Chesh: The Untold Story and Why Disney Thinks I’m a Villain 

I’ve got a very special guest post today brought to you by a random Facebook conversation and a classy group of bloggers. You’re welcome. I think.

Greetings. You may know me as Chesh or The Cheshire Cat. Recently, I’ve been seen consorting with a slew of Disney villains in the Monopoly world, and honestly, I’d like to speak on my behalf.

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It’s hard to fit in with this Disney world. There’s not a lot of room for the morally gray. You’re either a princess or a villain. There’s very little in-between. Even Alice gets honorary princess status among those other hoity toity teens.

I liked Alice. She was silly and irresponsible. It was especially fun to play with her in the presence of the Red Queen. But now, she’s a princess (of sorts), and I’m a villain.

Villain. HA!

I’ll admit it. I’m a trickster. A prankster, at best. I’ve never done much wrong. Nobody’s perfect. And yes, I am quite mad. But I’m not angry. Or even crazy. And most certainly not a villain.

I’m just tricky. I like to have a little fun every now and then. Sure, I’ve got a cynical side, but doesn’t everyone?

A few years back, I tried hanging out with The Sinister Cat Club, but they didn’t like my style. Those Siamese cats couldn’t handle my disappearing act. It was quite amusing, really. One would see my tail and the other would see my grin…they’d each pounce and *poof* they’d be pouncing on each other without even noticing that I was laughing on the other side of the room.

So I went to find Alice. She was having her nails done with Jasmine. I thought this would the perfect opportunity to acquaint myself with Rajah and Dinah. Rajah was alright, albeit a little whiny, but Dinah was insufferable.

Luckily, that little monkey with the hat (his name escapes me) was there to make me laugh. Until I stole his little hat. Then, some genie came after me with little regard for my disassembled body. He grabbed my tail, eyes and grin and tossed me out of the salon so fast, I didn’t even know what was happening.

So I don’t fit with the villains. And I don’t fit in with the princesses. I decided to come to the real world and hang out with some real life bloggers, instead. That Quirky Chrissy and Words for Worms Katie are the bee’s knees, in my book. Who needs Disney, anyway?

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Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Fiction Friday: Lost

The cup of coffee crashed to the ground with a shatter and a splash. She had done it again.  She looked around to see if anyone else had noticed, forgetting that the only other soul in the tiny apartment was her cat. She stared at the broken ceramic pieces that spanned from one end of the galley kitchen to the other, spraying out onto the living room carpet. She held her left hand close to her body, caressing it with her right, as if it would help.

Tears glided gently down her cheeks like the dew on an autumn leaf as she took in this morning’s damage. The last bit of coffee in her barren cabinets was now forming small brown puddles on her kitchen floor. Ben’s favorite coffee mug broken into a thousand tiny pieces, crumbs of colorful ceramic. Her left palm swollen and red from the burn, her fingertips blistering, as her right hand moved to clutch her wrist, isolating the pain from the rest of her body.

As if it would help.

In slow motion she reached into the fridge for a half bag of open corn from the freezer, hoping to cool the burning sensation in her palm. Her heart started racing. He mind dulled. She wanted the pain to disappear. She shuffled out of the kitchen, ignoring the debris on the floor, and sat down on her couch, corn spilling out into the cushion to her right. She looked at her hand. What had she been thinking?

Ben used to make her coffee in the morning.  They had one of those 12 cup pots that made mass quantities of liquid caffeine for the two of them. In any given day, they’d brew at least 2 pots. These days, Karen was lucky to heat one cup of instant coffee in the microwave. And now she was also out of coffee. She knew that there was a crack in the ceramic. But she couldn’t get rid of his mug.

The phone rang and Karen glared at it like an enemy crossing into her territory. In her mind, she kept willing it to hush itself, and in the end, she won. Her mother. Probably. Or her sister. The two of them tried to keep tabs on Karen. But it wasn’t easy. She never answered the phone, and avoided unlocking the door to her apartment on most days.

She wasn’t always like this, though.

Karen used to be bright and shiny. She used to smile. She would drop a scalding hot cup of coffee and clean it up immediately. Her cabinets were full of tasty treats and snacks for surprise guests. Her fridge stocked fresh fruits and vegetables. She did things. She did something. But over the course of time, things drooped. It didn’t happen over night. It was a gradual thing. A gray sky here, a few tears there. No big deal. Until it was a big deal. 

And she didn’t even know it was happening. 

Ben used to try to help. He offered a shoulder to cry on. He made her coffee. He brought her food, even when she wasn’t hungry. He hovered. And she didn’t mind. Because she knew he cared.

Karen looked down at her hand again. The blisters were red and raw. Only a few kernels of corn remained in the bag. Her hand was throbbing, though she wasn’t sure whether it was from the cold of the corn of the sting of the blisters. She dragged herself up and off the couch, walking blindly to the bathroom. She turned on the dimmed light and saw a lipstick note in big red script.

