I can’t go inside. Andrea parked in front of her friend’s home, watching the silhouettes move behind the curtains.
Kent moved out a week ago. She twisted the gold band on her finger nervously. There was nothing shameful about being single. Nothing at all. She just couldn’t handle the questions, the pity in everyone’s eyes. Not today.
The curtains moved. She’d been seen. She had to get out of the car.
Kent answered the door. “We’ve been waiting for you,” he said, extending his arms. She hugged him tightly, thankful, at least, for his friendship.
This would be CeCe’s and Ricky’s last date. She’d been infatuated with him for so long, actually becoming his girlfriend had been thrilling, surreal. She’d felt like Molly Ringwald at the end of Pretty in Pink.And the first kiss…a warm shock of excitement shot through her still when she thought of it. It always would. But they just weren’t compatible.
They stood in front of the scarecrow at the edge of her family’s property, CeCe knowing that they were in full view of her mother’s reproachful gaze. She told Ricky she thought they’d be better off as friends and Ricky seemed genuinely surprised.
“I thought things were good,” he protested.
If you only had a brain.
Alone in her room that night, CeCe’s disappointment faded. Ricky would spend his life in this town, as his family had done for generations. There was nothing wrong with that, of course. She just wanted a different life. There were places she wanted to explore, strange boys she wanted to kiss.
Another chapter in the neverending saga of Paul and Alexandra, Katie thought as a perfectly good wine glass shattered against the far wall, red wine streaming down the stark white paint like blood. Alexandra, the glass-thrower, screamed at Paul that he’d never loved her, that no one wanted him there because he was an awful person. Paul retorted that Alexandra was over-the-hill, desperately, pathetically, trying to hold on to her youth and failing miserably. Katie stood, throwing her hands in the air.
“ENOUGH!” Katie shrieked, rattling the windows.
Alexandra and Paul immediately quieted, turning to face Katie in shock.
“Haven’t the two of you ruined enough family gatherings?” In the preceding years, Katie and her siblings had gone to ridiculous lengths to keep their bickering parents separated, and she was fed up. She turned to her mother.
“I invited dad here. I’m getting married tomorrow. He has as much right to be here as you do.” She faced them both sternly. “Both of you should be ashamed. Your children are embarrassed of you. If you behave this way tomorrow I’m having the both of you thrown out on your butts and you can argue in the back alley like a couple of hillbillies. This nonsense,” she swirled her finger between the two of them, “is over. Do you understand?”
Her parents stared back at her in stunned silence. She stepped closer. “I said – DO…YOU…UNDERSTAND?”
Paul and Alexandra looked at each other, then responded in unison. “Yes, ma’am.”
“Let’s play hide and seek, mommy,” Cat said, half covering her eyes with her pudgy hand. Ashley knew that Cat was afraid and wanted to delay her bedtime as long as possible. Her father had been the one that banished the monsters and other imaginary creatures that went bump in the night. But she only saw him twice a month now.
“How about we sing instead?” Ashley scooted so Cat could sit next to her on the piano bench. She played a few notes of Cat’s favorite lullaby, whispering the lyrics in her ear. She could see her daughter’s eyelids getting heavy.
After Ashley did the best job she could ridding Cat’s room of monsters, she tucked the little girl into bed and kissed her goodnight, wishing her sweet dreams.
She tiptoed to her own room and turned out the light. The bed seemed to swallow her. Alone in the still darkness, she had to admit, she was afraid too. Sleep seemed so far away. Why is this so hard? She considered turning on a light, or the television, letting white noise fill the quiet, but decided against it, falling back against the pillow. Slowly, her eyes began to adjust to the dark.
They returned to the ocean as it seemed to all be slipping away. It was to be their final goodbye. She felt the wind swirling around her, remembering reciting her vows at that very spot. The sun had turned the green flecks in his eyes golden as they were pronounced man and wife. He stared back at her as he had on that sun-drenched day, touching her face, the tips of his fingers grazing her cheek, the base of her chin. As she looked back into his eyes, though the sun had long since retreated, she thought she could spy the hint of gold in them once again.
This is the combination of two prompts, the daily post – Beach and six sentence stories – Base.
“What are you doing, baby girl?” Michelle put her hand on her young daughter’s shoulder. Kara was sitting in a chair next to the living room window, staring at the blur of cars whipping by on the highway below. Her nose was pressed against the cold glass.
“I’m looking for daddy’s car.” Kara answered without turning her head, never moving her eyes from the road.
Michelle sighed deeply and went to the sofa, picking up a random magazine from the coffee table and starting to flip through it angrily. “He was supposed to be here hours ago, honey. He’s not coming. As usual.”
Kara didn’t respond, just pressed her forehead against the window more firmly so her mother didn’t see her eyes beginning to fill with tears.
“Don’t you have a great life?” Michelle continued. “A great apartment, gorgeous clothes, the best schools…we did all of this WITHOUT him. We don’t need him.”
Kara just shrugged, refusing to face her mother.
“Suit yourself.” Michelle stormed from the living room, slamming her bedroom door behind her.
Kara ignored her mother and the cramp starting in her neck, staring at the road through the blur of her tears. A robin’s egg blue SUV, just like the one her daddy drove, was coming down the highway toward their building. She closed her eyes, not wanting to watch it pass her by.
“Could you do me a favor and tell that guy in the blue shirt at the table by the window over there that I couldn’t make it for dinner tonight?”
“Tell ’em yourself,” the woman scoffed before storming away.
Nearly knocked over by the woman’s abruptness, she finally realized how ridiculous she must look as a 30-year-old woman, too afraid to approach her own boyfriend and tell him the truth. She’d been putting off breaking up with him for weeks.
She crossed the room, ignoring his bright smile when his eyes held hers, folding her hands in a business-like manner as she sat. “We need to talk.”