, I knew I shouldn’t... I wasn’t supposed to fuck this up, it was supposed to be perfect.” He started to stalk away from me.

My eyes narrowed. “Peter Strauss.”

He stopped dead, peeking over his shoulder at me.

“Here. Now.” I pointed at the ground in front of me. This had to be straightened out. I wasn’t about to let him go thinking anything about this afternoon, with the possible exception of not telling me about Sarah, was a mistake.

His mouth opened, working on air. He closed his eyes a moment before obeying me.

“I may have been overwhelmed, but only because it’s more than I thought I could expect. Not more than I wanted. If you ever walk away from me like that again, I won’t stop you,” I threatened. An empty threat, a bluff, I wasn’t about to let him go now.

He gasped a little. He took my hand again. I didn’t realize both were on my hips. I dropped the other as well.

“Anything you say,” he breathed, kissing my fingers.

I blushed, not knowing what to make of his gesture.

“Well, then we should probably get back,” I told him, still flustered.

“Of course.” He wrapped my hand around his arm, leading us back to the office.

Romantic Vamp Week 23: Memories Left Behind

Romantic Vamp

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Romanticvamp's Choice: Both

Memories Left Behind

She stared blankly at his coworker, trying to process her words. As it all sank in, dawning broke across her own face. Without a word, she took off, flying down the hallway. She ignored the disapproving glares of the stuffy business people in their offices. They and their expensive, no-nonsense clothes had no idea what kind of emergency she was facing.

By the time her hands hit the double doors in the lobby, her panic was so great that they shot open under her shove. A blast of icy air hit her and she realized she had left her jacket at her sister’s. Pausing only to make sure her blood was still circulating and to gain her bearings after the shock of the cold, she took off on the familiar path to the apartment. People jumped out of her way, others crying out in alarm as she pushed past them. Her feet flew across the walk and up the stairs, for once not finding something to trip on. She stopped in front of the door, the silver “eleven” filling her with a sense of homecoming. She smiled as she fished her key out of her pocket and got through the door.

Everything looked just the way it had when she had left what felt like ages ago. His favorite picture of her back, gazing at the Statue of Liberty was still displayed proudly on the entryway table as a reminder of happier times. Times when they believed they were invincible.

Yet the dimness and cold air told her something was different. She sprinted to the bedroom, calling, “Adam?!”

Her heart gave an uncomfortable, painful thud as she realized all his things were missing from the room. Everything of hers was still in its place. He hadn’t even taken any of the pictures she had plastered the walls with. Tears stung her eyes, blurring her vision as she peered into the closet, finding only her cold-weather clothes she had left behind. Her body was numb as she pulled her heavy jacket off its hanger and sank backward onto the bed. She hugged it to her, smelling him on it. A sob broke out of her throat and she couldn’t sit still. She wandered the empty apartment, each echoing step making it harder to breathe. It finally became unbearable as she left the kitchen. Her knees gave way and she sank to the floor next to the little trashcan he had bought as a joke, still clutching the jacket to her chest.

“Adam,” she sobbed.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a crumpled piece of paper all by itself at the bottom of the trashcan. Sadly, she could liken it to herself: alone, abandoned, left behind. She reached in and pulled it out, flattening it against her leg. As she realized what it was, her heart stopped and then picked up again in double time. It was a bus reservation for one that left in an hour. She gasped and flew to her feet, pulling the jacket on as she ran out the door.


She was chewing on her nail as the taxi pulled up in front of the bus depot. The forty-five minute ride had been to long. Now she only had fifteen minutes to find him. She threw a few bills on the passenger seat and sprinted into the crowd of people making their way inside. With a strength she didn’t know she possessed, she wove her way through them, pushing the ones who got in her way. Up ahead, she saw the list of departing buses. She quickly located the one Adam was taking and hurried toward it.

She was out of breath when she reached it. Her eyes scanned the crowd, desperately searching for him. The bus would be leaving any minute now. She prayed something would go wrong, that he would be delayed. Please, please, she begged.

What a mess this all was, this misunderstanding. She had to make it right. She had to see him, had to know he still loved her. She still loved him. Still, she couldn’t see him. She made her way closer to the bus.

Suddenly, everything in her seemed to go on high alert. It was like she could sense him, feel that he was near. Trembling, she stopped moving and resumed her visual search. Getting onto the bus was a man who looked somewhat familiar. He was wearing a bulky jacket, a messenger bag across his shoulder. There was only one way to find out . . .


He turned. His eyes locked right onto her and she could feel the relieved smile explode on her face. She pushed toward him, aching to move faster. He stumbled down the steps, likewise trying to make his way toward her. They were so close.

Her arms were stretched toward him, but it was his hands that grabbed onto her first. She looked up into his brown eyes, tears springing to her own. His moved, taking every part of her in. Suddenly, he crushed her to himself, wrapping his arms around her. She pushed away, grabbing his face and pulling him to her as she went up on her toes. Without any ounce of hesitation, she pressed her lips to his, putting all her love and relief and happiness into it. He responded and then pulled back, smoothing the hair back from her face. They both smiled.

“I thought you would be gone,” she gasped.

“You almost missed me. How did you know where I was?”

“You left your reservation in the trash.”

“I had a feeling I hadn’t covered all my steps,” he laughed.

“I love you. So much.”

He smiled and kissed her again.

Monday, October 18, 2010

AJ Silent Voice Week 22: Soon

AJ Silent Voice

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Destiny Cullen’s Choice: Picture 2


“Five more minutes,” I begged. It was our ritual. He even set the alarm so that I could have my five minutes, and possibly another five if I needed it.