“Depression Lies. Depression Lies. Depression Lies.”

Karen closed her eyes. She squeezed them as tight as she could. And when she reopened them, she screamed as loud as she could, “THEN WHY DO I BELIEVE?!”

Why do I believe that nothing will get better? Why do I believe that I’m alone? Forever? Why do I believe that there’s nothing left? Why do I feel so lost?

And then she cried again.

This post is a part of Fiction Friday Friends and if you’re looking for more fiction, go visit these talented writers!

Fiction Friday June

 

Blog friends, have you ever struggled with depression?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Me, Myself, and the Bouquet

Dear Lyssa of Psychobabble,

Recently, you announced your online wedding to Shirtless Ryan Gosling (henceforth in this post and future posts as SRG). I am so utterly happy for you that I can’t begin to find the right words.

Of course, I was also incredibly disappointed that as your future sister-in-law in the Shirtless family, I wasn’t automatically invited to be a bridesmaid. Even moreso, I was very sad to discover that I was going to have to DUKE IT OUT to catch the bouquet. This is emotionally difficult for me, since…well…you know how I feel about my imaginary  internet boyfriend Shirtless Jesse Metcalfe and what catching the bouquet would mean to me us.

Shirtless Jesse Metcalfe Photoshopped

Aren’t we a cute couple?

And so, I’ve compiled this photo blog post for you, Lyssa…to make the right decision.

Because I have bouquet toss HISTORY. I mean…the first time I caught the bouquet, the bride’s sister was all whine whine whine “IIIIII wanted to catch my sister’s bouquet” so I was all wine wine wine, “FINE.”

After that, catching the bouquet was a competition. One I was determined to win. At least, in the weddings I stood up in. And one or two others…

The first two weddings were competitions with Katie (who I beat out both times and she STILL got married before me…)

Bouquet Toss Wedding

Katie and I were both vying for this bouquet, since we both gave the MOH speech.

Bouquet toss drama

I wish I had the awesome picture, BROOKE, that really went with this wedding. I was airborn and vicious and victorious all at the same time…Again, Katie and I were both hoping for a piece of the action. I think it’s because I’m bigger than her that I always win…

funny bridesmaid photos

I make an excellent and FUN bridesmaid…I’ll get you liquored up and make you take funny photos…BEFORE the reception. This bride had a married bridesmaid directing her where to throw the bouquet (where I was standing) because I may or may not have threatened physical harm…

bouquet drama

This was when Katie got married. She practically handed me the bouquet. It probably didn’t help that my ex-boyfriend’s fiance was standing right next to me…

Bouquet Toss Drama

Her bouquet broke into 3 pieces when it flew…She didn’t want me hurting her niece who got to be the flower girl, even though Katie wanted that job since before flower girl was BORN…

Bouquet toss

At her bachelorette party, I told her I was vicious and should probably catch her bouquet…I’m sure it helped that I was one of 2 of our friends still unmarried…hopefully Shirtless Jesse Metcalfe will fix that after YOUR wedding, Lyssa…

Bouquet Toss Winner Halloween Costume

A few years ago, I went as the bouquet toss winner for Halloween. You’ll note the crutches (Yes, crutches AND high heels, all for the sake of Halloween, LYSSA), the bruising, the scratches on my arms…the fake nails glued into the dress…the bloody nose…you can’t see the ripped out earring with blood on the other ear…the ripped to shreds bridesmaid dress. Yep. All me. All true. Make it happen again.

Dear Blog Friends,

Please tell Lyssa that you think I should be her bouquet toss winner. Because it’s not about what winning the bouquet MEANS. It’s about taking out the competition.

Thank you for your time. I know that SRG and you will be very happy together. But happier still if I’m there. Shirtless Jesse Metcalfe and I hope you make the right decision.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Fiction Friday: Just Coffee

Greetings Blog Friends! I’ve got a lot to tell you about meeting The Bloggess…but you’ll have to wait until next week, because today is Fiction Friday! Enjoy!

Oh right…if you’re new…you can catch up here:

  1. Broken
  2. The Failure
  3. The Letters
  4. The Rock
  5. Wandering Thoughts

Just Coffee

Coffee. It’s just coffee. Jack kept repeating this to himself, as he nervously stepped into the coffee shop. Coffee. 20 minutes. You don’t have to be here. You’re in control. It’s just coffee.

Jack peered around the cafe, looking for her. Scanning the whole of the place, he finally spotted her sipping a cup of something in the corner. Her hair was shorter now, her facial features more defined. Melanie Jane McDaniels. All grown up. Her feet tucked under her body, she shifted uneasily in the chair as she recognized him. She stood, and he could see the swell of her unborn child. Jack shuffled his way to her, his heart racing, palms sweating, head pounding…anxiety. Coffee. It’s just coffee.

