Glad to have a submission from another viewer, this week! I was a little shocked, due to the holidays; however, every new author on the site has potential to boost exposure for him/her as well as the rest of us!!
This week, you’ll read a great story by Heather Marie Maieli (note: her story is quite a bit over the word limit, but I liked the story and I’m thrilled to have some additions during this crazy busy time of the year). You’ll also see the next installment of Jenness Jordan’s series. Last, to round out the three, I’ll include a postcard short of my own (it’s been on the site, before, since it was the first [and only] story I’ve had published).
Happy reading, and I can’t wait to see you, next year!!
Butterflies and Whiskey
By Heather Marie Maieli
They say that you meet the one when you least expect. Freya Danvers wasn’t really sure who “they” were, she wasn’t even sure where the saying even came from, but it wasn’t until that night that she actually started to understand what they were talking about.
It had been a week from Hell. That was actually an understatement, it had been much worse than that, and her days off had not come soon enough. Unfortunately, none of her friends seemed to be around for the evening, not that she would have been much fun to even be around in, in the mood she was so stuck in lately, so Freya found herself venturing off to the local bar by herself. One drink, she told herself, then back home for some movie watching for the night. The thought made her sad, she hadn’t realized how lonely that sounded and for a moment, she resented the fact that she was alone. Her last relationship had ended over a year ago, and she had been pretty content with her single status. Until now…maybe it was that the leaves were starting to turn, the nights getting colder. Freya really loved this time of year, but it would be a lot nicer if she had someone to share it with.
The bar wasn’t that busy, and as she made her way inside and found a seat, she noticed a DJ setting up for karaoke. That should be entertaining. She was never one of those people to willingly go up in front of a crowd and do something like that. The idea of singing in front of a bunch of people made her feel on edge. Shaking her head, she turned her attention back to the assortment of bottles before her and caught the bartender’s attention. Once she got her drink, she really settled in, and started to daydream. As the music started up, she allowed herself to get lost in it, the stress from work starting to melt away.
Freya had been so lost in her own thoughts, that she hadn’t even noticed someone had slid into the empty seat beside her. The bar must have started to fill up because the seat had been vacant since she had first arrived.
Looking to her right her eyes widened slightly. The guy sitting beside her was not only attractive, but was smiling at her, a drink of his own in one hand while his other arm draped across the back of his seat.
She could feel herself starting to blush, and her cheeks flamed even more when she realized that instead of answering, she had just been staring…
“It’s um-” she turned the bottle so that the label would be more visible, picking at one of the corners. “- an Angry Orchard…” The words came out a bit slower than Freya had meant and judging by the look he gave her, he probably figured that she thought he was dumb or something.
He continued to stare and she swallowed nervously. “You know…it’s like a cider…hard cider!” she quickly corrected herself and offered him a tiny shrug. “Grown up’s version of apple juice.”
The guy laughed at this and shook his head, looking down at his own drink. “Yeah, think I’ll stick to whiskey…”
The amber liquid sloshed around as he gave his glass a tiny shake. Freya watched for a second, a bit tranced by it before finally looking away. Taking another sip from her cider and she shrugged slightly. “Well, ‘tis the season and all that…it was this or some of that pumpkin spice rum they’re hiding somewhere behind the bar…”
Freya couldn’t help but giggle at the face he made. After a moment, she extended a hand towards him. “I’m Freya…”
The two shook hands, and she couldn’t help noting how green Mason’s eyes were. They had a tiny ring of gold around the pupils and if you looked quickly enough, they seemed reptilian. Not wanting to be caught staring again, she quickly glanced away, pretending to pay attention to the woman who was now up at the mic, singing some country song.
In between songs, the two started talking, just some polite chit-chat at first. Freya learned that he had been a few years ahead of her in school and that they shared some similar friends and interests. They talked about work and their families, and every so often, she would find herself glancing back towards the karaoke set up.
“You gonna sing tonight?” Mason sounded as if the thought amused him, and Freya looked back at him, quickly shaking her head.
“No way!” Her eyes widened at the thought. “Not a chance in hell…”
Mason grinned and leaned towards her. “Oh come on…what if I went up there and sang something with you?”
