Tag Archives: Romance

Friday Fiction – Sparks Fly

A brief intro this week – I think I may have mistaken the picture (courtesy of long-term fictioneer, fascinating writer and kind critiquer, Marie Gail Stratford) when viewing it on the small screen of the phone, but as Rochelle says, it’s what you see not what you look at. Enjoy! I welcome your feedback.

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Sparks Fly

In the early days, sparks flew – when they touched, even when he smiled – and she knew it was love. As the years went on, different sparks kindled a different temper – muddy boots on the carpet and that bulb in the bathroom he never changed.

Then an old flame flared out of the darkness and the fire blazed in her heart once more, but she couldn’t help feeling this was a fire that would burn and scar. So she turned from its brightness and whispered gentle breaths on the fading embers of marriage, praying sparks would burst again from the hearth.

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Friday Fiction – This Crazy Dream

OK, keep hold of your seats, I have managed to avoid families this week! Slightly later than normal to the Friday Fiction party, but here at last. As ever, I welcome your comments and critique, and thank you for taking to the time to read my stories. Our inspiration picture comes from Melanie Greenwood. All rights to it our hers; the writing is my own.

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This Crazy Dream

“I had this crazy dream last night,” Marcie said, trying not to watch the door. “There was a maze.”

“Uh-huh,” said Laura.

“And this goat said the winner of the maze would have whatever their heart desired.” Marcie relived the moment, swirling in fantasy, where Laura had pushed her into the mud and sprinted among the hedges.

“Who won?” asked Laura, hardly listening.

He walked in: Laura’s boyfriend, Steve. Marcie’s heart pounded as she relived another scene: he found her, lost among the topiary, and held her close, his lips on hers.

“Well, you reached the middle first,” Marcie whispered.

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Friday Fiction – Nothing Before Everything

My story for this week came in an unusual way and I can’t decide how I feel about. Please do be honest in your comments, I appreciate it even if it stings! And if you like it, that’s great too!

Rochelle hosts, long-term Fictioneer, Sandra Crook, whose writings I recommend highly to you, provides this week’s picture.

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Nothing Before Everything

“If you could time-travel, where would you go?”

“Or when?”

He laughed, sending tingles through me. “I guess.”

“Seventeenth century,” I said. “All those romantic Shakespeare scenes, being acted out for real, men wearing tights, and…”

“Less pollution too,” he said, kicking an old milk bottle.

“Maybe not,” I said, thinking a lack of rubbish collections might outweigh even our plastic culture. “Just different kinds.”

“What’s so great about men in tights, anyway?” he said.

My legs itched under uniform grey wool. “Nothing, but if I have to wear them, everyone should suffer along too.”

That’s when he kissed me.

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Fairytale Endings

Deciding on the ending to a story is one of my greatest writing challenges. I enjoy it, but I find it tough nevertheless.

Fairytale endings annoy me. Even putting aside the question of death, people just don’t live happily ever after, in my experience. You can marry the one you love, but there will be challenges and troubles, temptations and arguments down the line. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just life. You can find the person who killed your daughter, even find her alive and trapped in a cell, but there are going to be years of therapy, guilt and fear to go through afterwards. So even if it’s realistic for the characters to get together / solve the murder / etc, I don’t like it when the end of the book implies the end of the story.

But as often as not, happy endings aren’t realistic and are hideously predictable. As readers, yes, we want everything tied up nicely, but is it realistic that even the minor characters find true love / solve their problems / whatever at the same time as the major ones?

Of course, annihilation endings are pretty rare and also hard to get right, and leaving things open can seem to the reader like a cheat or a pitch for a sequel, both of which are annoying too.

In last week’s Friday Fiction, I wrote something that arguably wasn’t a story so much as a scene: A dentist, looks out of his window and sees a woman getting off the ferry every Thursday. He feels a connection, but never spoken to her. Many readers wanted him to run out and get the girl – you’re a bunch of romantics!

Unusually for me, the scene is based on a true story. I used to walk down a hill to work, and at least once a week, sometimes more, I’d pass this one guy walking up the hill.

I saw him so often, I felt a sort of connection with him. I never spoke to him, and I certainly had no dreams of a romance with him (I was happily coupled up), I just felt a little connection. Seeing him made me smile, not seeing or speaking to him didn’t make me sad, but I did sometimes wonder about saying hi, making that connection real.

The point is, this story has a happy ending (I’m happily married, in spite of the trials and tribulations we, like all people, endure), but it also has the same ending as the one I wrote.

As writers, we don’t want to leave our readers hanging and unsatisfied. It’s part of our contract that if they read to the end, we’ll clear up our messes and leave our affairs in order. But we shouldn’t be afraid to surprise them, to play about with the concept of the happy ending, and to admit that in life there’s more than one sort of happy and only one real end.

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Friday Fiction – Uphill Struggle

Friday Fiction is brought to us by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. This week’s photograph comes from Sandra Crook.

My story today (which has *Moderate Language Warning*) is below and as usual I’d love to hear what you think. I’m thick-skinned, so if there’s something you don’t like (or even nothing you do), never be afraid to say so. Thanks for reading!

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Uphill Struggle

Pushing through the fire escape, I felt like such a cliché. Face him, I told myself, Just say you’re not interested. But five disastrous dates this month, I’m done being polite. I’m done with dating. Can’t Mr Right just fall into my lap?