They stared at each other for what seemed like eternity. Coffee, dumbass. Go get coffee. Wait. Say hi first.

“Hi.” Dammit. She beat me to it.

“Hi.” He leaned into her…not sure whether hugging her was appropriate. She stepped awkwardly toward him, into the hug. They both wrapped their arms upward, knocking into each other, before settling into a strangely comfortable hug. And just like that, the tension disappeared. The hug became more natural. Melanie melted into Jack. He closed his eyes and remembered, breathing in her scent.

“I missed you, Jack.”

“I’m…going to go grab coffee. I’ll be right back.” He pulled away from her. Get it under control. Coffee. I need coffee.

He returned to the nook she was sitting in, two couches perpendicular to each other. He sat down on the empty couch. She was curled into the corner facing him

“Jack, I’m so sorry. For everything. I know that I can’t go back and change things…but I truly missed you. For so long. It’s been…crazy.”

“I’m married.” He blurted out. Like she didn’t already know.

“I know. I’m so happy for you. Tell me about her.” Melanie was shaking. He could see it when she held the cup to her lips. It was wavering uncontrollably.

“She’s amazing, Mel. She’s a breath of fresh air. She’s everything. Her name is Claire. She… She’s beautiful. A doctor. A pediatrician, actually. She’s so smart, Mel. I could listen to her talk about new technologies and science for days.”

Melanie smiled, “She sounds wonderful. I’d love to meet her.”

“You should.”

“So you’re a doctor, too?”

“A nurse, actually. When Mom got sick, her nurses interacted with her so much more than the doctors. I admired them. Their patience. Their kindness. They knew the whole family, and made sure that we knew what was going. There was this one nurse, the only male nurse in the bunch, and he always made me laugh. It was like it was his job or something to make me smile.

One day, I asked him why he became a nurse and not a doctor. He told me that it was the path he was meant to take. And I knew that it was the path I was meant to take, too. If that makes sense.”

“Perfectly.”

“What about you? I mean, I’ve been rambling about my life…I haven’t really heard anything about your life.”

“I got into restaurant management. I love it. I love my staff and the food. Oh, God, Jack the food is amazing. My chef is a culinary genius. You should come visit sometime. With Claire. The city is beautiful in the fall…I’d really like that, actually.”

“That would be…nice.”

The conversation seemed easier than he thought it would be…but the elephant in the room was staring right at them. Should I mention it? How would I bring it up? Should I…? No.

It’s just coffee.

**********************************************************************************

Fearless Fiction Femmes Fatales

That’s all for this week! If you’re jonesin’ for more fiction, check out my companions in the Fearless Fiction Femmes Fatales. Some have written fiction today, and others have not, but they are all excellent writers, so check them out!

The Fiction Prompt

Our metaphorical spring is coming ever closer although things / conditions are still mostly dormant. The theme this week is: Recovery. The “ice” has thawed a bit, revealing your character’s recovery of a memory; or s/he has recovered (this is not sought, it just appears, like a plant poking through the hard, cold earth) something that was once lost; or experiences an old habit in a new way? Better? Good? You decide. Oh: mostly dialogue.
 

Today’s Blog Post is Dedicated to…

Molly Field of Grass Oil

Lily digitally introduced me to Molly and soon after, I joined her crew of Fearless Fiction Femmes Fatales. Not only is Molly an incredibly talented blogger, writer, and creative, she’s a wonderfully inspiring human being. She gave up Facebook and Twitter for Lent (don’t worry, I informed her that Sundays don’t count in Lent, so she can check in for Fiction Friday updates on Sundays.) She’s documenting the journey on her blog, and she’s just overall awesome. So go visit Molly.

Tell me Blog Friends, What do you want to see happening with Jack and Mel?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Fiction Friday: Wandering Thoughts

I apologize profusely for skipping out on Fiction last week. Things were a little on the crazy side, so I thought something fun and lighthearted would be appreciated in the spirit of creative writing.

In case you don’t remember, I’ve been writing fiction since January, with the Fearless Fiction Femmes Fatales, and each week, we’re given a prompt. The last two pieces I wrote were for Project Fairy Tale, and so they were two parts of my own Rumpelstiltskin story. Prior to that, I had been weaving a web of drama with Jack and Mel and Claire. These are short blurbs of fiction, so if you’d like to catch up, I’ve listed the pieces below.

  1. Broken
  2. The Failure
  3. The Letters
  4. The Rock

Wandering Thoughts

Giddy. That was the only way that she could describe her feelings when she was around him.  At first. Ben was a breath of fresh air after a long hot drought. He was smart, funny, and incredibly gorgeous. Mel could barely remember how it started. She just knew that she was glad it had. Their relationship had progressed rapidly. After a series of non-dates, they became inseparable. She knew that this was it. He was the guy.

