Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sydney_Alice Week 106: Dare to Dream

Sydney Alice

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Sydney Alice's Choice: Picture 2

Dare to Dream

When I was twelve, our favorite game to play at sleepovers was “Truth or Dare.” I always asked for truth, because I was afraid … of everything. Heights. Spiders. Tornadoes. The dark. You name it, and I was afraid of it.

I was afraid of the truth too, but at least that didn’t involve me actually having to do anything. It was a one-word answer, always.



And if I had to lie, so be it.

My phobias followed me to high school. I’d always been a decent student (I sucked at Algebra but excelled at English), and I’d always loved to write. I wasn’t afraid of pen and paper. I wasn’t afraid to pour my soul into a poem or short story. In that world, I could be anything. Do anything. Say anything.

I could be brave.

My senior-level Honors English class was full of future doctors and lawyers. Compared to theirs, my dreams for the future seemed mediocre. Teaching? Writing? Music? A combination of the three? My friends were going to colleges on the other side of the state, but I was content to attend our little community college right here in town.

I was afraid.

My English teacher had a banner on her wall. Her classroom was drab, just like all the others, but this one colorful banner hung proudly.

Dare to Dream

Instead of reading Macbeth, I would gaze at that banner and think about my childhood, wishing that, just once, I hadn’t been afraid to take the dare.

Then I realized I had my chance now.

I could dare to dream, couldn’t I? Daring to dream didn’t involve heights, spiders, or the dark.

I could dream with pen and paper, right?

So, that’s what I did.

Eventually, pen and paper were set aside for a computer, but I continued writing. I wrote fact and fiction. I wrote love and heartache. I wrote silly poems that made sense to no one. I wrote about a wizard with lightning on his forehead, and I wrote about a sparkly vampire and his immortal love for a mortal girl.

And now I’m writing my first novel.

Dare to dream.

You never know what might happen.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Lisamichele17 Week 106: Love, Actually


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lisamichele17's Choice: Picture 1

Love, Actually


The look on Edward's face when I asked him about moving to Portland was priceless. Even five months later, he still has a permanent grin upon his face when he sees me. The man continually loves me like no other.

As soon as the prom was over, he led me to his Land Cruiser. Our lovemaking has always been passionate and tender.

That night he lost all control. I have never seen him like that before.

Halfway to Jasper and Alice's house to pick up Alby, he pulled off to the side of the road, claiming he could not wait ravish me. And he did that, indeed.

The look on Jasper and Alice's faces when they saw us was a mixture of amusement and surprise.

When we got to his apartment, we took Alby for a walk around his neighborhood and then put her in his tiny back yard where she has a dog house.

When we were getting ready to go to sleep, Edward asked me about my apartment situation since I moved to Portland. I explained to him that I was able to secure a six-month lease at the same apartment complex as him. He was thrilled about that. I was so surprised that he didn't want us to move in together, but he explained that even though he is thrilled to have me living in Portland, it would have been too much to move in together right away.

I agreed with him, completely.

That night he showed me how excited he was that I was moving to Portland.

In fact, he showed me, three times.

The best thing is that Edward's lease is up in June. He has been wanting to have roots in Portland and really wants to buy a house. He has told me he wants to be closer to where Jasper and Alice live because Lily and Alby could also play together.

The plan we have in play is that when his lease runs out, he will move in with me and look for a house for us to live in. We both agree that it would be best for us to live together before we get married. I have to admit that marriage is not the most important thing to me. We both want happiness. Our love should always be outward, not inward. We don't want to forget our families and friends because we are together.

The best thing about me moving to Portland still keeps me close to my family in Forks and Seattle. His parents continue to live in Chicago but, we both have hope that they will eventually move closer to us. They are getting older in age and we both want them to be closer to us, so we can help out with things they might need.

We may be enticing them a little with the idea of being closer to their grandchildren, eventually.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day!

Americans far and wide celebrate Memorial Day today, remembering those whose sacrifice allow us the freedoms we enjoy every moment of our lives. Regardless of who is President, our country is protected by the brave men and women who put our safety and security above their own. Today, no prompt will be posted in memory of those who allowed us to write and create without fear.

Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA

Thank you.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Kimmydonn Week 105: Aflame


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Kimmydonn's Choice: Picture 1



The back of the car was a tight fit for both of us, especially as we tried to move around one another. His elbow was in my ribs, then my stomach, then my thigh. Each time stabbing. Each one was followed by a caress, either lips or fingers. Apologies flew on both sides as he lay on my hair, I kneed him in the groin, my foot caught his knee and he fell atop me. Eventually, we were both unclothed, panting, and we hadn’t even done anything serious.

“You need a bigger car,” I told him.

“Agreed. Too sore or uncomfortable to continue?” he asked. It had happened before. By the time we got as far as even heavy petting, we were both too exhausted to want to do anything more.

“No,” I said with a small smile. “We must be getting better at this.”

That made us both laugh. He was still flaccid against my thigh. Getting maneuvered like this, was not terribly arousing. I wasn’t ready either, but we knew how to take care of that. Reaching between us, I took him in my fingertips, gently touching. He gasped once and then moved his hand up the inside of my thigh, over my hip, up to my breast. He ducked his head to suck on my nipple as I twisted my hand to hold him.

