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…”

THE END…AT LEAST FOR US

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!

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Turning Point: Flash Fiction Results For Monday’s Muse Nov 30th 2015

Turning Point

Heat spread across my cheeks as Mama turned and gave me that look, the one that said, ‘Don’t make me turn this car around, mister.’ I choked on the angry retort that tickled my tongue and drew my clenched fist beneath my thighs in an attempt not to hit my sister, Harriet, across the back of her head.

Harriet snickered. 

She always seemed to find humor in making every waking day of my life miserable. Sure we had our laughs every now and again, but mostly it was war; war waged on me by the villainous troll that my parents had spent the last six years trying to convince me was actually my sister and not some rotten changeling that had crept in from the forest.

Changlings did that, came in and made people believe they were someone they were not. I read about it once in a comic, so it’s true alright. Harriet didn’t fool me. But Mama and Daddy, they were goners.

They would learn the truth one day. I would show them. But for now, it was obvious that they were too hypnotized by bouncy curls and rosy cheeks to see anything other than the enemy they tucked in at night.

So it was settled. I was going to make my escape and then show them all the truth later. My bags were already packed to go. I am going to become a changling.

Becoming a changling usually required that a kid be kidnapped and swapped out by the changling gang. I read that too somewhere.

Living in the forest wouldn’t be so bad. I loved climbing trees and creek fishing, and I could definitely do without having to stare at Mrs. Beezly another day. Life at nine was hard enough as it was let alone having to look at her all afternoon.

The only problem that I did have was not being rotten enough for them to change me out. I always managed to get the threatening look from Mama but I had never had the guts to cross…that line…never had the moxy…never…

WHACK! Cathunk!

“HENRY!” Mama screamed at me as the car yanked over to the side of the road spitting gravel, my guilty hand still raised in the air. Harriet was wailing like a stuck pig. She was going to have a nice knot where her forehead kissed that side window.

The shocked look in her eyes made my stomach burn as Mama actually whipped the car around and directed it toward home. Home and my future as a changling.

Far as I could see it, I’d earned my place today. I even managed to snicker. It was a real turning point.

THE END

These are my results for Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt May 23rd, 2018, originally posted on December 3rd, 2015.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

There Was Room: A Short Story

The door whispered on its hinges as her fingers gently pushed it open, her stomach leaping as the light from the window washed over the scene inside the room. 

Tiptoeing as not to disturb the scene, Nyla eased forward. She pressed her eyes closed pushing away the tears that had misted over her vision. Cale, her young landlord, lay across her bed, his eyes racing back and forward behind closed lids, his lips framed with touches of a sandy blond beard, just slightly open.

He was sound asleep with Nyla’s baby boy snuggled against his chest, nestled within Cale’s large hands.

Nyla hadn’t been gone away that long, maybe an hour or two. She had to make the rush to the market before the sun dipped below the horizon. They were fresh out of flour and salt, and Nyla needed that in order to get supper ready.

That was part of her living agreement, she could stay on at Cale’s farm, as long as she kept the house clean, took care of the lighter chores in the morning, and kept hot meals on the table for when he came in from the fields.

It was a more than a generous arrangement for Nyla and baby Asher. No one else was willing to give a home to a woman and her fatherless child in exchange for a few small chores and meals. It was nothing short of a blessing for them even though she could tell it was very hard on Cale.

She had only been in the small town for a few short hours when the local gossip let it slip that Cale was a young widower who had lost his wife and son during childbirth in the winter of the previous year. The way that Cale had looked at her and Asher with such pained eyes made it clear he was making a big sacrifice by not only opening up his home to a stranger but opening up old wounds that had hardly had a chance to heal.

Asher was only three weeks old when they came to live on with Cale. Nyla’s Ma and Pa had put them both out without even looking back, told Nyla she and shamed the family for the last time and had done a fine job of it by her 20th year.

They let her stay at home until she was fit enough to move out, and become nothing more than a bad memory for them to think about every now and again. All of it had made Nyla so miserably sad that she couldn’t help but name her babe Asher; happy and blessed. She was determined that no matter what, she and her boy were going to be happy and blessed.

Looking at him now, chubby six-month-old cheeks flushed with the warmth of sleep, and mouth parted open like Cale’s, made Nyla happy in a way she wasn’t quite sure she had the right to be.