They weren’t living together, but he spent 5-6 nights a week in her apartment on Lake Avenue. He had certainly marked his territory. She looked around the bedroom, noting some of his clothes hanging in her closet, his toothbrush peeking on the sink peeking out the bathroom door, his guitar on the chaise by the window, and finally landed her gaze on him, asleep in her bed. Yep, he’s definitely made his mark. She leaned down and kissed his sleeping forehead. I think he loves me.

**********************************************************************************

Mel sat in her living room, waiting for Ben. He had said he was closing his restaurant, but he would stop by to see her after. At midnight, she started to get that panicky feeling. Why hasn’t he called? The restaurant closed at 10. He should be here by now. She glared at the clock as the minutes ticked by. The background noise of the TV could not distract her from the wandering thoughts.

He used to bring me flowers. He used to compliment me and tell me I was beautiful. We used to go out… He used to call me when he would be just a few minutes late. Now he’s…

She started to think about it and scolded herself internally, You’re beyond that part of a relationship, MEL. This is what happens. It’s not as magical. It’s life. Life’s not a fucking fairy tale. He’ll bring you flowers for special occasions, just not to “woo” you. He’s already got you. You’re his.

Right. Right. She tried to agree with herself, but she just kept wondering, what if he wants to leave me? What if he’s cheating on me? What if something happens?

MELANIE JANE MCDANIELS. She screamed at the thoughts deep in her mind. Relax. You always over-analyze EVERYTHING. It’s because you love him. You’re afraid that if you love him, he’ll leave you. RE-fucking-LAX. Do you want to live alone for the rest of your life? No friends. No love. Completely alone? Maybe a few cats? Just go with it.

Mel texted him, asking what his ETA was. 20 minutes later, he responded, “I’m on my way, Cupcake.” Her heart lifted. She knew it was silly, but she loved that he called her, Cupcake. The way it rolled off his tongue made her melt, and even though it was a text, Mel could hear the sound of it in her mind. She stared at the phone, then at the clock, then the door. He’ll be here. He loves me too. It’ll be great.

**********************************************************************************

I don’t want to be alone. I don’t want to start over. I love him. I love Ben. I do. And he loves me. Mel’s thoughts were starting to sound less and less convincing, even to herself. He loves me. I’ll never find someone else who loves me like Ben does.

The internal argument began again, But does he really love you? You work a few blocks away from each other. You live in the same city. And yet, you only see him a couple nights a week?

We’re both busy. We have restaurants to run. He texts me. He calls me. We talk.

Yeah, for like 5 minutes.

“Stop it!” She found herself yelling out loud, her assistant manager staring at her blankly. Suddenly, she was back at work, cell phone in hand, staring at it.

“You okay, boss?”

“I’m fine, Jessica. Sorry, I didn’t mean to yell at you. I just mean…um…stop…um…”

Jessica looked at her strangely. “Maybe you should go splash some cool water on your face. You look like you’re about to cry.” Jess was the closest thing she had to a friend here, other than Ben. But she was her employee…so Mel had trouble confiding in her.

“Thanks, I think I will.” Mel made her way to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. Black splotches under her reddened eyes. She barely recognized herself. She turned the faucet on and pushed the cool water into her face. Draining. Ben is draining me. Maybe I should…

No. Stop. He loves you. You love him. You do. Remember what dating was like? You’re never going to find someone like Ben. You understand him. He loves that about you. He’s handsome and smart. The other day, remember? Oh! What did he do? It was so funny. He makes you laugh. He makes you happy.

Yeah, when he’s around. If only he would just…call me. I just need to see him. That’s it. It’ll all be okay if I just see him. Maybe he’ll come over tonight. Jess is closing the restaurant, so I can go home…shower…get ready…maybe I’ll surprise him.

Keep telling yourself that. See where it gets you. Maybe you should go buy the first cat now. After drying her face, she looked at herself once more in the mirror. She put on a big fake smile, and walked out the bathroom door.

When she returned to the hostess stand, her phone vibrated. She pulled it out of her pocket and looked at the incoming text. “Sneak away with me for dinner, Cupcake?” A smile spread across her face. See, self, he still loves me.

**********************************************************************************

Fearless Fiction Femmes FatalesNow go on and check out my partners in crime, the Fearless Fiction Femmes Fatales. Some are writing fiction this week. Some are taking a break. But all are worth your time. Go visit their blogs! And PLEASE take a moment to visit DeBie Hive, because she’s posting about cutting her hair off for cancer. And as we all know, cancer sucks.