We played like that until we were both eager for what came next. I felt like I was burning as he touched and teased and probed. He rubbed himself along my slit, making both of us wetter, both of us gasp.

“Ready?” he asked. I felt the tip of him pressing, ready to thrust in. This would be my first time. Was I ready?

“Yes,” I said in a whisper, holding onto his neck. I lifted my hips, trying to control the motion. It didn’t work. As soon as I moved, so did he and I tore open.

“Ah!” I screamed in pain.

“Oh, Donna. Donna, I’m sorry. Donna, are you okay? Fuck. This sucks.”

It took a few shallow breaths. “Just-just hold on,” I told him, clenching my eyes shut against the tears that flowed down my cheeks.

“Oh shit, don’t cry. I’m so sorry. What did I do?”

I chuckled. “Exactly what you were supposed to do.” He slipped out of me and I held and stroked him again. “Let’s just go back to this.”

He grit his teeth but didn’t argue. His fingers took the place of his shaft and I felt pleasure again instead of pain.

“Here I come, Donna.” I held him tight pointing him up. The white gel hit my belly and breasts, warm and wet. I sighed a little as it did; his pleasure was my pleasure.

Except it wasn’t. He doubled his efforts on me as I let him go. He used one hand to push me up a bit and shifted himself down, his face level with my navel.

“No, Ricky, you don’t-” I cut off as his mouth closed on me, making me tip my head back. “Oh, God.” I groaned. I felt fire in me, I felt burning in belly and below. The fire seemed to flare out of control, filling my vision, my ears, my nose.

The scene outside matched the one in. A great ball of orange fire consuming everything.

Friday, May 25, 2012

BronwynK Week 105: Ròs an Dùbhlachd

Bronwyn Keith

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Bronwyn’s Choice: Picture 1

Ròs an Dùbhlachd

A light layer of snow coated the barren ground. It was the first snow in six weeks. There was a hush over the land, as if nature held her breath. The cold December air caressed Aine’s cheek as she stood at the entrance of the cave, watching and listening.

Her sword was strapped to her hip. Her dirk was in her boot. The bow and arrows were attached to the saddle on her horse. She pulled the cloak over her shoulders, pulling the hood over head to hide her tell-tale red hair. If she wanted to arrive in Aberdeen that evening she would need to ride hard for the day, but first she needed to get herself and her horse to the valley.

Confident that it was safe to leave the cave, Aine led her horse along the narrow path back to the base of the hill. Not far from the hill would be the main road that went to Balmoral Castle. The ground was wet and muddy from the light snow as it melted. It wasn't going to be a warm day, but not cold enough to keep the snow on the ground.

As she picked her way over the rocks and tree roots, she thought about her brother. Ian was the reason she was so far from home. He needed to come home. Their father, Angus, Laird McDonnell, was ill. It was time for Ian to return from fostering with the Laird Gordon to take his place among the Clan. It was known that Angus was gravely ill. Two of the neighboring Clans made a bargain and joined forces to eliminate the McDonnells. But they wouldn't attack until Angus was in the ground and the clan was in chaos because of the lack of leadership. After months of sending men to retrieve Ian with no results, Aine crept out of the castle one night to get him herself. After sleeping mostly in the bracken and heather for three days, she was cold and tired. She was ready for a hot meal and a warm drink. She was only a day's ride from both of those and a warm bath.

Aine reached the bottom of the hill and mounted her horse. She pointed her mount toward the road. As they moved forward, she watched and listened for any sign that she wasn't the only human in those woods. Aine knew the stories of outlaws living in the woods and did her best to stay on guard. But she wasn't as helpless as many of the women in the stories. Angus made sure his only daughter knew how to use a sword and bow. He didn't want her dependent on a man to survive.

As she approached the road, Aine heard a branch snap. She silently slid off her horse, pulling her knife from her boot. Only large animals like deer and horses would make a branch snap that loud, and the deer rarely got so close to a human. She moved to her horse's head just as he raised his head and looked to his right. She followed his gaze and saw another horse and rider approach.

The cloaked figure stopped his horse and watched her with his piercing green eyes. Even with his cloak on she could tell he was broad across the shoulders like her father. He lifted a gloved hand and pushed back the hood of his cloak. His black hair was pulled back from his angular face. His jaw was covered in a few days growth. On most men it would have made them look unkempt, but it just added to this stranger’s masculinity.

“Lady Aine, I’m guessing?”

“Aye, and ye are?” She watched as he dismounted his horse. Under his cloak she saw that he wore the plaid of the Frasers. She knew instantly that he was sent by her father.

“I’m Malcolm.” He said with a slight bow of the head. “I’m here to escort ye to Balmoral Castle.”

“I dinna need an escort.”

"That may be so, but I swore an oath to Laird Angus. You will be delivered first to Balmoral safely than returned home with your brother."

Aine let out a frustrated sigh. She left a note for her father telling him not to worry about her.

