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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

 

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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: 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.

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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.”

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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?

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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!