The Fiction Writing Prompt

Stuck in a Rut
March is green, but winter still comprises 2/3 of the month. Spring is not until the tail end. So this prompt ensures our character is stuck in a (metaphorical or literal, you decide) muddy rut: frozen in a place that despite all his/her inner urgings, s/he can’t move forward or look backward.
Why?

 

Shameless Plug: Please go and vote for the Bloggies (fancy People’s Choice Style Blog Awards)! I’m a finalist (Along with my blog friends, Katie from Words for Worms, Joules from Pocketful of Joules, and April from First Time Mom and Dad).

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

The Rock

This is a continuation of a fiction story. You can find the first parts here:

Broken

The Failure

The Letters

Those eyes. Those chocolate brown eyes. With gold flecks. And lashes that went on for days. He couldn’t help but think about those eyes seeing through him. Do they know? Can she read me like an open book? Does she know that I am not strong? What would she do if she knew. If those eyes could speak. The volumes they could write. She smiled at him. Her eyes lit up more brightly than the Florida sun. He didn’t think that her eyes could look any brighter…until he saw her smile. Her full, naturally pink lips extended from one blushing cheek to the next,  with a dimple on the left side (but somehow not the right). God, she’s beautiful.

“I love you.” The words came out as a whisper that hit him like a ton of bricks. He thought he was smiling, but he couldn’t be sure. His breath quickened. Did she just…does she expect me…? What do I do? Seconds seemed like hours. He almost said nothing…he wanted to say nothing. She didn’t look at him expectantly. She looked away, embarrassed, her cheeks emblazoned with bright red clouds. She hadn’t expected to say the words. He worried for her. But he wasn’t…he didn’t…know.

“I don’t know what love is.” Crap! That is the last thing I should have said to her. What the fuck was I thinking.He envisioned her walking away, out of his life forever.What the hell, Jack? Are you a moron? This girl just fucking said she loved you. This beautiful woman, who you’ve fooled into loving you…and you don’t know what love is? Jack chided himself for his error. In his effort to say something, it seemed he always said the wrong something.

She looked at him with sadness in her eyes, touched his cheek,  and responded, “Yes, you do. When you’re ready, you’ll tell me. I don’t expect you to say it. I don’twant you to say it now. If you said it now, the meaning would be lost. When you’re ready, you’ll know.” She pulled him into her, kissing him gently. He wrapped his arms around her and it was at that moment that he knew he loved Claire, but couldn’t say it. Not yet.


“Claire, I love you so much. Will you marry me?” It wasn’t an elaborate proposal by any stretch of the imagination. He didn’t take her on some fancy trip, or make some huge crazy gesture. It wasn’t one of those obnoxious public proposals that Claire silently judged people for. It was perfect. They were at home. Just the two of them. He didn’t even have a ring. He just did it. And she said yes. Of course, she said yes.

Claire started crying, and Jack wondered if it wasn’t the typical sort of engagement crying. It’s because I don’t have a ring. And I didn’t do anything particularly special. It just…came out…I’m so stupid! What was I thinking? I wasn’t thinking. That’s the trouble with you, Jackie, you don’t think. Claire deserves more than that. More than you.

“Claire, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to make you cry.”

“You sob didn’t.” She stared down, breathing heavily between sobs. The tears slid down her cheek, dripped onto her tee shirt, and left small wet splotches on the gray material.

“What’s wrong? Is it because of the ring?”

“Jack…sob I have to tell…you…something…” She looked so ashamed, her cheeks redder than he had ever seen. When she cried, his world stopped. He wanted to make everything better for her. What could she be so embarrassed about? We’ve been together for so long. We live together. What could be so bad? Jack pulled her into his arms, petting her hair. He hushed her with soothing sounds until she pulled away.

“I…oh, Jack…” Claire was clearly distraught. Jack wanted so much to make it better.

“Claire, it will be okay. Whatever it is. I’m here. We’re in this together. Is this about getting married? Do you want to get married?”

“More than anything. This…isn’t about sob getting married…I… I always dreamed… sob I always thought about marriage…and babies…and I want sob them with…you…Jack…I never…told you…” Jack’s mind began delving into worst possible scenarios. She’s pregnant. She’s sick. She’s dying. She’s got cancer…She’s got a secret child somewhere…

Claire could sense his panic, which only made her sobs louder and her words fewer and farther in between.  “Claire, whatever it is, we will get through this.”

She mustered all of the strength that she could to tell him. Her dark little secret. The one she’s always been so terrified to reveal.

“Jack, I will never be able to have babies. I’m an empty shell.” Afterwards she became inconsolable. Her tears swallowed her tee shirt whole. Jack held her for hours. He rocked her. He told her it would be okay. He was…surprised at his strength. This was the only time that Claire ever broke down as hard as she did. While she was usually HIS rock; today he could be hers. And he was.


