Dinner Plans: Short Story by Candice Coates

Dinner Plans

She sat perched on the edge of the table, the tight fold of her interwoven fingers expressed the nervousness that had been concealed in the even tone of her voice and the placid look on her face. Turning fully towards her, he paid closer attention to what she was saying. 

For a brief second he hoped he’d heard her incorrectly, but gazing into her eyes he knew he hadn’t been mistaken. “Hannah, you didn’t.” He, unlike Hannah, didn’t try to hide his nerves, they flashed in the pale grey of his eyes and radiated clear to the tip of the butcher knife in his hand.

“Dad, the knife. The knife!” Hannah hoped off the table and pried it from his hands placing the parsley coated blade on the chopping block. Tanner wondered by her sudden stillness if she felt as if she were on the chopping block. He was certain she did. He had asked her to be at her best tonight, nagged really, and had been doing so for weeks.

It had been eight years since Claire, Hannah’s adoptive mother, died. He and  Claire had only been married for a little over three years. They’d dated for two. When he’d first met Claire he hadn’t thought he was ready to be a father, but Hannah warmed to him so quickly and got into his pores like the best of anointing oils. He loved the girl on sight as if she were his own flesh and blood.

Now she was barely twenty and he felt as if she were his whole life, his precious little girl…his precious little girl who’d gone against his wishes and had been secretly meeting with her birth mother.

He rubbed his suddenly damp forehead with the back of his hand. His gut felt as if it were filled with gravel. He was already extremely nervous about introducing Hannah to the new woman in his life. He needed Hannah to like her. He’d already purchased an engagement ring even in the face of awkwardness.

Hannah had made it clear she had no desire for a new mother and had not been a fan of his dating someone. He suddenly wondered if her going against his wishes and finding her birth mother was a simple act of rebellion. He also wondered if his hopefully soon-to-be financee was having similar problems of her own.

She had mentioned that she had been estranged from her daughter for years but they were making headway into a healthy relationship. She too had wondered how her daughter would react to him.

“I can’t believe you did this, Hannah.” Tanner whispered.

“Dad, why is it such a horrible thing that I want to know my own mother?”

“Your birth mother.” He corrected, suddenly feeling as if he needed to defend Claire’s right-hood to the title ‘Mom’. Hannah rolled her eyes. He touched her shoulder. “Honey, I am not trying to make this a difficult thing for you, I am just worried is all. She may not be good for you.”

“Us, you mean. You’re afraid that she will wreck your plans for a new family, aren’t you?”

He couldn’t resist frowning. “And I suppose that is why you not only contacted her, but then invited her to dinner tonight when you know how important today is for me, for us.” He wiped his brow again. He was already nervous, now he was just petrified.

What if the strange woman showed up at the door, right when his new love did? “Lord help me. Hannah, I love her. And I want you to at least give her a chance. I just want things to go smoothly tonight and if she shows up-”

Hannah took a bite of parsley. “It doesn’t matter anyway Dad. I invited her and she said she couldn’t make it, said she had a date or something.”

“Well, that is a relief that that person won’t be coming,” Why had he suddenly turned so territorial, defensive? He’d seen this behavior in characters in movies, but never thought it would happen to him; jealous of his daughter’s birth mother.

Hannah scowled. “Her name is–”

Ding dong! The front door rang, bringing the conversation to a halt. Again, Hannah rolled her eyes. It was going to be a long night.

“Going to get it, Dad? Wouldn’t want to keep your beloved waiting.” Hannah’s tone was laced with sarcasm and void of the former nervousness that had ruled her demeanor just moments ago.

He gave her a warning gaze before pulling the door open. Right then Hannah continued her previous statement, her tone shifting to shock that laced over Tanner’s joy right as his beloved passed the threshold and entered the apartment. “Her name is…Beatrix?”