"If ye insist on accompanying me, ye best keep up." She turned to her horse to mount but paused when she saw the flower. It was a beautiful rose covered in the morning snow and slightly sheltered by a large fern. Her mother always said the goddess Brigid would provide a sign that she met her mate. She never expected it to be so beautiful. Aine moved away from the rose and mounted her horse. Her mother will be happy to hear that Brigid made a good choice for her daughter. However, Aine wasn't convinced.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

MCGT Week 105: War Waged over Time


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MCGT's Choice: Picture 2

War Waged over Time

Flipping through the passage of time, I remembered what it felt like to be young, to be free from the cynical weight the world presses upon you as you age. How had I gotten here? Although I’d arrived at this place in my life, I had little recollection of the winding route that had brought me.

At which point did I become so lost? Where should I have taken the path that led deep into the wood, guiding me to a far different place than where I was now?

I yearned desperately to go back, to scrub my life of the last twenty years and begin adulthood all over again. To try things I’d been too afraid to try. To be the person I hid from others, so unsure of myself and how people might react if they knew who I really was, deep in my very core.

Yet life is an unforgiving master, never yielding or ceasing to press forward. I had no choice but to continue on, with a vow to better what I could, and release the regret of the past. Because no matter how I tried, regret would be a bitter reminder of what I’d given up to follow the fold. Dying my wool white, conforming to what was expected will always be a dark shadow in my eyes. Something that cannot be undone, only remedied if I was strong enough. Willing to give up anything and everything to be who I was meant to be, instead of the carbon copy of everyone else around me.

But talking about it and doing it were two very different things. Weighty and colossal decisions, not to be taken frivolously. Yet time would continue to tick ever on until I finally wrestled my last demon to the ground and taken what was rightfully mine all along.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Lisamichele17 Week 105: Prom for Teachers


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lisamichele17's Choice: Picture 1

Prom for Teachers


Before I even realized, it was April. Initially, the months that passed between me and Bella being together actually became easier. I longed to be nearer to her, but the weekends that we spent together was beyond worth the wait.

If possible, my four-year-old golden retriever, Alby, became even more attached to Bella than I was. Initially, I thought that was odd because before Bella, I dated. To make this very clear, I was never a man who slept around. The women whom I did date never really bonded with Alby.

Whenever Bella came to my place, Alby, would pounce on her. It was hard having Alby in this apartment. I really wanted to get a house in the Portland area. Every time I thought about getting house; I would have visions of Alby, Bella, and children. Bella and I talked about marriage. We both agreed it was something that we wanted, eventually. Truth be told, I wanted it all with her.

I was really lucky in a lot of aspects. When I was teaching, my best friend Jasper and his wife, Alice watched Alby for me. They have a house near Portland and its close enough that I can drop Alby off on my way to school. It was a perfect situation because they also have a golden retriever, Lily.

Tonight, I am at the Portland Art Museum for prom. It reminds me of what my prom was like, full of hijinks and pranks although I never got caught. It makes me think about what it would have been like to have known Bella during high school. I like to think that I would have noticed her anywhere. I loved how even in our pasts, without each other, seemed to have the same path. I have a strong belief in fate, and that is why we met when we met. It makes me wish that Bella could be here for this prom, but she had something urgent come up at work.

The museum is absolutely beautiful. When I was growing up in Chicago, my mom and I, would go to many museums. My favorite was the Museum of Contemporary Art. Maxfield Parrish is my favorite artist.

I find myself looking at Water Lilies by Monet, when I feel arms wrapping around my waist.

“Hi, handsome.”

I know that voice anywhere. I have no idea at how Bella somehow managed to surprise me, but she did. I turn around quickly, not only to touch her but also to see her.

My god, she is so damn beautiful.

She is wearing a short and sleeveless off white dress, that shows every inch of her long legs. I let my eyes wander up towards her face, lingering on her shoulders. When I make it to her eyes, I see her smile. I'm about ready to ask her how she could get into the museum and away from work, but then she surprises me even more.

“How would you feel if I moved to Portland?”

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Kimmydonn Week 104: Green Monster


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Kimmydonn's Choice: Both

Green Monster

Justin sat beside Lisa, leaning in to tell her, “I brushed, promise.”

Lisa snorted. She’d only met Justin the night before at the airport. She wouldn’t have noticed him at all except Ford recognized Justin’s guard, Darren. They’d only exchanged a handshake, but today, he’d be undressing and kissing her. The strangeness that was a shooting schedule.

“Lisa,” Mike called, light meter in hand and Jennifer, from makeup, beside him. “Set up?”

Lisa sighed and lay down on the sand. Two faces filled her vision as they hovered over her. Then they called Justin, who lounged on one arm, his elbow near her ear.

“Ready?” he asked, brown eyes soft, light shining off the skin of his bare back. He’d tossed his shirt before leaving the sidelines.

Lisa’s mind reviewed the scene, recalled her character and his. He was Donovan. She had thought he was gone for good, leaving her for a job and woman in Paris. He had come to surprise her. With all that in mind, she nodded and closed her eyes.

“Action!” the director shouted.

“Wake up, sleeping beauty.”

Blinking, she opened her eyes to find Donovan hovering over her head. “Good dream,” she said lazily, lifting her hands to cup his face.

“Not a dream,” he promised. “I’m here for you, Angela.” Angela shifted, but Donovan lowered himself, kissing her. “Really here.”


“Didn’t have you,” he explained.

“It had her,” Angela said, pouting.

“I don’t care about her. I’m here for you.”