This fiction series is inspired by the prompts created by Molly of Grass Oil. You can read the next part here:

Wandering Thoughts

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Fiction Friday: The Letters

I’m really having a lot of fun writing fiction, but I’m also super insecure about it, because it is quite new to me. Other than some creative writing classes almost a decade ago (in which I mostly wrote non-fiction stories from my life or silly sonnets about Chiclets and poems about my hatred for Snood and such), my experience in fiction is minimal. So if you read this…and like this…PLEASE tell me! 🙂 If you don’t like this…you can tell me that too. Just, you know…be nice about it. No one likes a Debbie Downer.

 The Letters

She waited patiently at the airport gate. Home. I’m going home. She hadn’t been home in years. She worked so hard to get here. The person she was as a teenager was long gone. The girl she was before Sam…Who? I don’t even remember her. He will. He’ll want me to be her. He’s married. Admitting them for the first time, even in her head, the words hit her like a ton of bricks.

She heard over the loud speakers, Boarding flight 1-9-2-5. Last call for boarding flight 1-9-2-5. Mel stood and walked toward the gate. Home.

She had written two letters last week. Two carefully penned letters. Two very different
letters to Jack.

Jack,

It’s been so long, I hardly know where to begin. I know that I left abruptly. I’m so sorry. I fucked up. I got into some trouble and I didn’t want you to know. I spent a year in a juvenile detention center for the stupidest thing I’ve ever done.

I graduated with honors, though, and went on to a community college. I worked so
hard, Jack. Just like you. Just like you always thought I would. You would have been so proud of me, I know it. After I got my associate’s degree, I found a really great job. I was working for a generous and patient guy, who taught me everything there is to know about restaurant management.

And then I fucked up again, Jack. My boss, Michael, was something of a player. He only hit on me once, and I told him that a better use of his time was to teach me the how to run a restaurant or seven. I thought of how proud you would be. He admired my aspirations and drive, so he never tried anything again. But he had a little brother…who learned from the master of players.

When Michael lost the manager of one of his restaurants, he gave me the position. I
trained officially with his brother, Ben. I think I fell in love, Jack. But Ben was bad news. I just…I didn’t know it then.

I’m sorry; I’ve gotten away with my thoughts. I’m coming home. I really want to see you, Jack. I miss you.

Mel

There was so much more that she could say. Jack, I’m trying so hard to make you proud of me. I didn’t want to come home until I was worthy of your pedestal. I’m pregnant with an asshole’s child. A lying, cheating asshole who wanted to pay me off to “get rid of it?” The same guy who got me fired from the only job I was ever really good at? I have nothing and no one, so now I need you? Help me. Jack, I want to be amazing, but the only thing I’m great at is fucking up?

But she did not. She could not. She would never even send the first letter. Let alone add more to it. How do I tell my best friend that I’m not even close to the girl that he thinks I am? I always wanted to be that girl. But I couldn’t. I’m not. That’s why I left. Maybe I shouldn’t go home. There’s nothing there but an empty house and a broken heart. NO. I have to go. I WANT to go. Maybe he’ll still be there. For me. I need a friend. Desperately. 

So she wrote a shorter letter. She wrote the words that she needed to write. She told him. That’s all she needed to say.

For now.

Jack,

There is so much that I want to tell you. I know that I’ve been gone for a long time, but I’m coming home.

I really want to see you, Jack. I miss you.

Mel

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The second is the letter that found its way to Jack. Three sentences. Three dangerous
sentences. Three.

She is coming home. Home. Jack paused for a minute before he could breathe again. Why now? He tried so hard to keep her out of his thoughts. But sometimes, he just couldn’t. She was there. And she would be home soon.

************************************************************************

The story continues with The Rock.

I hope you’re enjoying the story so far. Now, go visit my fiction writing friends, The Fearless Fiction Femmes:

The Fiction Writing Prompt

Invent a / your character (who) has two personality traits that are completely incompatible, that don’t fit together at all. For example: this character is incredibly messy and is also a total perfectionist. Or: this character is a pacifist and also has a really explosive temper. Or: this character believes in strict, traditional family values but is promiscuous by nature. You decide. Then think of a situation in which these two sides of your character would be in direct conflict with each other. Write the story.
Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Fiction Friday: The Failure

My second attempt at fiction. If you’d like to catch up first, you can read last week’s Fiction Friday: Broken. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

The Failure

Her parents had done a fantastic job of covering up the details. Her name wasn’t published in any newspapers.  The actual event wasn’t really even noticed. Everything happened so quickly, that she didn’t even know what was happening until it was all over.

Juvenile Detention Center.

She didn’t understand. So many other girls her age did much worse, and they barely got a slap on the wrist. But their parents aren’t like mine.