He had to see the fear in her eyes, she pressed her lips together in a thin line, shaking her head once more. But there was a look of determination on Mason’s face and it was clear that he would not be taking no for an answer.
Standing up, he pushed his seat back from the bar and held out his hand. “When was the last time you just took a chance, did something crazy?”
“Well, I talked to you tonight didn’t I?”
Her answer seemed to surprise Mason and he chuckled softly, then smiled. “Just trust me on this…what have you got to lose?”
Maybe it was the alcohol, or the way the lights made his eyes shine. Freya wasn’t sure what made her put her hand in his, or why she allowed him to drag her up to the mic. She didn’t run as he picked a song for them to sing. There was just something about this guy, and as the song started up, so did the butterflies in her stomach. Freya hoped Mason felt it too, and it wasn’t until they had finished singing, and the bar had erupted in applause that she realized he still held her hand.
The night practically flew by after this and before either of them realized, it was closing time. As the bartenders started yelling for last call, she excused herself to say goodbye to some people.
As she made her way back from the departing crowd, she stole a quick glance in one the mirrored liquor signs on the wall and pushed a stray piece of hair from in front of her eyes. There was this flush across her cheeks and it took her a moment to realize that the excitement she was starting to feel wasn’t just from meeting Mason, but because for the first time in a while she had started to feel more like herself again. Happy.
Unable to stop a huge smile from spreading across her face, Freya made her way back to the bar. But it quickly faltered when she realized that Mason was gone. Puzzled, she looked around, most of the place had started to empty out, but she was unable to spot him anywhere. The sweatshirt he had thrown on the back of his stool was gone as well, and she could feel the butterflies in her stomach start to fade away.
Behind her, a bartended had reached out and tapped her on the shoulder. Freya turned, and was surprised to see the woman holding out an Angry Orchard.
“That guy you were talking to? He asked me to give you this…”
Confused, Freya mumbled her thanks and took the bottle from her, slumping back down onto her seat and sighed softly. As she placed the drink down on the bar, she realized that the label started to peel back once she moved her hand. Her eyes widened when she saw there was writing there.
‘It was great meeting you tonight. I hope I can see you again.’
He signed off and wrote his number at the end. The gesture was cute, and despite her disappointment, she still tore the note off. She didn’t know why she had expected more. She had only just met the guy, but for some reason, it just felt like it was missing something. With the note now safe in her pocket, she threw a few bills on the bar and grabbed her coat. Making her way outside, she went to start on her walk back home, when she heard someone yell out her name. Surprised, she looked around.
And there he was. Standing out in the lot, looking around as he tried to make his way through the small crowd. When he finally saw her, Freya saw his face light up. The butterflies were returning, and she held her breath as he approached her. He didn’t ask, didn’t hesitate. He just leaned down and covered her lips with his own.
It was a combination of the butterflies and the whiskey, and it made her head spin. No, it wasn’t her head…the world was moving below her feet…
To say that the kiss was perfect? Now that would have been the biggest understatement of her life. But it was definitely the start of something…
And Freya couldn’t wait to find out what.
This is the first submission by Heather Marie Maieli to my site. If you'd like to contact her, please email me at Tony@tonywassom.com and I'll forward your message to her.
Torn: The Reason (Part III)
By Jenness Jordan
Duncan, I love you. I am doing this for us. I really hope he knows this.
“You’re right, sweet stuff, He needs me to teach him how it’s done. But, it’s going to have to wait until I come back from the big boy’s room.” Luke replied with a big smile, heading to the bathroom.
While Luke was gone, I wanted to reassure Duncan that I still loved him and that everything that I said to Luke before was just an act.
(My Last Breath by Evanescence)
“I love you. I…” I began whispering to him.
He nodded with a small smile, wriggling his arms more frequently.
As the ropes were loosening around Duncan, Luke came back out.
I had to distract him and quickly.
“Luke, I’m getting cold. Could you please hurry up and come warm me up?”
