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.

A RELUCTANT FIN

*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!

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He Bought the Farm: Flash Fiction Results for Monday’s Muse April 18th 2016

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He Bought the Farm

He wasn’t hiding. He wasn’t the type to do so, but he was the kind to slip away to think. He needed to think.

Milo, his four-legged shadow followed him, nestling close by, gazing back at the house as if he too was weighing his options. Blake scratched behind Milo’s warm fuzzy ears earning himself a grateful dog-grin.

“What do you think, buddy? What should we do?” As usual, Milo had no answer. He only licked his chops, gave a contend yawn, before bedding down deeper into the grass.

Blake smiled. Maybe that was Milo’s answer. He was happy right where he was. Truth be told, so was Blake. They’d, Blake his wife Paisley and Milo, had happily moved out to the quite country nearly five years ago.

Happy may have been an overstatement. They not so simply needed a change of pace, a change in their reality.

Past decisions had caught up with Blake leaving an unrelenting stain on Paisley’s career. Her employers had said as much, she was guilty by association. She needed to distance herself from the blight that was darkening the glow of her pristine name.

In other words, she needed to leave her husband or leave the company. Pressure from the top demanded it.

Praise God, Paisley loved Blake more. She’d made a sacrifice for him, one that he would never forget. The woman truly loved him…and he loved her.

Having that knowledge was what kept Blake on his feet. His past, the stain he’d made was nearly a decade old when it had finally come to light. He’d been a changed man since then, but his grandfather…he just couldn’t let up. He wouldn’t forgive. He cursed Blake with ugly words and a cutting dismissal that left room for no misinterpretation.

If it were at all possible, the old man had fired him from the family. It only burned his Grandfather’s hide to find out that Paisley wasn’t the ambitious woman he’d thought she was. The old man loved her as if she were his own flesh and blood.

Leaning on their fledgling, but solid faith, they took what they had and moved upwind of the city stench, leaving Grandpa and the mistakes of yesterday behind.

They bought a farm.

Life had been sweet and silent for the last few years. Mom and Dad visited regularly and Paisley and Blake’s roots grew deeper. Now it seemed it was all for not because Grandpa had bought the farm as well, just not the kind with acreage. His lot accommodated a pine box and a hole in a stone wall fitted with a plaque that would make him out to be a trophy.

The old man had gone to the grave, had settled his accounts, and although Blake had forgiven him the man had not seen fit to do the same for Blake. Worse, he hadn’t seen fit to change his will either.

Those oversights tend to happen when you swear off a person’s name.

Now the city beckoned again with shiny lights, smoggy air and nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in shares and a seat on Grandpa’s company board. Blake was now one of the majority owner’s. The money and future earnings would be his no matter what he decided.

Leaning his head back against the tin siding, still staring at the house. He knew what he should do, he knew what Milo wanted and with Paisley’s sudden habit to keep her swollen feet in fresh grass slippers, he knew what she wanted. They weren’t going anywhere.

Grandpa had bought his farm, but Blake had one of his own to tend to.

THE END

*Flash Fiction results for Monday’s Muse April 18th 2016. To see the original posting and rules, and to give it a try yourself, do so by following THIS LINK.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!