Friendship

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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.

 

The Moral Mondays prompt this week is THERE IS NO “I” IN TEAM.  

Feud

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The hundreds-year-old tree between the two houses was the only one still alive who knew how it all began.  Past residents of those houses, Ruby and Dottie, had stood under its wavering, winter-bare branches years ago and argued about some trivial, forgettable, nonsense.  Each woman, seething with rage, had marched inside and told their respective husbands not to speak to anyone next door again.

Ruby and Dottie were gone now. It was Ruby’s four-year-old great-great-granddaughter, Pearl, who decided to defy her mother and venture to the other side of the tree. Leaning against its trunk was Sam, Dottie’s great-great-grandson, who was absentmindedly playing with a pocket-watch he’d found in his attic. There was a folded note inside.  Before the children could open it, the wind picked it up and carried it away.  It was in Dottie’s handwriting, addressed to Ruby, and bore only the words, I’m sorry.

The watch forgotten, Sam and Pearl laughed and chased each other around the base of the tree, as she sighed with relief and showered them with blooms.

For Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

It Girl

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Marnie and Allyson hung out every single Saturday afternoon. They’d never cancelled, even when they were ill.  They’d just share candy and alphabet soup and watch movies under a blanket.

But that Saturday, Aria Franklin, the It Girl, asked Marnie to hang out. Marnie told Allyson that she was sick, so contagious she couldn’t have any guests. How was Marnie to know that she and Aria would run into Allyson at the store with alphabet soup and M&M’s in her basket?

“Marnie?”

Allyson blinked back tears as Marnie stood between her two friends, trying to resist the urge to run.

 

The Moral Mondays prompt this week is – DON’T STRADDLE THE FENCE

Hierarchy

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The tour guide continued to drone on as Nikki stifled a yawn.  She was only on the Historic Homes tour because of Denise.  She had no interest in this sort of thing, but Denise seemed to be drinking it all in with an intense, almost religious-like, fervor.  She didn’t think Denise had many other friends, poor thing.

Thankfully, the tour guide wrapped things up right on time so Nikki could rush to her next engagement, lunch and shopping with her bestie, Shana.  She felt such pride in herself as she drove away, staring at Denise waving goodbye in the rear-view mirror.

*

“Do you think this works with my coloring?”  Nikki asked Shana after a long lunch at their favorite bistro.  She held a blush pink dress up to her neck.  “Should I try it on?”

Shana nodded and smiled politely.  As Nikki ducked into a changing room Shana checked the time, hoping Nikki wouldn’t try on ten different ensembles before making a choice as she had on their last shopping trip.  She was meeting a group of her best girlfriends for drinks in less than an hour.

 

Written for Sunday Photo Fiction, and also inspired by this scientific study, which says that only 50% of the people we consider friends actually consider us a friend as well.  Interesting read, if you have time. 

 

Buddies

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I take a long sip of my smoothie and glance at Lisa, my workout buddy, wondering if we could ever be friends outside the gym.

“I have some news.”  She doesn’t hear.  On the television mounted on the wall, Entertainment Tonight is running a story about pregnant actresses over 40.

“Why are women these days waiting so long to get pregnant?  All those weird fertility treatments.  How selfish.  They’ll be 60 before…”

“I’m pregnant, Lisa.”

She sputters.  “Oh, errr, I didn’t mean anything by…I was just…”

I wave away her protests and smile.  “Spin class next Thursday?”

The Moral Mondays prompt this week is Listen Before You Speak.

 

Blackbird

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Roger Bultot

Blackbirds began to land on the roof of the building as we entered.  I leaned on my boyfriend’s arm for strength.  He thought it was the depth of my grief that made me so fragile.

We were there to say our final goodbyes to Samantha. All I could think about was the last night of her life, when I’d been too busy to be her friend.  Those three missed calls.

“Why did Samantha think she was alone?  Why didn’t she ask for help?”  Her father implored from the podium.  It was then that I started to cry.

For Friday Fictioneers

Doughnuts

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The world has gone mad.  When I was a kid, if someone brought cookies to share with the class – guess what?  We were excited.  And thankful.  Now, if it’s not gluten-free, fat-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, and taste-free, expect to get the treats sent back home with your kid accompanied by a stern note.  Last month, when I committed the infraction of sending chocolate chip cookies for the end of semester party, Mary, the formidable head of the PTA, informed me that all baked goods sent to the school must be gluten-free, since so many students had allergies.

For those of us who aren’t “domestically-inclined,” as she puts it, she suggests the Sunflower Bakery, which specializes in healthy and wheat-free baked delights.  I think I just threw up in my mouth.  Guess what, Mary?  I’m sending my son to school today with a box of doughnuts I bought from the discount shelf at the low-rent grocery store I patronize, a far cry from the Whole Paycheck Market where you, or your nanny, probably do all your shopping.  And I’m sure he, your child, and all the other delicate little dumplings in the class will be JUST FINE!

“There’s Dylan!”  My son exclaims from the backseat as we pull up in front of his school.

Dylan, Mary’s son? “Is Dylan your friend?”

“Yep.  We’re best buddies.”

Was Mary petty enough to ruin my son’s first friendship because his mother sent low-rent doughnuts to the class party?

Yes, she was.

“Jake, sweetie, I think those doughnuts have gone bad.”  He looks at me strangely but leaves the package on the backseat as he exits the car.

Ignoring the horn honks from impatient parents behind me, I search my phone for directions to the Sunflower Bakery.

 

Written for the Story A Day prompt – First Person

 

Thursday Thriller – Reunion

 

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Read Part 1 – Wallflower

Read Part 2 – Smoke

Read Part 3 – Fury 

Present Day

As I watch Cat and Charles, I think back to my escape from that burning house.  The violent pain in my leg, which I limped on painfully through the woods until I reached the main road.  Hitching to Alma’s house and grabbing the rest of my saved cash.  Starting over.

I keep drinking, thinking I need the liquid courage, but it only weakens my resolve.  I’m going to go home. I finally conclude.  Why am I even here?  I ask myself.  What’s done is done.  I have a good, if dull, life now.  Everyone’s moved on and it’s time I did too.

In the parking lot, I’m trying to decide if I’m good to drive or if I need to call someone, when a pair of powerful hands grabs me from behind.

I wake up in the trunk of a moving car.  My mouth is taped.  I’m not afraid, just angry and humiliated.  I’d been so foolish, thinking I was going to out all of them to the community, ruin their lives, make them suffer the way I had.

The car stops, and the trunk opens shortly after.  Cat’s face is the first one I see.  Meredith, Tommy, Laura, and Charles surround her.  Cat’s crying softly.  A gun gleams in the moonlight from Tommy’s hand.

“I never meant for any of this to happen, Casey.  I’m sorry.”  Cat tells me through her tears.  I look at her, making eye contact, and I nod.  I forgive her.  I forgive them all.  Why not?  I never really existed anyway.  None of it matters.  No one will look for me when I’m gone.

Charles looks at the ground as Meredith leans into the trunk, her lips snarled.  “You should have stayed away.  We won’t let you ruin everything we’ve all worked for.”

Tommy steps closer, until the gun is almost pressed against my temple.  I close my eyes, wanting it to be over, when I hear a scream.

“No!” Cat yells, knocking the gun from Tommy’s hand.  It goes off, grazing Meredith’s shoulder.  During the ensuing confusion, Cat pulls me from the trunk and we race deep into the woods as more gunshots sound in the distance.  I look at Cat, adrenaline churning through my veins, and, even though I have every reason not to, I smile.  No matter what happens, we are Cat-n-Casey once again.