Hannah’s face bloomed with a smile as she rushed forward and took hold of her birth-mother’s hands, jerking Beatrix’s delighted gaze away from Michael’s. “I thought you said you couldn’t make it tonight! I thought…you said you had,” Hannah’s gaze shifted between the ashen expression on Beatrix’s face to the even more stricken look on her Dad’s. “…a date…”


I hope you enjoyed what came of this story and the twist at the end. I wish I could have sharpened it up a bit more, but alas we do have a time restraint. I do however wish Dad, Hannah and Beatrix the best of joy and a happy future 🙂 These are my results from MONDAY’S MUSE WRITING PROMPT APRIL 30, 2018.

*Revised post from October 22, 2015.

~Dream. Image. Believe. Do. CONQUER!


Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt: February 26th 2018

OPENING LINE (S): “This wasn’t like the last time he’d kissed her. This time, something about the play of his lips against hers had changed.”


  • Using the above line and the picture provided, (Or a line of your own choosing) create a story (or even a poem) within up to 20 minutes.
  • Once you have finished your super awesome masterpiece, add a link in the comments section of THIS POST to your story for others to read, as well as a link on your page back to this original post for others to follow along and write with as well. In your “tags” section, add the tag “Monday’s Muse.”
  • To get the Above Image follow this LINK

If you do not have a blog of your own, leave me a comment and send me an email to icameforthesoup@gmail.com and I will post your lovely words here on my blog.


~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Hunger in the Veins: Flash Fiction #Monday’sMuse #SciFi #Thriller

Vein City. That wasn’t its true name, but that’s how he felt about it. From there the very lifeblood of the world seemed to flow. He flexed his hands and watched his own veins pulse. It had cost him nearly everything within him to get there. 

Flipping open his wallet he stared at the nearly faded photograph of his family. So much had happened in so little time, but it was enough to wipe his mind clean. He couldn’t even remember their names. All he remembered were their faces.

That would have to be enough.

Truth be told, few men ever came back from the grave in the way that he had and those that did were only shells of themselves.

That was what Embryous was all about. Taking fully grown men and women, developed in every form of the word but not in their hearts, not in their emotions. Emotions were fickle. They got in the way. They kept the underdeveloped, the embryous, from doing what they were designed to do.

He flexed his hands again. They still burned from the crushing grip they’d held on…what was his name? He glanced back at the dead man’s face. Daryl, his name was Daryl. Daryl’s eyes were cold, lifeless, the product of Embryous, meaning dead.

In fairness, the Daryl had asked for it. They all had. Anyone who looked him in the eye saw his hunger. For anyone who tried to stop him from feeding his appetite, that look was the last thing they saw. Nothing would keep him from his former life. Nothing would keep him from his family.

That was why he was in Vein City. His family was his lifeblood and he was determined to live again.


*I don’t know if I will ever get around to fleshing out this tale, but I am curious about the nameless main character and Embryous. I have an inkling that things for him are not what they seem and finding that out will be like kicking a hornet’s nest. Anyhow, these are my results for Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt August 21st, 2017.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Easier Said: Micro Fiction #Monday’sMuse #AmWriting #Drama

She stood paralyzed in the face of destruction, knowing full well she should run for cover. But the way the wind seemed to snatch the air from her lungs, kept her in place, no, it drew her closer toward the danger. 

The image before her, the one of the storm, was just that, an image. The truth was her love life was the storm drawing her into danger with enough gale-force winds to tear her entire world apart.

Letting out an exaggerated sigh, she took a sip of her chai tea latte and backed away from the image that had the power to evoke such trepidation in her world.

She’d heard the cliche that a picture spoke a thousand words. This one gave a full on saga detailing what was ahead if she didn’t follow her gut and cut things off with her beau as soon as possible.

Sad thing ones, some things were easier said than done…kind of like running out of the path of a storm that appears out of nowhere.


*These are my results for Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt August 7th, 2017. The tale is short and sweet, but I have to admit it took a wildly different turn than I had thought it would go. Nevertheless, one should always follow their muse!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Playing Fair: A Short Story #amwriting #family #story

Truth was, he didn’t want to parent, let alone know how to parent. But staring at her solemn face, eyes ready for seemingly common rejection, he didn’t feel as if he had a choice.