Cale was not hers after all. He had made it clear his heart was not interested in opening, and for the first few months Nyla could do nothing short of agree. Yes, she had determined to be happy with Asher, but that happiness did not involve a man.

Now, she just didn’t know what to think.

That wasn’t completely true. She was thinking, and at that moment the one thing that occupied her mind was the curiosity of how soft Cale’s lips might be, and how they would taste should she still a kiss from them.

Throwing precaution to the wind, reasoning that he would never know even though she was certain she would blush beet red every time she looked at him afterward, Nyla leaned forward and gently kissed his lips.

She would have ended the kiss just as quickly as she had started it had Cale’s hand not gently cupped the back of her head and deepened it sweetly. He calmly let her go, sliding his hand down the inner part of her arm, his emerald green eyes gazing curiously and contentedly up at her.

Nyla touched her lips with her finger’s as Cale laced his fingers with those of her other hand. His smile taking hold of her like nothing else had before. His reception had startled her more than her boldness but the welcome assurance of his warmth only served to drive home a point she hadn’t even realized she was aiming for. There was room in her and Asher’s world, room for another to join them in their joy.

THE END.

Love is obviously back in the air here. But it took five minutes past the 20-minute mark to make its statement. As always, I had a great time writing this. It gave me warm fuzzies! I did edit and add to the last chapter, as the previous ending was kind of abrupt. These are my results for MONDAY’S MUSE WRITING PROMPT APRIL 16, 2018.

*Originally posted July 2nd, 2015.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

 

Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt: March 26th, 2018

 “He stumbled through the darkness, the light at his back forcing everything into angrier shadows that toyed with his perception. His fingers curved and clawed at nothing as if to anchor himself to where he was.”

RULES: 

  • 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 “MondayMuse.”
  • 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.

(PLEASE KEEP ENTRIES THAT NEED TO BE POSTED ON THIS SITE WITHIN A PG13 RANGE. THANK YOU)

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

The Fog: Flash Fiction by Candice Coates

I’m not lost, I just don’t know where I am. I’m not lost, I just don’t know where I am…yet.” He whispered his mantra several more times over, hoping that if he said it enough that the words would become true. Still, the panic that tightened around his throat like a noose would not give.

This happened to him occasionally, the mental fog that dropped him into thick darkness only to clear when he was somewhere completely unknown to him. It was his fault, he knew that. He’d gone to a place he’d been warned not to go.

To him, however, the warning seemed more like a dare and just couldn’t resist the urge to rebel. “Put to death the flesh…” The fraction of a scripture he’d heard his father pray echoed in his heart, rippling against the pools of panic that sought to drown him.

Fidel had allowed his flesh to rule him that night, the night he’d first stepped into the fog.

The Stone Room. So many different hidden meanings the name of the establishment held. It had left his brain addled and his body a vessel seemingly no longer his own. A year and a half ago, the place had shown up in his stomping ground.

A friend of a friend, some shifty guy who was always on the verge of panic, was the one to see it first. He’d gone snow white and nearly stumbled into the path of a car in his attempt to go the other direction. Everyone laughed at him, thought he’d had one too many to drink when he begged them all to stay away from the place.

Fidel couldn’t resist. He wasn’t one for highs beyond those that were aged in barrels and gave a bit of a burn on the way down, but he wouldn’t be spooked by some greasy-haired punk who was scared of his own shadow.

So like a fool, he let his flesh take the lead and he stepped into The Stone Room. He’d been getting lost ever since; snatches of time that seemed like only seconds turned out to be days or even weeks. His first fog, he was missing for two complete months. The only thing was, on his side of time, he’d been wandering for just shy of three hours, lost.

“You should have listened to me,” the voice was disgruntled, bitter, but Fidel recognized it. The shifty, greasy, guy.

I should have, but I didn’t. He wanted to say those words, but his flesh…it always seemed to get the best of him especially when he was angry. “You weren’t saying nothing.” He narrowed his eyes, his jaw ticking. “What are you doing here?”

Shifty frowned. “The same as you, lost in this fog.”

“You’d both better figure out what you have to do to get out of it. The more time you waste, the more debt you pay.” I pretty girl, no more than twenty-two yelled from across the vacant street.

