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Monday, June 6, 2011

SHORT STORIES TODAY - FREE READS!

Confessions and Lies Wednesday has been cancelled. Excerpts from works-in-progress, quizzes, Homer's Corner, and other mayhem will be substituted instead.

We're continuing the free reads today. Several Astraea Press authors write short stories to word prompts. So far we have used ice cream and post office. This week the word prompt is chignon. Read the snippets and click on the author's name to get to the rest of the story.  We'd love it if you left a comment, tell us if you like the stories or should we post something else?

 Jack struggled to focus on the machine.  Just a few months before Jack urged the Jasper and Myrtle to purchase a new register.  The one they had was ancient and bad need of repair.  This was the brand new machine.  What could be wrong with it?
(To read the rest of this story, click on the author's name) 

 KAY SPRINGSTEEN

Kevin opened the refrigerator, unsurprised when he found regiments of food stored there. Soda bottles lined the wall on the right; in front of those, cans of soda. On the other side, two rows of yogurt containers held the line with a carton of milk. It looked a bit like a chess game being played between health food and junk food.
(To read the rest of this story, click on the author's name)

I wake up to the sound of feet running along the floor above me. My room is in the basement, so everything happening anywhere on the main floor? I hear it. 
(To read the rest of this story, click on the author's name)

"Congealed blood blackened Aunt Edith’s silk blouse. Its underlying color was unrecognizable. I only knew it was supposed to be green because she wore it during our unfriendly dinner the previous evening and I remembered."
(To read the rest of this story, click on the author's name)

JEAN JOACHIM
To read earlier chapters, click on links and scroll down.

MINT CHIP
CHAPTER THREE 
       Standing in front of the full length mirror, Nina applied her lipstick. She was wearing a tiny flower print cotton sundress in pink, tangerine and white. The scoop-neck bodice fit snugly and the skirt was full, making her waist appear narrower than it was. She applied the dark pink translucent lipstick and admired herself in the mirror, glancing at the picture taken of her five years earlier, taped on the mirror by Henry. Her long hair in a chignon, fifteen pounds heavier, wearing a dowdy dress, she looked matronly.
        She was amazed at the transformation her friendship with Clint accomplished. She was glowing, appearing years younger, even to her own critical eye. Of course the slimmer figure and more flattering hairstyle didn’t hurt. But she knew Clint’s attention had much to do with her reinvention.
        “Come tonight for a celebratory dinner. I’m barbecuing. We’re halfway with the play. Uncorking the champagne at 6,” was the message on her answering machine this morning.
For the past ten days she had spent every day working with Clint on his play. They sat around talking, arguing, reciting, writing, crossing out, erasing, sitting with nothing to say and then interrupting each other constantly. The creative process.
        Clint wrote the words and Nina recited them. She encouraged him with every look, every word. The supportive environment they created was healing…for her, too. She couldn’t stop smiling, even the man at the grocery store noticed.
         They were together night and day, finding excuses to stay for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“I’m trying a new recipe for French beef stew tonight, won’t you come by?” she asked.
“I’ve got to use up these sausages. I’m grilling them for lunch but there are too many for me alone. Won’t you stay?” he said.
The creation of the play was progressing rapidly and Nina was falling in love with Clint. She didn’t mean to, didn’t want to, but couldn’t help it. Sharing the play with him, something she could never share with Henry, created a bond, a connection she couldn’t deny. He was filling a place in her heart, a spot that had been empty for years.
        “I know, Fran, I know. I’m not in love with him…a little crush maybe. He’s attractive…like…yes, yes…you know. I’m sure he doesn’t feel the same way, we’re just friends. I’m not going to get hurt…how can I? No, no expectations, but…I can’t help it,” she confided to her best friend.
        She took great care getting dressed and applying makeup to look like she wasn’t wearing any. At six o’clock she tucked her lipstick into a small purse and walked out the back door of her house.
****
When he was with Nina, Clint wasn’t shy or uncertain, he forged ahead with his story, writing quickly, waiting to hear her read what he wrote. He was stimulated, not discouraged. The intensity between them was palpable and it was the driving force behind the creation of the play.
        At four o’clock, Clint shaved for the first time in two days and put on aftershave. That stuff always made him feel sexy.
        I’m kissing her tonight.
        He felt strangely nervous, like he was picking up his first date for a dance. But Nina was far from a first date. She was an experienced woman. He smiled. Making love to a much younger woman could be a drag.
        Older women knew more, he figured. They knew their own bodies and knew his body, too. Or they should! The idea made his pulse quicken. It would be his first time making love to a woman so much older than he, still, it excited him.
        “Okay, Dan. I get it. I know how old she is, so what? She acts like she’s thirty…and she’s built. Yeah. I know. Look I only told you because you bugged me, so shut up, okay? Have you ever had an older woman? Then how do you know?”
        He best friend was snide…implying Nina was hard up. But someone who looked like her…acted like her…could never be hard up. He wasn’t sure she would sleep with him, but he was hoping. He had a crush on her from the first night they met. Working with her every day made keeping his hands to himself almost impossible. The strain…if he didn’t have the play to distract him…well, this would have happened a while ago…if she was willing.
        “No, Joanne, look, I’m not a baby, just your baby brother. Yes. No. The intensity is amazing…she is amazing. You’d love her. You don’t need to tell me…I know what I’m…let me finish a sentence…Joanne? Calm down. I’m not getting married, I’m making her dinner. That’s right. Don’t ask me that…it’s none of your business. I know…I love you, too. Bye.”
        Clint put a short sleeve button down shirt over his broad shoulders while thinking about her. When they were together, he drank in Nina’s support, gulping it down as fast as she could pour it out. He knew she captured a small piece of his heart…the only piece left undamaged by his divorce, though he wouldn’t admit it to his friend or his sister.
He thought he saw a twinkle in her eye once or twice but he wasn’t sure. Was it there because he wanted it to be or was it real? Their chemistry was real. He felt it like a bolt of lightning every time he was with her, standing next to her, sitting on the sofa together, thighs brushing…and tonight he was going to find out if this fantasy of his could become real.

(to be continued next Tuesday)
****
A little bit about Sunny Days, Moonlit Nights 
Do you have someone in your past you would like to reconnect with?  Caroline Davis White wasn't looking for Mickey, now Mike Foster, her childhood crush, she was fleeing her philandering husband, seeking peace and quiet, time to reflect on changing her life. But there was Mike, saving her from a mishap...again, bigger than life and even more handsome. 

A well-known artist, Sunny thought she could escape, disappear back to the cabin where she spent her summers as a child. But she was wrong. Her husband refused to let her go. There hadn't been a divorce in Brad White's family...ever! And he wasn't about to start breaking the tradition now.  Could Caroline shake him loose and what about Mike? Where did he fit into her life?

Buy "Sunny Days, Moonlit Nights" here:

1 comment:

kayspringsteen said...

Oh you did NOT just stop at a cliffhanger! Woman, you'd better send me the next part before next Tuesday!