“Are you my dad?” she asked with very little enthusiasm, the ears of her bunny slippers flopping with the same cadence as the grandmother clock on the mantle.

Jared suddenly felt ill. He adjusted the collar of his button up shirt and cleared his throat, his blue eyes, the same as hers, glancing to the window as if that were a way out.

“No,” he croaked. He was stunned at his own tone but she, Lou, Loula Grace, seemed not to notice. He swallowed and tried his answer again. “No, I am not your dad. Dad…Dad, uh, he passed away a few months ago.”

He pressed his eyes closed and forced back the burn of tears. His father’s death was still so raw, the pain of it unexpected although him passing at seventy-four wasn’t. Jared senior took too many risks especially when it came to his health. He constantly indulged and did so with a smile, singing the cliche mantra, ‘you only live once.’

Still, the burn of his passing came when his final will and testament was read. Jared junior, thirty-four, successful in his own right, and heir to his father’s company was not an only child. More shockingly, his father had amended his will.

And so he sat, in the living room of a foster-mother who’d taken in Lou, his unclaimed little sister. He’d been told she was only six, her mother forty. She had been out of the picture since Lou was two.

That made things easier Jared supposed. There was no one to fight him for custody, no one to claim the child in hopes of getting their hands on her trust fund, preventing Jared from taking hold of his own.

If he wanted that, he had to take responsibility where his father had failed. It was a cruel way for his father to say goodbye. Dad played, he played hard, but he never played fair.

Jared choked again, coughed once more. Lou’s dark brow slowly rose. She clearly wasn’t impressed. She was definitely their father’s daughter. She hadn’t known Jared for more than fifteen minutes and already she had judged him as inept. At least he wasn’t after what was hers.

No, he only wanted what was his and in order to get that he had to do what their dad had failed to do and that was to raise her as the Carter she was.

“I’m your brother,” he managed to push out. Lou looked skeptical.

“You’re too old to be my brother.” She finally said after three long minutes that felt more like hours as she took stock of him once again.

“Yeah, well, maybe somebody should have told Dad that,” he thought he said it in a low whisper. Lou’s response proved otherwise.

“I thought you said he died.”

Jared only smiled before standing. If he sat any longer he was going to bolt. Staring down at her gave him more confidence…he prayed he looked confident. “We’ll be alright,” he said. “We’ll make things work without him though.”

Finally, a show of emotion played on Lou’s face. The expression wasn’t promising. She suddenly looked horrified.

“You’re adopting me,” her face was pale.

Jared glanced out the window and then back again. “That’s the plan. We’ll do alright. We-we’re family. We will make this work.” He offered her his hand.

Lou glanced at it and then scooted off the sofa, pulling her dog down from with her, avoiding Jared’s eyes altogether. “If you say so. You don’t look like you know very much about little girls, or dogs.” She walked into the back of the house.

Jared followed her, hating that she was right, but praying that they would somehow be proved wrong. Too much depended on it.


*These are my results for Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt July 24th, 2017. 

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER

Left in the Dark: A Short Story #AmWriting #Monday’sMuse #Drama

He talked with his hands, specifically his pointer-finger and his thumb. She couldn’t stand a man who did that, still, she smiled and nodded as if she heard what he was saying. 

In reality, she heard nothing, nothing except the last words he’d said to her nearly eighteen years ago. Sure, she was being petty, discrediting the man that he probably was because of the sins he’d made as a boy. And he’d been nothing but a boy to her girl back then.

She was two years ahead of him in class. He’d started his college career after taking ‘sabbatical’ from institutionalized learning in order to study the ways of the world, and he was worldly. That is what had drawn her to him even though for months she had brushed him off.

But like he clearly was in business, he wasn’t a man to take no for an answer when there was something he wanted, something he was told he could not achieve.

She hadn’t known then that she was nothing short of a prize, proof that his charm could win the heart of even the most prude of prudes. She had won herself the unintended label back then.

Sad thing was, she had allowed him to tarnish it … she allowed herself to tarnish it. Owning her mistake was one thing, listening to him tell her how it wasn’t that serious and that she just needed to lighten up was another thing.