It was stupid. It was just a dare. When her parents first found out, they were furious. They had been called down to the police station at noon on a Tuesday afternoon. She had ditched school, but that wasn’t why she was stuck sitting at a desk across from Officer O’Connell.

She just wanted to impress Sam. He was a senior. He was gorgeous. Tall, with dark hair and eyes to match. She would have followed him anywhere. He dared her. She couldn’t say no. She walked up to him and wrapped her arms around him. As she kissed him on the cheek, she reached into his jeans and pulled out his pocket knife.
Before she could second guess her actions, she walked toward the ATM machine, where a young man was withdrawing money. He was small, in his early twenties. She knew that she could take him down if he put up a fight.
She stood behind him and reached for his free arm. “Don’t say a word,” She whispered. From far away, it looked as if she was hugging an old friend, but the man felt a searing pain through his arm, and the sharp tip of a weapon in his back. “You’re going to withdraw $50 from your account. Then you’re going to hand it to me. Not once are you going to turn around. When I’ve got the money, you’ll count to 50 and then you can go on doing whatever it is that you’re doing. Got it?”

$50 dollars. Fifty. Fucking. Dollars.

But it’s armed robbery. Because of the knife.

That stupid little piece of shit knife. I could blame Sam. But it wasn’t his idea to use a knife. He just dared me to go get $50 from that guy.

When she got back to the guys that afternoon, Sam was staring at her in awe. At first, she couldn’t tell if he was impressed or scared. They all ran to a nearby forest preserve, where they usually hung out on ditch days.
She handed Sam the knife, and he leaned down to kiss her. Not just a peck on the cheek, a real kiss.

Her first. She always thought Jack would be her first kiss. He was crazy about her. She knew it. She loved him, but she didn’t want to kiss him the way she wanted to kiss Sam. The way Sam kissed her that day by the ATM.

I won’t be kissing anyone for a while. Not Sam. Not Jack. Jack. Crap! How am I going to tell him? Whenever I ditched school, he brought me chicken soup. He thought I was sick. He’ll never understand. What will he think? No. He won’t know. I can’t tell him.

So she sat there, waiting for her parents. When they came, they were mortified.

“Melanie. Jane. McDaniels. What in God’s name were you fucking thinking? Are you crazy? ARMED FUCKING ROBBERY?!” Her mother had arrived.

“I…I don’t…I don’t know.” She started crying. Get your shit together, Mel. You need to be stronger than this. She stopped. “I’m sorry.”

“What the fuck, Melanie? What are we supposed to do? You know we can’t get you out of this. We can’t help you with this. You’re on your own.” Her mom didn’t mean it completely. She did everything she could to keep the press out of it. And she was good. But she didn’t try to push for community service like the other kids got. She sent me away. She let me go.

*************************************************************************************

Jack showed up at her house right before she left for River County.

“How did you know I’d be here?”

“Your mother called me. She told me that you were leaving. Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I couldn’t tell you, Jack. Look, I’ve got to go.” As she pushed past him, she could tell that he was about to cry. She didn’t want to see him cry. She might break down and tell him the truth. She used to tell him everything. But then they grew up. She found Sam and the guys.

“Where are you going? Tell me something, please. I’m so worried. First, you’re sick all the time. Then you stop hanging out with me. Now, you’re just leaving. Are you parents going? What’s going on, Mel?”

“I’m going to stay with a family friend. I need to get away from here for a while.”

“What about school? What about our plans? College? Mel, please don’t go. Was it me? Did I do something wrong?” Her heart was breaking for him. I don’t love you the way you love me. She wanted to tell him. But she didn’t want to hurt him.

“I…have…to…I have to go, Jack. I’m sorry. I’m really really sorry.”

*************************************************************************************

God, I was so stupid.

The memories flooded her brain as she began to write the letter. This is harder than I thought it would be. What do I even say?

*************************************************************************************

Find out what Mel was writing in the next piece, The Letters.

Now that you’ve read my fiction piece, you can find some truly amazing writers by checking out the rest of the Fearless Fiction Femmes:

The Fiction Writing Prompt

“Your character commits a crime. (What is the motive?) Your character’s husband/wife/SO, discovers your character changing, dealing with the evidence, and wants to know what’s going on. Write the conversation. What happens next?”
Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Fiction Friday: Broken

This was one of the hardest things I’ve done for my blog. After reading some of the beautifully created fiction pieces by some of my blogging buddies, I was inspired…and invited to join them in their Fiction Friday Challenge.

I’ve never been a good fiction writer. Real life? No problem. Make stuff up? WAY harder. I admire the people who can create whole worlds away from our own (Yes, even Stephanie Meyer has a place in my heart for taking vamps to their very own new level of her creation…)

So how does Fiction Friday work? Molly Field, the brainchild behind Fiction Friday, provided us with the same prompt on Wednesday night. Using the prompt, each of us has come up with our own interpretation and transformed it into fiction. I’ll post the prompt at the end of the post and link to my fellow fiction writers.

