Purple

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The room was decorated in Marnie’s  trademark girlish fashion – bursting with pink and lace.  I stood out like a fly in the punchbowl.  I wasn’t invited.  Not to the bridal luncheon, and definitely not to the wedding.  Our friendship was long dead.  I was only there to show Marnie there were no hard feelings.  I smiled warmly as she gratefully accepted the wrapped gift from my arms.

When I heard the loud burst from the hallway, imagining Marnie’s ivory dress dripping with purple ink, I smiled wider. On second thought, I’ve never been that forgiving.

 

A sort of sideways take on the Moral Mondays prompt, which is Bless Those Who Curse You.

 

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

Drill

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It was clear that Bianca, the nervous patient fidgeting in the reclined chair, didn’t remember her. But Lauren, Dr. Asher to all of her patients, certainly remembered every cruel word Bianca had ever said, despite the intervening decades.

“Is it going to hurt much? No offense, but I hate coming to the dentist,” Bianca squeaked.

“It won’t hurt a bit,” Lauren said with a placid smile as she wielded the drill. She asked her assistant to shut the door.

 

The Six Sentence Story prompt this week is Drill.

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. 

 

Last Brunch With the Girls

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“If you hate them so much why are they your friends,” Jim had asked as I prepared to leave our cozy little bungalow on a rainy afternoon, headed for brunch with the girls.  It was a monthly tradition, every third Sunday, five of my old sorority sisters and I met at a restaurant in the city to pick at dry salads and compete in the clandestine game of frenemies everywhere – Whose Life Is Better?

I’m thinking of Jim’s question again as we begin the sudden death round of our ridiculous little competition – Who’s Skinniest/Healthiest?  The salad ordering kicks off with each woman trying to one-up the last – one asks for dressing on the side, another asks for no dressing, yet another asking for no protein or dressing, just limp salad greens.  Camilla thinks she’s won, as she has countless times before, when she just asks for a hot water with lemon, claiming not to be very hungry when she looks smugly at me.

“Burger and fries,” I say to the waiter confidently, drawing glares from my companions as I realize it’s time I took myself out of the game.

The Six Sentence Story prompt this week is Draw.

 

A Grain

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My daughter has the best of everything. Her clothes are from the finest boutiques in town, her wardrobe rivaling mine in size and quality. Her hair has been highlighted and cut by my own stylist from the time she was small.    I’ve given her everything she’s ever wanted. Things she didn’t even know that she wanted. Private dance tutors, acting classes, beauty pageant wins, cosmetic enhancements.  We want her to be happy. I thought she was happy.

When her teachers told me that Riley’s interactions with another girl in school could be considered bullying, I dismissed it, taking it with a grain of salt. Didn’t all teenage girls argue? But then I met the girl, Cassie, and her mother, in the principal’s office, and I saw something I recognized in her sad eyes. Riley laughed the whole thing off in the car on the way home, and I joined in, wanting to make her happy, to reassure her I was on her side, but my heart wasn’t in it.

Cassie is gone now. When I found out the news, I locked myself in my bedroom and cried the rest of the day. Visions of my own youth tortured me. Disdainful looks from the pretty girls with their perfect skin and shiny hair. My desperation to be accepted, only to have doors slammed in my face at every turn. I thought about the day I gave birth to Riley, when I promised her that she would never endure one moment of suffering.

Today, I dried my eyes and got on the phone to find my daughter a lawyer. They want to put her in jail, but I can’t let that happen. She’s my baby.

For Story A Day

A Phase

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The comments had gotten more venomous. All of Riley’s social media accounts had been shut down, at her parents’ insistence, when the backlash had reached its crescendo, but she couldn’t resist reading the articles, the blogs. The world was talking about her.

Her mother had argued she was just going through a phase, an adolescent cruel streak, during the first principal’s office visits with Cassie and her mother. They’d laughed about the meetings on the drive home. At Cassie’s dopey pink nail polish and out of control acne, her face blotchy and red and dotted with craters, her mother’s dumpy figure, her wash-and-wear muumuu dress and flip flops.

They’d found Cassie a week later under the 6th Street bridge, lifeless and cold. Bullied To Death!  The headlines screamed. Rumors swirled. Riley and her friends could be charged with murder. Her mother had stopped laughing, going into defense mode, getting on lengthy calls with school officials and lawyers.

Riley’s own words had come back to find her, in blog posts, in comment sections, on social media. Do the world a favor and die. You’re worthless. You and your friends disgust me. The world hates you. Go kill yourself.

She wouldn’t cry.

She wouldn’t cry.

That would make her no better than Cassie. And Cassie was a loser.

She breezed through the front door. She ignored her mother’s protests, as she always did. Her mother could never understand that she still needed to feel young. She needed to drive her car. She needed to live. She didn’t know how many more days of freedom she had left.

The reporters were parked in front of the lawn, converging on her as soon as she stepped outside.

“Riley!” A redhead ran over to her, thrusting a microphone in her face. She’d been there every day since the story broke, not giving up despite the fact Riley had never spoken to her. To any of them. “Do you have a message for Cassie’s family? Or anything to say about Cassie herself?”

Riley stopped, turning to face the woman, feeling the tears spring to her eyes. She slipped on her sunglasses before anyone saw. “I hardly knew her,” she whispered.

For Story a Day

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.

 

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

 

Wall

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Mary Shipman

“You’re so sweet to always volunteer to close the store!”  Madison poked her bottom lip out in a bizarre show of solidarity.

Bree straightened an antique clock.  “You’ll make it up to me.”  Though you’ve never tried.

“Stop by the bar when you’re done if you want to hang out!” I never do.  Madison gave her one last pitiful glance before leaving.

Bree finished her duties quickly, then leaned against the back wall in the secret place the store’s owner had revealed to her.  The wall slid away, and Bree hurriedly descended the dark stairs.  Her true friends were waiting.

For Friday Fictioneers