Lisa shivered and fought losing Angela entirely. It was often difficult when she felt unfamiliar hands on her ribs and breast. The kiss was intrusive, too, until she got her hold on Angela and reached to run her fingers through his hair, to pull him closer, to allow her shirt to slide off. They continued to grope for a minute until the director cut the shot.

Lisa pulled her shirt back on and sat up for Jennifer to fix her hair and makeup for a second take. She leaned back on her elbow to face Justin.

“So, how was Paris?” she asked. He had been shooting there the week before.

“Beautiful as ever. You’ve been?”

“A few years ago, yeah.” She nodded.

“Lisa?” a familiar voice called. She sat up at Ford’s feet. He handed her a bottle of juice. She wasn’t sure because of the angle, but he seemed redder than usual.

“Excuse me, Justin,” she said, reaching a hand to Ford who pulled her to her feet. He was flushed. “Something wrong?” she asked.

“Maybe. You don’t mind if I take off ‘til the end of the shoot?”

Lisa was surprised. Ford had been staying around longer, through more of each shoot. She’d gotten the impression he enjoyed it.

“Sure. I’m fine. You sure everything is okay?” she asked, resting a hand on his arm in concern.

“Yeah. You’re...really believable.”

Lisa smirked. “You mean I’m not normally?”

Ford rolled his eyes. “Of course you are. You’re just not usually so physical.” He cast a dark glance at Justin, which Lisa followed. Her eyes widened in realization.

“Oh, Ford.” She grabbed both his arms.

“Lisa!” the director called.

“Just a minute,” she yelled back. “Ford, take some space, but I want to talk about this tonight.”

He stiffened, straightening. “Talk?”

Lisa let him go and turned back to Justin. “It should be a good conversation,” she told him, donning Angela again, eager to be reunited with Donovan.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Alby Mangroves Week 104: A Quiet Man

Alby Mangroves

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Alby Mangroves's Choice: Picture 1

A Quiet Man

There are days when Charlie hardly rubs two words together. The job is his life; it keeps him busy and needed—things he craves—but even a quiet man can yearn for some comfort.

He remembers the fiery love shared with Renee with nostalgic fondness for their youth, and he misses Bella something fierce, her serious, faraway eyes, her quiet presence.

Sue, though, she’s different.

He loves her gentle affection sweeping over him like a mild sea, smoothing rocks into pebbles.

Her hands are like an embrace around Charlie’s heart, steadfastly warm and golden brown. In those loyal hands, he finds himself.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

SydneyAlice Week 104: Dearly Beloved

Sydney Alice

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Sydney Alice's Choice: Picture 2

Dearly Beloved

She walks down the aisle, lovely in her flowing white dress and gorgeous smile. In her hands, she carries a bouquet of pink and yellow roses, perfect in their shape and color.

Perfect like her.

She’s glowing, as all brides do on their wedding day. The crowd murmurs in appreciation as she makes her way closer to the altar. Closer to her destination. Closer to her bridesmaids. Closer to the groomsmen.

Closer to me.

Closer to forever.

I watch, mesmerized, as her father lifts her veil. Her eyes catch mine, but it’s brief because he leans close, kissing her cheek and blocking my vision of her.

She’s the only girl I’ve ever loved.

With a smile as bright as the sun, she steps toward the man at my side and wraps her hand in his.

My brother’s hand.

They face the minister, and I force a smile while dying inside.

The hardest thing in life is to watch someone you love, love someone else.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

107_yroldvirgin Week 104: The Day I Fell


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107_yroldvirgin’'s Choice: Picture 2

The Day I Fell

The day I fell, it happened twice.

Once to the ground. And once for you.

We’d walked this road before, every single day for almost a year. Your house. My house. Half an acre and a million miles apart. The new boy who never spoke and never even looked my way. The new boy who sat in the back of the bus with his head down and eyes shut, miserable to be here.

I knew the feeling.

Both of us walking the same quarter mile beneath a grove of bent trees overhead. A canopy to cover us. Together. Apart. So alone within two feet of one another.

And then, as sure footed as I’d always been, my attention had been unfocused for just the briefest of moments, thinking of you and wondering what you were thinking of ... and I didn’t seen the divot. Hadn’t anticipated the ground as it rushed up to meet me, face first in the dust, those trees overhead still giving shade, rustling with a faint breeze while I’d burned red from the inside out.

You stopped. Turned and knelt, your eyes the brightest most heartbreaking blue up close. And you’d whispered my name, asking if I was all right. Hand to my head, brushing dirty locks of hair from an even dirtier face.

You helped me to my feet. Brushed off my backpack. Walked me the rest of the way home and stood off to the side of my mailbox as I climbed the three steps to my front door. Making sure I was okay and that I had my keys and got inside safely.

Yes, that was the day I fell. The day you spoke my name. Like I existed. Like you were waiting for an excuse to say it out loud.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Lisamichele17 Week 104: A Tale of Two Cities


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lisamichele17's Choice: Picture 1

A Tale of Two Cities


Bella and I truly did talk about how our relationship was going to work with her being in Seattle and me being in Portland. It was rational, and I showed her with own body that we could make this work. My god, that last night, we spent together lingers in my mind.

Her face.

Her sounds.

How receptive she was to my touch.