That being said, this is my first public work of fiction, so don’t be too harsh. (Also I had some formatting issues that I’m working on, but if the type is a little jacked, I promise I’m working on it!) Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Broken

He walked out of the room with purpose. The letter fluttered to the ground. Confusion, agony, hope, and memories flooded him like a tidal wave. Why now?

Mel had left him standing there. 15 years had gone by. Fifteen slow, long years. He wished that he could say he had forgotten her. But he hadn’t. Of course, he had moved on. He had to. He met Claire. He loved Claire. Claire was his wife. His love. His best friend. She was his everything. But before her was Mel. Melanie Jane McDaniels. His once best friend. The girl he thought he would love forever. The girl that ran away.

Down the stairs, out the door, and into the car, he calmly navigated himself through his daily motions. It was days like these that he wished he didn’t work the overnights. The long and painful shifts that seemed to drag for hours longer than they should have. The world was quiet at night. He needed sound. He needed energy. He needed to not be alone.

He got to work, his thoughts racing, and he went about his nightly routine. Where did she go all those years ago? Not a word. Not a letter. Not a phone call. Nothing. She just. Disappeared. Her image kept popping into his mind. The way her long brown hair fell past her shoulders in a tangled mess. Her blue-grey eyes gazing at him as they talked about life and their futures.  I loved her. She was my first love. For years, no woman could compare to Melanie. But then I met Claire. Claire. No one could ever understand me better than Claire. She loves me unconditionally. Her patience. Her kindness. Her determination. She’s strong. So much stronger than me.

Melanie was never strong. That’s why we were so great together. We understood each other. We braved the world together. But she couldn’t stay. She just. Left.

*************************************************************************************

The muffled tone had made its way into his dreams.  He awoke to the sound of his phone ringing. What time is it? 2? 4? What’s that noise? Oh. Right. Phone. He looked at the number… 542-611-3754.542-611-3754. 542-611-3754. I know that number. How do I know that number? 542-611-3754.

As he stared at the number he recognized from the days of landlines and memorized phone numbers, the ringing stopped suddenly. It’s her. Well, it was her, anyways . Immediately, he knew that he had to call her back. He looked at the clock. It was 11 AM. Can I handle this on 3 hours of sleep? As if on autopilot, his hands were already pushing the call back button.

“Hello?” a quiet feminine voice pushed through the speaker.

“Mel.”

“I need…help,” she whispered softly.

“Really? With what?” Out of nowhere, anger sparked in him. Anger from the lonely little boy she left in the dust. Anger from having to do it all alone. Without her. Having to finish high school. Having to go on to college. To get a job and start a life…All without her by his side.

“I’m going through something right now, and it would be nice to have someone to talk to. I miss you.” The words she spoke were the last that he expected from her.

“Are you fucking kidding me?”

“I just need a friend, Jack.”

“You disappeared. You left. You never said where you were going. You never called. You DIS-A-FUCKING-PEARED! And now you want help? You want a friend?” His voice echoed through the house he shared with Claire.

“Yes.”

“Is that it? Is that all you have to say? 15 years and you can’t even start with some semblance of a greeting. Just a request for help…you can’t even tell me what’s wrong?”

“You sound so angry. ”

“Yes. I’m angry. ”

“You never used to get angry. You were always such a sweetheart.” She sounded wistful, as if she was longing for the days past to return.

“Well, I get angry now. It’s been 15 years. Things have changed. I have changed. But you wouldn’t know that, because you weren’t there. You left, Mel.  You left. You. Not me.”

Jack heard Mel’s stifled tears through the phone. He knew that he had made her cry…and he was…glad. He felt. Better.

“Look, Mel. If you want to talk to me, you need to understand that you broke me. You changed me. I am the person that I am partially because of you. I’m not the same guy you left standing in your front yard. I’m not the same, dammit. I’m just…not. So, if I’m not rolling out the welcome mat, you’ve got to understand why. You hurt me all those years ago. That doesn’t just go away.”

“Jack…I’m…Just listen…I…” Melanie broke off into heavy sobs. “I’m so sorry Jack. I’m…so…sorry.”

“Melanie, why don’t you breath for a minute and just tell me your fucking problem.”

“I’m all alone, Jack.” she cried into the phone. “I’m all alone and I’m pregnant.”

*************************************************************************************

The Story Continues Here.

Now that you’ve read my fiction piece, you can find some truly amazing writers by checking out the rest of the Fiction Friday Challengers:

Oh! I promised you the prompt: Years later, the character’s first love shows up on his or her doorstep again. Both your character and his/her first love are surprised at how the other person has changed (How?) This encounter causes a disruption in your character’s life (How? What does your character do about it?) Write the story.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!