The memory of how his pointer-finger and thumb pinched together those many years ago as he dictated to her all of her social failings and the reasons he would no longer be considered the ‘one’ in her ideal ‘two’ still bruised her insides. He’d gotten more than the prize of her company, he’d gotten a bit of her soul, and then he rejected it.

“Did you catch those numbers?” He said, pulling her out of her painful revery, the heat of his hand upon hers made her rear back as if he’d burned her. She batted her eyes, pressing the tears away, and forced a plastic smile, all while hating herself for still feeling the sting after that many years.

She was better than this! She had prayed about this. She had rejected this ache and yet facing it seemed to slice open the wound with the efficiency of a brand new blade. More than facing it proved the problem it was the way he spoke to her now with ignorance, as if he didn’t know her, didn’t remember how much she’d loved him.

That hurt.

She felt the muscles in her face bending into a hateful scowl but faked a cough instead. She had to comfort herself with some credit she owed him back then. He had left her, humiliated her, broken her heart into a thousand pieces, but he kept the extent of their coupling in the dark where they had once laid.

No one knew but them.

She pasted on another smile and swiped away the tears, blaming the water of her eyes and the pink of her face on the non-existent tickle that had assaulted her throat.

He stared at her curiously for several silent moments before splaying his fingers across the table top, his eyes turned down. When he returned his gaze to hers, the man of nearly forty was gone, but the young man she’d hidden and left in the dark was there, his eyes solomn.

“Marlow, I’m sorry.”

Her iron-clad ways, the stoic woman who cut deals and left others to rot with purposeful percision refused to show her face. She wouldn’t come and play pretend, not while his mask was off, pointer-finger and thumb no longer pinching together as if to cut off her sense of reason.

Marlow touched her brow with chilly fingertips and forced herself to nod. She had no words, not at that present moment.

She didn’t know what to say. Better, neither did he.


*These are my results from Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt July 3rd 2017. Twenty minute time limits cause for a break in the thread. I say that this is a reluctant end because these two truly need closure even after nearly two decades. Thanks for reading along.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

A Necessary Call: MicroFiction #Monday’sMuse #AmWriting #Fiction

He glanced back again, surely more times than was necessary. They had lost his trail and were no longer following him, at least he prayed they weren’t. 

He slowed his gait, but not so much to lessen the gap he had created between himself and them, but enough to not draw unnecessary attention to himself.

What he needed to do was get to Madelyn and he needed to know they weren’t on his trail anymore. If they got to Madelyn Haze…

Things had gone beyond tense between himself and her. His cover with her had blown the very moment fragments of her memory began to return. He thanked God the bits were no more uniform than the particles found inside a kaleidoscope.

There was time enough for her to know the truth, the real truth about him … about herself, but now was not the time. They needed to get away.

Feigning a chill from the slight blow of wind, he pulled up his collar and began to speak into the mobile phone he had tucked in the front pocket of his shirt, his voice little more than a whisper.

“I will be there in seven minutes. I need you to be ready, Madelyn. We have to move to our next position.”

The strain in her clipped answer was enough to show she wasn’t ready, wouldn’t be ready, refused to be ready.

He ground his teeth and felt the pressure clear into his temples. “Madelyn, they will kill you, or worse. Be ready.” He ended the call.

He ended the call only to have to make another. They were on his trail, they’d actually cornered him.

“Mr. Lemon, I’m going to need immediate assistance. Madelyn has been compromised and so have I.”


*These are my results for Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt June 26th, 2017, and a surprising Part 2 to Miss Madelyn Haze. You are probably wondering who is Mr. Lemon. If you stick around long enough I promise you will find out. Thanks for reading.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Web of Flowers: Micro Fiction #Monday’sMuse #AmWriting #Drama

She rode her bike as far into the pasture as the tall plants would allow. Taking a breath, and putting up the kickstand, she let out a scream, praying that she’d gone far enough.

She’d gone far enough in other ways, said too much, allowed her heart to get entangled in webs that no spider would dare dance upon let alone spin. Now she was stuck, just as stuck as the tangle of wildflowers that clogged the spokes of her bicycle wheels.