One month of being back in Portland my mind was not rational. I missed her. The way we were together. In three days, it would be the weekend.

Three long days.

I cannot tell you how many times I found myself in my shower and thinking about her. Laying in bed, thinking about her. Talking to her, wanting to be nearer to her.

I spent my days working on the curriculum for the upcoming year. I cannot tell you how many times I thought to myself. Screw this. Get a job in Seattle, so I could be closer to Bella, but I also knew that I had a responsibility, that I promised that I would be back this year.

I never thought of asking Bella to move to Portland. It was too soon. She's so close to her family, and I never could think of myself as the bad guy to take her away from them.

Every time we talked, I found myself falling in love with her more and more. I love her mind even more than her body. She's smart. She's beautiful on the inside and out. She gives her love freely, and I am the luckiest man in the world to be with her.

This Friday, I’ll take the Amtrak from Portland. She insisted with the train because the commute coming and going to Seattle on a Friday was hellish. Plus, she loved being able to meet me at the train station in Seattle when I got there. I could not tell her no, and every reunion with her was full of passion and love. We would spend our days and nights together. I met her friends. Her family. I never stressed that I would get along with them. I had nothing to hide.

The love I had for Bella was obvious.

Happy Anniversary PPWC!!!

This week marks the two year anniversary of the PPWC blog, started by Nostalgicmiss. While she is not an active participate on the blog anymore, this is still her baby and we wouldn't be here without her. To help commemorate the anniversary, we will have a special interview and prompt written by her this week.

Thank you everyone for reading faithfully each week and allowing us to share our creativity with you.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Kimmydonn Week 103: Unloved


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Kimmydonn's Choice: Both



When they welcomed her into their house, it was with open arms. Even though Karen had a mother and father, neither were sober enough to care for her, so she was given to the Campbells for foster care. Although they had no children of their own, the Campbells quickly became poster parents, putting Karen in ballet class and gymnastics, starting her in kindergarten.

That was the fateful year, the point at which Karen realized she wasn’t a Campbell, she wasn’t their daughter and never could be. Just after she started school, under her own name of Smith, Rose Campbell became pregnant.

Her new parents tried to assure Karen, telling her she’d have a new brother or sister, but as soon as Isaac was born, Karen knew he wasn’t her brother. Watching her mother nurse the infant, she realized she wasn’t their daughter either. It had all been a lie.

Karen, being six, tried to win their love and attention back in the only ways she knew. She coloured pictures for her new brother on his walls. She tried to help with the dishes and dropped many to the floor. She lurked in her mother’s shadow, constantly asking questions and telling stories.

“Karen! Enough!” Rose shouted at her. “I’m busy with Isaac right now.”

“Don’t yell at her,” Mark Campbell told his wife, reaching out to take the baby. “I can feed him. Why don’t you have a cup of tea?”

“I don’t need a cup of tea. I need one less kid in this house.”

Karen choked and ran. Stopping only long enough to grab her teddy bear, Mr. Cuddles, she ran out of the house and down the street. The weather had been nice when she came home from school, but it was grey and drizzling now. Shivering, damp, and lost, Karen hugged her teddy bear while stumbling farther away from her home.

“There you are!” Screeching tires stopped beside her, spraying her with mist. Rough hands grabbed her and thrust her into the seat, her teddy falling to the ground at her feet. The car peeled away again, leaving Mr. Cuddles behind.

“No! Cuddles!” Karen cried, grabbing at the window.

“What?” Mark asked. “Are you okay?”

“Mr. Cuddles!” Karen wept for her lost stuffy.

“Oh, shit,” Mark muttered turning around. “Don’t cry, sweetie. It’s okay.”

“No, it’s not okay. You don’t love me anymore.”

Mark pulled over and jumped out of the car. The teddy was a bit mud splattered, but he handed it to Karen anyway, crouching beside her open door as the rain grew heavier.

“What did you mean I don’t love you?” Wiping away her tears, he kissed her forehead.

“I’m not your baby,” she wailed. “I’m not Isaac.”

Twisting awkwardly, Mark hugged her in the booster seat. “No, you’re not Isaac. You’re my little girl. My pretty little Karen.” He stroked her hair. “I know we’re only your foster parents, and your parents might come for you, but I hope they don’t. I hope if they do, you’ll still come and visit us.”

“Mom only loves Isaac,” she said, pouting.

“Mom’s very busy with Isaac. She’s also very tired. How would you like to spend the weekend with Grandma? You, me and Isaac. Give Mom a quiet day.”

Karen’s tears slowed and stopped. “Grandma?” she said with hope. Grandma loved her, didn’t she?

“Let’s go home.” Mark circled the car again while Karen hugged Mr. Cuddles tightly.

Rose snatched up Karen as soon as she came through the door held open by Mark. “Thank God,” she murmured, squeezing the tiny girl tightly. “I was so worried. I love you.”

Karen thought her heart would break out of her chest as it swelled. “I love you too, Mom.”

Thursday, May 10, 2012

MCGT Week 103: Summer Swell


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MCGT's Choice: Picture 1

Summer Swell

Digging my toes further into the hot sand, I bury them into the coolness beneath, allowing the grains to envelop them completely. Inhaling deeply, I let the salty scent of the ocean mixed with the coconut suntan oil fill my senses. It calms me, soothes me like nothing else.