“I will definitely warm you up. Pay attention there, Dunk. Maybe you’ll learn a thing or two. “
Luke straddles me, kissing my neck. Tears and trembles within my body wanted to come out. I looked over at Duncan to avoid blowing my cover, while Luke was working on the left side of my neck. Duncan looked so lost. The more Luke kissed me, the more Duncan tried freeing himself. Luke starts unbuttoning my blouse as my once controlled trembles surfaced.
He stops halfway down my blouse and asks, “What the hell is wrong with you? Why are you shaking?”
“I told you that I’m a little cold.”
“Bullshit! You’re up to something.”
“No, I really am. Look at the goose pimples on my arms and my chest.”
Luke looked down at my arms and then my partially exposed breasts.
I knew that would get his focus back. He always had a fascination with them.
“Yeah, I see them.” He smiled, blowing softly onto them.
“That feels better. I’m not so cold anymore.” I sighed, trying to sound convincing but not too convincing.
“I knew that you missed me, babe.”
“I’ve missed you so much, Luke. Don’t stop.”
This sucks! I hope this ends soon. I don’t know how much more I can take.
While Luke continued ‘warming me up’, I looked over at Duncan to check on him. He looked as if he was dying over there. The sparkle that was once there, seemed to have vanished. His face soaked with salty tears.
It killed me inside to see him like this, I just wanted to go to him and hold him. To tell him how much I loved him; and how much I hated Luke’s touch.
My attention focused on Duncan that I didn’t see Luke staring at me.
“Why the hell are you looking at him?”
“Luke, calm down. I was just looking at…”
Luke’s fist connected with my face. The pain consuming my thoughts, feelings, and body.
Awaking from my forced slumber, I found myself still tied up, but on a different bed in a different room. Luke hunched over a chair next to the bed.
Please, Lord help me. Grammy! Mommy! Duncan!
Trickles of blood coloring my nose and lips. Pulsating pain surged through my head and my stomach, from front to back.
I looked the best that I could for Duncan, but didn’t see him.
Where’s Duncan? Is it possible…No! I wouldn’t believe it. I wouldn’t believe that Luke hurt him. Duncan, my love. I pray that you are safe. I didn’t want to think of the possibility that he wasn’t. But, then again, I never thought that Luke was capable of all of this. Duncan knew though. I was alone and had to face it. If I didn’t do something soon, who knows what could happen to me. But, what can I do?
A circular light appeared and I heard what sounded like angels singing.
I didn’t think that you could die from a punch in the face, maybe I was wrong. Maybe I’m dreaming.
“No, Vicki, you are not dying and this is not a dream.” A gentle voice called out.
“Who’s there? I can’t see you.” I asked quietly.
“It’s Gram, dear.”
“Gram! But, how? I don’t under…”
“There’s no time to explain. You need to get out of here and get home.”
“I can’t. Luke has me tied up and I think that he still has a gun. I’m scared, Gram. I don’t know where Duncan is and my stomach hurts.”
“Now dear, you must calm down. There isn’t much time. You need to focus on those ties that are binding you and you will be free to go.”
“Just close your eyes, focus on loosening those ties and where you really want to be.”
(Taken Over Me by Evanescence)
“I’ll try.” I told her, closing my eyes.
Where I wanted to be is at home with Duncan.
For more information about Jenness Jordan, check out her site: jennessjordan. You can also reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Tony Wassom
The three of them met at the log, the same log they sat on whenever they had their alone time. Third grade was tougher than grown-ups remembered. Running into the woods and along the creek after school was the therapy they needed. New shoes muddied, thorns tore denim and flesh, falling leaves made the path slippery.
Whoever made it to the log first had the job of rolling it and taking the journal from the box beneath. Tyler made it first almost every day. His class was closest to the doors. The twins usually found him on the log two or three minutes after he sat and opened the book. Today, the twins walked, heads hung low, not saying a word as they tossed their bags and sat with thumps.
“I don’t think we can go home, again.” The oldest twin always took the lead.“ I don’t think either of us can watch him hit her, again.”
“I think we should tell Mr. Harris.” Tyler’s eight-year-old heart ached to help.
“No!” The younger twin glared, then turned his eyes to the sky. “There’s no one that can help. Not here, not at school, not up there.”
All three sat on the log, looking through the clouds.
“What should I write?”
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