I texted Andy. Another one bites the dust. I know, Diary, you’re thinking: Will you just date Andy already? But you know I can’t. You know about Cyprus.

Soon I’ll be the only guy in London you haven’t rejected, the message came back. Then another: When that happens, I’ll propose 😉

Damn emoticons. Damn damn damn them.

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Friday Fiction – The Memory Sense

UPDATE:

This morning, I posted my story with a mea culpa and an admission of guilt at both hubris and exceeding the word limit. Now, I think I should add a different crime to the list – posting too early.

I have said it before – if it’s too long, it’s either the wrong story or you aren’t trying hard enough. The original version of this story was probably the latter. Some redrafting in the shower has given me the version immediately below the picture. 100 words exactly. The original (99 words with an overlong title) follows for the sake of posterity and to remind me to try harder next time!

Photo credit is Bjorn Brudberg’s, FF HQ is here.

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Sense Memory

If smell is memory’s sense, music belongs to the heart. Sweet figs in bacon and a Spanish guitar onstage carry me a thousand miles and three decades back, to a ranch beneath the Pyrenees and the unrepentant sun.

To a girl among men, determined to prove herself. To Alvino – the Andalusian colt who spent days clamped between aching thighs, my fingers lost in his mane. To Romeo – so well-named – whose hair, too, swallowed my hands.

I’m back there, enjoying a hot siesta; and the bar, the musician, the figs, and my husband are miles away in a future still unimagined.

****

ORIGINAL VERSION:

If smell is the memory sense, music is the sense of the heart.

Sweet figs and bacon from the kitchen and a Spanish guitar onstage carry me a thousand miles and three decades back, to the foothills of the Pyrenees.

My legs ache again from the saddle, my arms from the unrepentant sun. I remember Alvino – burying my fingers in his thick mane, his body strong between my thighs. And I remember Romeo. So well-named: born to woo. His hair, too, swallowed my hands.

I’m back there, at the end of a hot siesta; and the bar, the musician, the figs, and my husband are miles away in a future still unimagined.

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Inspiration Monday – A History In Scars

It’s so exciting to be writing again. I’m sure I should be doing a thousand other things, but it’s so nice to be writing. And to have such great prompts to write to – this one is from Bekindwrite’s Inspiration Monday series. After yesterday’s darkness, there’s a patch of light in today’s story. I’d love to hear what you think of it.

And while I’ve got your attention, here’s wishing you a fantastic Christmas, whether you celebrate it or not!

A History In Scars

Gerry traced a finger across Ellen’s stomach. Blue lines like tiger stripes coursed down her flesh, but it was the horizontal white one that caught his attention. The tiger stripes were slightly softer than the skin around them; this one was the opposite – a firmer ridge under his finger. He tried not to dwell on it.

He could stretch his hand out and cover the entire thing. That’s how small a newborn is. Small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. He loved kids; he’d love to raise some of his own with Ellen. And he had long since accepted that dating at his time of life often involved ready-made families, but in almost six months together Ellen had never made any mention of having a child. She lived with her parents and little sister, Hope: a five year old late-arrival into the family on whom Ellen and her parents doted.

Ellen shifted under his touch. “Go on,” she whispered. “Ask.”

Ellen remembered that day in a haze of sadness and pain. She’d gone for a routine scan, but the doctor said her baby’s heart was slow and they needed to get it out. She’d been in surgery less than an hour later, her mother holding her hand, her father pacing outside.

“It’s just like when you were born,” her mother had said softly, a smile on her lips but tears in her eyes. It was, of course, nothing like when Ellen was born. It should be the baby’s father pacing outside, not the mother’s.

Ellen turned her head to face Gerry. “I know you want to.”

“It’s OK,” he replied, looking away from her face. A second white line appeared there. Not like the clean incision he’d been touching; this one was jagged and angry. It slashed up her cheek, over her eye and stopped in the middle of her forehead. He knew this scar well – he had seen it every time they met and he’d heard the story of the man who put it there. Gerry was delighted when Ellen had finally agreed to spending the night together. She had every reason never to trust a man again.

Last night, over dinner, he’d been amazed at how much her family saw past the scar, even Hope, who couldn’t have ever known Ellen without it. They all saw the beautiful woman behind it. That was the Ellen he saw too, the one he had fallen in love with. Unlike his ex-wife, who was flawless on the outside, Ellen kept her perfection hidden away.

“I want to tell you,” she said. “It was him. My ex. He gave me two things to remember him by – two scars.”

“What happened to the baby?” Gerry asked softly. “Did you have it adopted?”

“I was going to, but when they took her out, she wasn’t breathing.”

Gerry let out his breath slowly. “Perhaps it was for the best,” he said. He couldn’t imagine how Ellen would have felt raising the baby of an abusive partner.

“She fought so hard to be with us, I couldn’t let her down after that.”

Gerry felt the breath catch in his throat again, but he waited. Ellen would tell him when she was ready.

“Hope.” Ellen whispered. “When she’s old enough to understand, I’ll tell her. Perhaps she will want to stay with me.”

“With us,” said Gerry, pulling Ellen towards him. “If you’ll both have me.”

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