Through the shimmering heat bouncing off the beach, I watch as you lithely run and jump onto your board, heading out for the break. The sun glimmers and reflects off the water, making you appear like a mirage in the desert from where I sit. The umbrella helps shield the sun’s baking rays off of my tender skin, permitting me to spend time doing one of my favorite things--watching you cut through the waves with a flick of your hips, guiding the surfboard as if it was an extension of your body.

I’ve been coming here every afternoon of the summer, knowing your routine and when you like to ride the waves. Here, the break works best at high tide, especially when a swell is coming in directly from the west. You live and breathe these waves and all I can do is sit and admire you from afar.

You don’t even know I exist, and why would you? I’m not your average Surf Betty or Wahine, sitting near where you toss your towel before hopping into the ocean. No, I sit further away, closer to where you will eventually drift with the current, just the shy girl under the umbrella with the one-piece suit on. I hold a book or magazine in front of my face, to give the illusion that I’m just enjoying the solitude of this stretch of sand, but no, my eyes, hidden by the oversized sunglasses I wear, tell the truth. They rarely leave your lanky build and the board shorts you wear that are always precariously close to falling off your hips.

I must have dozed off, because the sun sits low, hugging the coastline, spreading its warm orange glow across the beach. The surf is almost deserted aside from a few kids boogie boarding along the banks, just waiting for their parents to call them in as dusk approaches.

Sitting up, I’m about to pack up when I realize my magazine is sitting open, a pen holding the place I was supposedly reading. Picking it up, I notice a hastily written message in the corner of one of the pictures.

Shy Girl,
Meet me at Max’s around nine.
Stella says we might have some things in common.

I will kill her,
is my first thought. The second is, what the hell am I going to do now that my sex-god crush asked me to meet him at the local dive bar? Stella has been my best friend since grade school and is the only person on the planet who knows of my obsession with Kai, surfer extraordinaire. Unlike me, she has grace and a natural affinity for the water and actually knows how to ride the waves. I just sit on the beach, pretending to not be completely terrified about actually swimming in it.

Yes, I know, that’s odd for a southern California girl who grew up at the beach, but my mom says I got dragged out by a riptide when I was about ten and have refused to enter the water since. I don’t ever remember liking the ocean, so I have to take her word for it.

Picking up the remainder of my things, I wander back towards my beach shack apartment while dialing Stella’s number at the same time.

“I was wondering when you’d wake.”

Gritting my teeth, I snap, “How could you?” Exasperation filling my tone.

“Anna, relax. Kai’s totally chill. You’ll be fine. Besides, this way you’ll know if you actually like the guy or the fantasy. Put on something cute and I’ll be by at nine.”

She hangs up without another word, leaving me standing on the boardwalk, looking at my phone still perplexed about what’s just happened.

Your best friend is a dirty rotten traitor is what happened.

At exactly twenty past nine, Stella knocks on my door. That girl hasn’t been on time for anything, ever. Her mom teases her that she’d even been born fashionably late, three days after she was due.

Giving me the once over, Stella tugs my hair out of the ponytail I’d sloppily put up and fluffs it around my shoulders.

“Honestly, I don’t know why you hide all that hair. I’d give anything to have it.” Stella has a short pixie cut, bleached a pale blond from all her days of being in the surf and sun. Mine is a tangle of thick fiery red. It’s wavy and coarse and I never have any idea what to do with it other than pull it back out of my face. Of course the hair that Stella so often envies goes right along with the blinding white of my skin that comes along with my mom’s Irish heritage. Not exactly Southern California beach friendly, to say the least.

Giving me a last minute pep talk, we wander down the street into the center of town where Max’s tavern is located. Almost like a historical landmark in our sleepy oceanside town, Max’s has been around since the boom of the sixties surf revolution. The place is littered with vintage surf gear along with a wide range of Beach Boys memorabilia. It’s small, a little run down, but to many of the locals, it’s the only place in town to get an ice cold beer and a great burger for prices that don’t make your head spin.

Wandering in, the place is already packed. Music from The Offspring rings out too loudly for such a small place. My head turns to the right, almost like I have Kai-dar, and there he is, standing along the wall by the pool table, hanging with his usual crowd of guys. Panic wells up and the urge to flee before he spots me becomes my top priority.

Of course my only obstacle is Stella’s hand that’s firmly grasped around my wrist, dragging me along through the crowd towards the bar.

Tugging, I try to get her to let go, but she only glances back, frowning and clutches even tighter.

“Please, I can’t do this. Let me go home. You stay, have a good time,” I whisper-shout into her ear once we reach the bar.

Looking me right in the eye, she growls, “For Christ-sakes, put your big girl panties on and meet the poor guy. He’s really cool and down to earth and when I mentioned you his eyes lit up and he knew exactly who I was talking about. So please, can we end this obsession, once and for all and just talk to him. I promise, I’ll be right there, and we can go home after we finish two beers, okay?”

Two beers. I can do that, right? Besides, if the guy’s a jerk, then I can go back to actually reading on the beach instead of staring at his six pack all day.

“Fine, deal. But you can’t go wandering off and leaving me. You know I suck at chitchat.”

Patting my head, like she’s indulging a small child, she grins and orders us a pitcher of beer.