Fidel considered her, cleared his throat. The invisible noose on his neck was chafing. He’d never seen a soul when he was in the fog, but now he’d met two.

THE END…FOR NOW

*Time restrictions…I tell you. I feel like there is a story here. I don’t know how long or short, but I feel like there is something. I want to know more about The Stone Room, Fidel, Shifty, and Pretty Girl. Where are they? What is this debt they pay? What is this fog of time? I hope you enjoyed my results for Monday’s Muse February 19th, 2018!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt: February 12th 2018

OPENING LINE (S): “Her heart nearly stopped at the sight of them. Just a few days away from Valentine’s and this is what greeted her.”

RULES: 

  • 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.

(PLEASE KEEP ENTRIES THAT NEED TO BE POSTED ON THIS SITE WITHIN A PG13 RANGE. THANK YOU)

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt: February 5th 2018

OPENING LINE (S): “His feet had gone numb from the hours of walking, but at least the sun was shining through the fog, giving light to a treeline that promised life was ahead.”

RULES: 

  • 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.

(PLEASE KEEP ENTRIES THAT NEED TO BE POSTED ON THIS SITE WITHIN A PG13 RANGE. THANK YOU)

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt: September 4th, 2017 #MondaysMuse #WritingPrompt #CreativeWriting

OPENING LINE (S): “No matter how much he stared outward, no matter how much light he allowed to pierce the darkness of the room through the sheers that blanketed the window, he still could not bring himself to step outside.”

RULES: 

  • 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.

(PLEASE KEEP ENTRIES THAT NEED TO BE POSTED ON THIS SITE WITHIN A PG13 RANGE. THANK YOU)

My results will be posted the week’s end.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Bittersweet: A Short Story #Drama #Romance #MondaysMuse

She scrolled down the screen with her thumb and read the text again. It didn’t matter. She couldn’t change anything now but oh how she wished she could.

It had been nearly two years since she’d received the message and still those words caught up in a blue bubble managed to evoke the same response from her.

Sure, the outward expression had been dulled by familiarity and her obvious ability to recite the script by rote, but on the inside…on the inside she felt forgiveness.

Leander, David, had started the text with just her name, sending that one message alone before he continued with words that read as prose. He’d confessed that he loved her, still loved her, even though he had demanded a divorce and fought to estrange himself from her life…their life.

In his efforts, he had estranged himself from God as well but had blessedly found his road to repentance. More than anything, Leander was grateful for his renewed love for Jesus. She was humbled that she got to be part of that love.

David had requested that they meet, asked if he could swing by their old place. She’d told him no, not because she didn’t want to see him but because she wasn’t home. She’d actually just landed, her plane had come in from Arizona. It was an unsuccessful business trip. The clients had backed out of a multi-million dollar deal.

That failure had deflated her but seeing her prayers answered with David had given her a mighty and anxious boost. She wanted to see him. She asked him to pick her up from the airport.

He said he would. He had. But his heart had also stopped just moments after they’d engaged in an awkward but long overdue embrace.

He smiled down at her, eyes glassy. He managed to whisper he was sorry, that he’d been wrong. He told her that he loved her and had never stopped. She only just responded in turn when his face contorted and the strength of his arms around her yielded to weakness.

And then he was gone.

Leander pressed her eyes together and closed the text. Every day since she had played in her head all the scenarios that could have saved his life. But she wasn’t being realistic. She wasn’t superwoman. David’s condition was an anomaly. It was like a bullet shot in the dark that managed to hit a major target.

There was nothing she could have done. She couldn’t have loved him more. She was grateful that she’d at least loved him with forgiveness.

THE END

*Such a bittersweet tale. I enjoy the fact that I never quite know where these stories will go once I sit down to write them. Leander and David…bittersweet. These were my results for Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt August 28th, 2017.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt: August 28th, 2017 #MondaysMuse #WritingPrompt #CreativeWriting

OPENING LINE (S): “She scrolled down the screen with her thumb and read the text again. It didn’t matter. She couldn’t change anything now but oh how she wished she could.”

RULES: 

  • 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.

(PLEASE KEEP ENTRIES THAT NEED TO BE POSTED ON THIS SITE WITHIN A PG13 RANGE. THANK YOU)

My results will be posted the week’s end.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!