He kissed me softly and let his hands travel up my thigh, savoring the curve of my hip, before pulling me flush to his body.

“This is number three, babygirl. You need to get up now.”

I groaned, half asleep. “No. You're so warm and soft...”

I laid my lips reverently in the crook of his neck and savored the taste of his skin. He excited everything inside me by just being himself...his wonderful, tasty, fragrant self. My lips left a wet trail as I made my way to his jaw.

“And how exactly did we end up in the spare room last night?” I asked playfully.

“Ahem, well.” He threaded his fingers through my hair. “You had a glass, or three, of wine.”

“Hm.” He pulled me away from him and made a trail of his own until his lips were nibbling at my collarbone. “Go on.”

“You know, the mouth on you when you're 'relaxed' is quite a turn on.” He made his way back up my throat until his nose barely scathed my jaw. “And you enticed me with your wayward talk. You corrupted my innocence with the obscene things you wanted to do.”

“Is that right?” My voice faltered as he flicked my earlobe with his tongue.

“Yes, ma'am, that's right.” I loved the low, husky voice he used in bed. “And then you 'lost' your clothes, or so you said. I wasn't much help finding them.”

“I can see...that,” I whispered. My breath hitched as his index finger drew feather soft circles around my nipple. “And before I could protest, you did that thing with your tongue...”

I moaned as he increased the pressure, and my body hummed under his touch. He played me like a familiar instrument. He read every groan and sigh perfectly. He was the perfect lover, not because he knew my body, but because he knew my mind...and he had my heart.

I tried to push myself against his leg, but he moved away. “You haven't let me finish the story. It's getting quite interesting.”

I couldn't seem to catch my breath, so I whispered, “I think I can figure out the rest if you'd like to skip to the end.”

He laughed and laid his head against my chest, listening to my heart. He did that sometimes. I asked him once what was so fascinating about the sound of my heartbeat, and he said that it made him feel whole. As long as my heart beat, he had said, he knew that nothing else mattered.

After we both calmed down, he rose up above me, but I pulled him down. “Nah, ah, ah, Mrs. Smith. Besides, you've used up your third five minute-pass, and we need to get going.” He kissed my forehead before rolling over and pushing things around, looking for his boxer shorts. I could see he'd been affected more than he let on by our morning conversation.

“Lee,” I whined, ever so slightly, “don't you want me to, ah, help you with that?”

I ran my fingers down his spine, and around his hipbone until I had him firmly in my hand. He grunted and his hips involuntarily thrust into my palm. I could see his shoulders shaking with a chuckle. He squirmed out of my enticing grip and quickly whipped his boxers up his body.

He looked down at the tent. “Down, boy!” he said, with a slight British accent.

I laughed and he blushed.

I showered and changed into my robe while he made a pot of coffee. After I was out, he jumped in to rinse. I laid out the sports section of the paper for him so that he could check on his fantasy league points. After chugging my glass of chocolate milk, I headed to the bedroom to get dressed. We needed to get to the public library for story time.

About four months ago, he had urged me to sign up as a reader. At the time, it had been three months since I'd miscarried and not a day had gone by that I didn't think about what we'd lost...what I'd lost. I wasn't leaving the house, wasn't talking much to my mom, and I'd go to bed earlier than he would just so he didn't have to see me cry myself to sleep. Later on, he told me that he had heard me every night.

So, when a buddy of his at work said that he took his daughter to the library every Saturday morning for story time, he did some research. He found out that the were always looking for volunteers to read, and even needed someone on a permanent basis. I was angry, at first, and accused him of trying to hurt me more. What did he think, that if I went and read to a bunch of children that I'd forget out losing our child?

He'd pleaded with me to give it a try. He broke down in tears and told me how he grieved for our baby. He said that he felt like it was his fault. I was shocked as he told me how he'd already bought a frame for his desk so that he could have the latest ultrasound picture on display for everyone to see. We both grieved together that day instead of separately, in silent.

After a lot more talking, I agreed to try the reading. The first time, we went about an hour early, just in case I needed some time to get my bearings...which I did. I hadn't even gotten down the hall before the laughter and yells of children made me tear up. He'd held my hand the whole way.

It got easier, and now it was our Saturday ritual.

“So, what did you choose for today?” he asked, stepping into the bedroom while he tugged on his t-shirt.

“I thought maybe I'd start a series on 'Peter Pan',” I said. “I'll need to ask Louise if that's okay to do a series. I did pick up the Walt Disney book in case it wasn't okay. It's shorter.”

He walked behind me as I was trying to get my short hairs into the rubber band. He laughed at the look of frustration on my face. Sticking his hand out, he motioned for me to give him the brush. I handed it over, and he proceeded to smoothly gather all my whispies until I had a perfect ponytail.

My eyes misted as I pictured him putting our daughter's hair up. I could see him helping her choose a bow or pinning small barrettes on each side of her pigtails. I laid my hand over his and he stopped.

“You'll be a great dad,” I said, pouring every ounce of love I had into the statement

He smiled widely and kissed my cheek. “And you'll be an excellent mother, Anna.”

I wiped the tear away and went about the task of finding my Nike's.

Soon, we were walking up the large, stone stairs of the library.

“Ready?” he asked.

“Always.” I grabbed his hand in mine and we walked in, together.

Blog admin admission: copy/paste error lead to dropping the first line of this piece. My apologies.