Shuffling along behind her, I follow Stella as she leads the way towards the pack of people standing with Kai. I can feel my hands sweating, my mouth going dry, and I’m still about ten feet away from him. Thankfully she’d poured me a glass before wandering off, allowing me to take a few gulps of liquid courage prior to setting off through the crowd. I pause again and take another long swallow, but I almost choke on it when I look up and see Mister tall, dark and handsome standing before me with a wry grin, and his hand extended.

“Anna?” he asks, taking my trembling hand and shaking it. “I’m Kai.”

Instead of replying, I only nod, my mouth open, eyes wide and probably looking like some kind of mental patient.

Shaking off my stupor, I mumble a quick hello, all the while trying to find Stella in the crowd.

“She wasn’t kidding. You really are shy,” he comments with a smile, as we both walk towards the rest of the group.

My cheeks burn with embarrassment, and I look towards the floor, wishing California would have one of those infamous earthquakes right at this moment and the ground will open up and swallow me whole.

When we reach the periphery of the group, he leads me over towards an uncrowded corner, tugging on my hand gently to get me to follow him.

Spinning my head around, I seek out Stella, but when I find her, she only smiles and nods in the direction Kai is taking me.

Bloody, no good friend, telling me she’d be there for moral support. Bah.

I stand in the corner, discovering that it’s quieter than the rest of the bar and I can actually hear Kai when he speaks. “Stella says you guys are going to be starting your senior year at UCSD. I am too. Oceanography at Scripps. What are you studying?”

Taking another long draw from my glass, I tentatively reply, “Um, I’m … I’m a Bio-Engineering major.” I stutter over my words, but he smiles encouragingly and takes over the conversation, inquiring about the various professors we might have shared.

“You had Professor Randall for History of the Modern Era? Really? I did too. What semester?” Kai asks, looking genuinely interested.

We’ve been talking for over an hour about our respective majors and what we are hoping to do with them when we graduate. I am surprised that Kai is planning on getting his PhD. Not that he isn’t smart, but he pleasantly shatters all my stereotypical images of the dumb surfer dude who has no aspirations aside from catching their next big wave.

He has the intelligence to go with his good looks and I keep wondering when his girlfriend will arrive and punch my lights out for talking to her man.

But it never happens. After my second beer, I’m not ready to go home, and by the knowing look on Stella’s face, she expected this outcome.

When the lights flicker, announcing last call, I can’t believe I’ve spent the entire night talking to only one person and that I’m not really ready for our conversation to end.

“Ah, I know it’s late, but did you want to maybe go grab a coffee at Java The Hut?” he asks, rubbing the back of his neck, and looking timid.

For the first time in a long time, I feel attractive and interesting and that not getting my usual eight hours of sleep won’t kill me for one night.

“Yeah, I’d like that.”

Grabbing my hand, we walk over to Stella, inviting her to come, which she thankfully declines, saying she’ll catch a ride with another friend of ours.

Walking out into the balmy night air, Kai leans down, to kiss my cheek and says, “I’m glad I finally had the chance to meet you, Shy Girl. I just wish it hadn’t taken us all summer.”

“It’s a good thing I’ll still be here in the Fall then, isn’t it?” I tease, getting lost in his deep brown eyes.

“Indeed it is.”

We stroll off into the night, in search for coffee and a possible future I never saw coming.

A/N - Thanks to Kimmydon for betaing this for me. Much appreciated.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

KekahJ Week 103: The Memory Box


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KekahJ's Choice: Picture 1

The Memory Box

I smile as I look down at the picture, memories washing over me in a flood. I remember the day that photo was taken as if it were yesterday. I remember thinking that nothing would ever change for us. He was my best friend and I was his. We spent all our free time together, we practically lived at each other’s houses.

I run my thumb over the picture and sigh. A thought occurs to me and I sit up suddenly, reaching for the old box full of forgotten photos and memorabilia. My heart skips a beat as I rummage around inside the box for a moment, groping blindly. Finally, my fingers close around it, and I smile again as I retrieve it from its long forgotten hiding spot. The carousel he gave me that day.

I remember it seeming much larger the last time I held it, but then again, it probably was much larger for the small hands that received it eagerly that day. It had been my birthday. My mom had thrown an elaborate party, and he’d been there. I remember thinking how odd it was when everyone had gathered around and watched me open presents that there’d been no brightly wrapped package from him. But he’d waited until after, until the party was over to give his gift to me. I’d been walking him home, and he’d left me waiting in the street while he dashed inside his house, returning a moment later, breathless and clutching the unwrapped carousel.

“This is for you,” he’d mumbled, thrusting it into my hands and blushing nervously.

I’d grinned at him and my child size heart had swelled.

He’d stared at me a moment longer before quickly leaning in and planting a quick kiss on my lips. Our first kiss.

I sit back on the bed, sighing as I turn the little ceramic carousel over in my hands, reflecting back on everything that had happened since that day. How terribly wrong things had gone. Big fat tears fall from my eyes and threaten to ruin the photograph.