Panting from the tension that stretched her chest, she knelt down and tore away plug after plug of busted flowers. The scent of their sap saturated her fingers promising to leave a faint reminder of where she’d been and what she’d done.

It would be no different than with the rest of her life; the scent of her actions, the evidence of her trying to pull herself free would always trace her existence.


*I know, you are probably wondering what is that she has done. The feelers of my mental muse are still seeking answers to that and may have actually found them. But on the other hand, I am not even sure the answer matters. These are my results for Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt June 5th, 2017. Follow the link to give it a try yourself!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Turn around the Ballroom: #Shortstory #Amwriting #Writing

Turn around the ballroom“Let this be the last time we have this conversation,” Malcolm spoke through clenched teeth. His mother sat gracefully in her wing-back chair, her hair in a perfectly tight coiffure, her mouth and the lines surrounding it even tighter.

She kept her hands loosely folded in her lap. Her face displayed her displeasure, but her hands . . . her hands showed she was not at all truly troubled nor threatened by Malcolm.

Her expression slowly melted into a placid picture of motherly grace. The corners of her red lips rising slowly. Her eyes, however, remained sharp. Her gentleness was not to be misread. She would have the last word and Malcolm would honor it.

“Darling, there is no need for you to behave so distastefully, nor to speak with such harsh tones. Please, do sit. You flutter my nerves when you are so anxious.” She patted the side of her head and her fingers trailed down and traced the line of her pearls as she lied.

She somehow took pleasure in the trouble she caused her son. She couldn’t help it. He looked so much like his father, his real father–Abbot Gray, not the man she had married. He had not let her be happy with him. She hated him.

Reticent, but wanting to show some level of respect for his mother, Malcolm acquiesced, taking the farthest seat in the parlor. Tension settled on his shoulders like a sodden wool blanket. He stretched his neck, his blue eyes staring sharply into his mother’s.

In the beginning, he had not understood all the years of hell she had raised around him. As a small child she had adored him, but when he had turned thirteen, as his voice and body began to give way to the changes brought forth by time, his beloved mother’s soft expressions and gentle touches transformed into cutting gazes, stiff hugs that were few and far between, and harsh words that could raise the dead.

He had begun to look too much like a person she hated. Malcolm thought things would settle and ease if he did whatever she asked of him, and he had. But nothing, nothing had ever pleased her. He had long since ceased the attempt.

Now armed with the knowledge of Abbot Gray, knowledge she had no inkling of him having, he would not dare bend to her whims again. He would not pay for another man’s sins nor his mothers. He would have Elizabeth and no one would keep him from that happiness.

Mother gazed out the window for only a few seconds, but long enough for a glint of satisfaction to spark in her eyes. That shine always came when she aimed to wound him.

“I have already sent word to the girl that there will be no wedding. I told her clearly so as to leave no room for misunderstanding that she was nothing more than a fleeting play, a turn around the ballroom of a man’s desires, and that you had not the heart to tell her the truth.” That is how Abbot Gray had made her feel.

Her jaw muscle ticked. “I received her response just this afternoon.” She let her gaze fall upon Malcolm again, hiding her own inner wound.

Malcolm’s face was stone. “Did you now?” Were the only words he could manage. They seemed to satisfy his mother. Pink crept through her pale color and flooded into her wrinkling cheeks. Her cruel heart had aged her greatly.

“I did. You left me no choice in the matter.”

Malcolm stood again and found his place near the fireplace he stared in to the flames. “Did you take the time to read the response. Mother?”

“No, darling. I waited for you to do so.” Her voice was light as if she were sighing. She was satisfied. “Shall I do so now?”

Malcolm glared hard at the back of her head. He skirted around her chair and stood only a few feet away from her. He wanted to see her expression when she read. His heart drummed against his rig cage as each penned word became married with sound.

He bit down hard into his lip stifling his own smile, no, laughter. Watching the color drain as she read the letter, his letter, penned by his own hand, notarized by the Parson, Abbot Gray, who had wed him and his beloved made him want to dance.