If only we could have stayed that young and innocent. We could have avoided all of the mistakes and regrets that now plague me daily. I wonder where he is now, and whether he thinks of me like I think of him. I wonder if he still has his copy of this photograph. I like to think that he does and maybe somewhere, at sometime, he pulls it out, runs his thumb over it and smiles as he remembers me.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

KekahJ Week 103: You See Me

(Except today - because KekahJ's awesome, she's being featured today too!)

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KekahJ's Choice: Picture 2


You See Me

You see me. You see beneath my carefully crafted facade. You’re the only one who really sees me. Each day I perform a carefully constructed set of rituals designed to hide the real me from the outside world. When I’m finished, the product is passable, and I present a brave face to the world. But each day, when I come home to you, you patiently chip away at my shell until the real me stands before you. Soft and scared and vulnerable and absolutely terrified of being unlovable. And you take me and fold me into your arms and remind me that you love me more than I ever thought possible.

I don’t deserve you. I’m a study in imperfection. But somehow, you don’t seem to care. You see my blemishes and scars, both outside and in, and embrace them.

As hard as I’ve tried to push you away, you’re still here. You love me, and you fight for me, and you don’t put up with any of my bullshit. You see me. You love me for who I am.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Lisamichele17 Week 103: My Best Friends


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lisamichele17's Choice: Picture 2

My Best Friends

When I was sixteen years old, I moved to Forks to be closer to my dad, Charlie, and give my mom, Renee, some much-needed space to be a newlywed to Phil.

Forks was so different than Phoenix. I don't think I have ever seen more green in my entire life. In Phoenix, it was almost always dry and hot whereas in Forks there seemed to be varying amounts of cool and rain. It was something that wasn’t bad, but so different.

On the rare days that it didn't rain, my dad would drive us to La Push. That’s where I met Leah. Leah was different than any girl I could ever imagine. She had no boundaries. She always spoke her thoughts, and she had nothing to hide. If she was pissed, she was pissed. If she was happy, she was happy. It made me realize that the friendships I thought I had in Phoenix wasn't truly real. They weren't fake, but we never really delved into things we found important.

On meeting Leah, I realized that she would always be a true friend to me. Her friendship was based on things we could talk about. We didn't go to high school together, but we saw each other all the time. You would think that I would have lacked in not having too many friends at Forks High School, but I didn't.

On my first day, I met Angela. She was the photos and graphics editor for the school paper. She was constantly in the background taking pictures of the staff and students. You could barely see her because she was invariably taking pictures, too quiet and shy to try to attract attention to herself.

The first time I approached her, it was like pulling teeth to get her to open up. In time and patience, she finally let me in. By the time our senior year came around she was one of my closest friends. She would join Leah and I when we would go to Port Angeles together. We would do so many different things jointly. Leah loved to go to the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe art work. Angela loved to take pictures, so we would spend hours walking along the waterfront. Unfortunately, we didn't have our passports, so we couldn't go to Victoria yet.

I had a love of journalism, so I would often go to the offices of local newspapers and ask writers questions about their profession; what they loved and hated about it. I wanted to learn from them and from their opinions. After talking to them, I realized I wanted to go to college for journalism. My family supported my decision.

When I graduated from Forks High School as a valedictorian, I was so excited. My mom, dad, and Leah were all there for me. I had learned weeks before that I was offered a full ride scholarship to UW. The best news was that Leah and Angela were both moving to Seattle with me. We were getting an apartment together on the Avenue. Leah decided that she wanted to become an RN and was going to Seattle Central Community College to get her associate's degree first. Angela wanted to become a teacher and was going to school at Seattle University.

During my first two years at UW, I dated James. I met him at a party, and he got my attention rather quickly. He was confident. He was also the Quarterback for UW. I was drawn to him but there was something off about him. I didn't realize what was off until my sophomore year.

One night I went to James apartment, using the key he had given me earlier in the year. I caught him naked in bed with Riley, Angela's boyfriend. There could have been a lot of drama about it but there wasn't. Even though I did have sex with James, it wasn't earth shattering or anything. Later on that night, I was sitting in our apartment with cherry garcia ice cream in hand when I told Leah and Angela what I saw. Angela was shocked. Leah immediate response was to grab some vodka for us. We got beyond drunk.

At least, there wasn't any streaking around the quad.

That night we fell asleep in each others arms. It wasn't sexual at all. It was comforting to be surrounded by my best friends. When I woke up the next morning, I saw Leah looking at Angela while she was asleep. She was touching her cheek so lovingly. When Leah looked at me. I saw it all in her eyes. Leah was, in doubt, in love with Angela.

As I got up, I turned my hand toward Leah. We had to talk. In the other room, she told me that she always thought she was gay, but didn't feel like her family would accept her for it. She read horror stories about families’ reactions to that. Her feelings for Angela grew from friendship to something more over the past four years, but she feared that the friendship that we shared would change. I told her our friendship would change but it would grow to something more beautiful for her and Angela. I also told her that she had been so patient with Angela. That patience would work in her advantage. She knew now wasn't the time for her to pursue Angela like she wanted.

Over the next six months, Angela and Leah turned into something more.

Casual touches, lingering looks and smiles.

It didn't surprise me much when I came home one night that I saw them kissing.

Leah gave me a wink. Angela blushed.

It was beautiful watching them becoming more than friends. I was happy for them, and I wondered if I would have something like that. I didn't realize I was missing something until I met Edward.