Balling the paper with white-knuckled fist, she sneered at her son with blood red eyes, her words somehow choked from her by the string of pearls around her neck.

Malcolm cleared his throat. “It is a pity, Mother that you could not have been there. Elizabeth was a dream in robin’s egg blue. Parson Abbot or should I say, my father, did a wonderful job with the vows. He did ask me to give you his regards.”


Not too sure where this came from. Vindictive mother’s, absent fathers, lies and revenge…Malcolm and his mother.

*This story was originally writing January 31, 2014, and has been revised.

Agreement: Flash Fiction



He sat his keys down on the table with the same stillness one would take if confronting a wild doe. He wasn’t sure if the slowness of his movements were so much to not make her feel threatened or because he was the one whow had been shocked.

It wasn’t every day a man caught his wife, luggage in hand and heading for the door. She was leaving him.

They stared, wide-eyed at each other until he could no longer stand it. Breaking free from her trance was akin to being stung by a wasp. “Well,” he said past the cottony dryness that had overtaken his mouth. “I suppose this needs no explanation.” He tipped his head towards her luggage. Odd that he would use that phrase to broach the subject at hand. He didn’t understand what was happening and yes he did need an explanation.

The only thought that came to mind was that she was young, too young to be shackled to a dry rooted man like himself. He had her by twelve years, almost thirteen, but life had rolled him so tight with its disappointments that the age gap might as well have been twenty-five.

He didn’t understand her and she certainly didn’t understand him. But he had been good and fair to her. He hadn’t raised his voice, never even thought to raise his hand to her. Truth was, he never really touched her at all. That was the problem with a marriage based upon a contract and not a covenant. Contracts were all about the “if you do, then I will,” clause while a covenant was a full-hearted promise.

They didn’t have that. What they had at that moment was a room thick with tension and now flooding with tears as they streamed down her golden face.

He quickly pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and handed it to her. She slowly pulled it from his grasp. After several awkward moments of silence and weeping, she finally spoke, “I wanted to be gone before you got home. Maybe I doddled a little knowing I’d run into you,” She looked up at him and sniffled.

Again he felt stung. “Why would you do that? Were you hoping to hurt me?” He didn’t know if he should be angry or just sink even deeper into confusion. Confusion one the battle with the scowl that masked her tear-soaked face.

“You don’t want me here!” She yelled, throwing balling up the handkerchief as if she intended to launch it at him. “We’ve been married six months, you hardly talk to me or even look at me,”

That wasn’t true. He looked at her he just happened to look away before she caught on. He felt his face flush. What man was scared to look at his wife?

She continued, “You don’t even want me here! You don’t want me. I was ho-,” Her voice hitched but she choked down the tears that strangled in her throat. “I was hoping maybe you’d care enough to stop me. Stupid ole’ me!” She sent the kerchief sailing where it landed at his feet.

His heart had suddenly begun to pound quite loudly in his ears. He’d never been a passionate one, living on spontaneous whims, but if he stood there and let her walk out the door-which he did not want her to-he would never be able to repair what was broken.

Rather than scoop up what she’d thrown he scooped her into his arms instead. Romantics would have urged him to kiss her lips soundly by logic ruled out. Instead, he kissed her forehead and seemed to when her for that moment. He felt her rigid frame ease into his and so he continued to hold her.

“It isn’t that I didn’t want you here, or even want you. I do.” She snuggled closer to him. He felt himself smile as his insides warmed. “I just wanted to give you time, allow you the ability to acclimate to our situation and to me. I just wanted to give you time.”

He didn’t know what else to say and was grateful that she was the one to speak. He felt her hand cup his face, forcing him to look at her. “I’ve had enough time,” She said with a finality that made his chest constrict. He waited for her to push away from him and run for the door with her bags in hand, just like she was doing in his imagination. He lost his breath when she settled again in his arms, her cheek against his chest. “I’d like for us to make better use of our time from now on.”

Swallowing down the knot in his throat he nodded his head in agreement and sealed his promise with a kiss. “Agreed.”