Absolute Write’s June Prompt

Ok, this month’s writing prompt from the Absolute Write website is Relationships.

Show a character’s approach to relationships in a short scene. A harmless exchange between mother and daughter? A submissive character overwhelmed by a dominant partner? A passionate lover’s quarrel? A forlorn, unrequited letter?

Use your characters’ interaction to show the dynamics of their relationship, show how they’re growing together or growing apart, or just have silly fun. Character descriptions at the beginning are forbidden this time around–let them speak or act for themselves!

Most of the prompts have been about unrequited love and mine will be no different. This scene, from my novel Echoes, is set in the sixties. I’ve always liked this. John, the main character is in love with Mary, his childhood sweetheart, but she already has a boyfriend, something he hopes to change. But things don’t go John’s way.

Be sure to check out the other blogs for more excellent writing.

I bounded up the stairs, two to three steps at a time each one voicing it’s displeasure at my weight and yet I felt as if I barely touched each stair. Buoyant would be the correct term I suspect.

The memories of last night replayed in a delicious spicy loop. For the first time I felt out from under the cloud of anxiety that had hovered over me and to tell the truth, I felt a pang of guilt.

I bounced down the hall. I had so much to tell Claire, so much to ask. Before I knew it, I stood at her door; my hand hovered over the doorknob but refuse to grip. I don’t know if it was self-doubt, guilt or a soft noise that caused me pause.

I took a deep loud breath to drown the internal bickering of my heart and my brain, or was it my brain and lower organs… and swung the door open.

“Claire, I found the hospital library…” The last word dragged out, fading to silence as the scene before me robbed me of the ability to speak.

Claire’s long blonde hair hung down her back in a shimmering wave ending just above the inverted heart of her bottom, naked and almost pearlescent in the afternoon light that spilled in through the door I held open.

That perfect bum perched on a pair of hairy legs that extended to the foot of the bed.

“Hey man, either close the door or grab a friend and join us, but just don’t stand there gawking.” Matt, the owner of the hairy legs, raised himself to his elbows and peered around Claire at me.

“I … thought… I…” Words just fell aimlessly from my numb brain over my equally numb lips.

Claire glanced over her shoulder at me, “John…”

“ I… umm.. I gotta go.” I slowly closed the door and backed away from it until I leaned against the opposite wall.  All of my new-found hopes lay scattered at my feet and the cloud resumed its familiar place over my head.

I just stood there, not quite sure what to do, what to feel.

Claire’s door opened and she stepped into the hallway wrapped in a bed sheet. She stood for a moment as if considering her words before crossing the hall and taking my hand.

“John.”

“I thought… I mean, last night…” The words still tumbled loose and aimless.

“John, last night was wonderful, more wonderful than it had any right to be, but that’s all it was. I saw a friend in pain and…”

“I see.” My eyes dropped to study my limp hand cradled between her small hands.

“I love you like I love all my friends, like Mary loves you, as a very good friend. When I see my friends in pain, I feel that pain too. This… last night changes nothing. I hope you understand.” Claire hugged me tight.

I can’t even begin to describe the emotions that battled within me at that point. It was a mixture of grief and anger, betrayal and embarrassment, guilt and arousal.

A small cough broke the embrace. Matt leaned in the doorway to Claire’s room, similarly draped in a bed sheet.

“What’s the scene, jelly bean?”

“Give me a moment, ‘k Matt?”

“Sure enough sweetness. You okay John?”

“Yeah… didn’t mean to intrude. Seeya ‘round Claire.”

“John?” Claire reached for me.

I walked away quickly to hide my embarrassment and to avoid any further conversation. I didn’t trust what would come out of my mouth.

The other participants

orion_mk3 – http://nonexistentbooks.wordpress.com (link to this month’s post)
Proach – http://desstories.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
Yoghurtelf – http://thefarseas.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
AuburnAssassin – http://clairegillian.com (link to this month’s post)
aimeelaine – http://www.aimeelaine.com/blog (link to this month’s post)
Della Odell – http://dellaodell.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
jkellerford – http://jennykellerford.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
LadyMage – http://www.katherinegilraine.com/ (link to this month’s post)
pezie – http://www.erinbrambilla.com/ (link to this month’s post)
xcomplex – http://arielemerald.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
You are here in the Blog Chain
dolores haze – http://dianedooley.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
Ralph Pines – http://ralfast.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
juniper – http://www.katjuniper.com (link to this month’s post)
Steam&Ink – http://steamandink.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
ElizaFaith13 – http://www.girlspwn.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)

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About Dale Long

Writing ambushed me from the shadows. At first I pushed it aside as nonsense, but luckily my wife and two girls saw the potential. Since then I have had an article published by Metroland, placed as runner-up and in the top ten in humour writing contests and various other contests. The icing on the cake was placing as runner-up in the WCDR's Wicked Words contest (130 entries) and having my entry published in the contests anthology of the same name. My entry was an exerpt from my upcoming novel, Echoes.
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24 Responses to Absolute Write’s June Prompt

  1. Pete says:

    Love the excerpt, it’s a heartbreaking scene, and it’s easy to put yourself in John’s shoes.
    Especially love the line
    “All of my new-found hopes lay scattered at my feet and the cloud resumed its familiar place over my head.”

    I really ought to do more writing. The AW prompt sounds intriguing though, I’ll check it out. It might encourage me to keep trying out new material

  2. Aimee Laine says:

    “I love you like I love all my friends, [snip]
    OUCH! <– 'nuff said. 🙂

  3. Ouch! My heart breaks for John. It’s never good to hear someone only loves you as a friend who you love them as more than that. Though I wonder if Claire really means that?

  4. Pingback: Love Hound | Diane Dooley

  5. Definitely the 60’s vibe with the “grab a friend and join or stop gawking” and “I love all my friends this way” type dialogue. Free love, baby, only it wasn’t always so free was it? Very enjoyable read, flowed smoothly with excellent pacing and dialogue. Well done!

    • Dale Long says:

      Thank-you Claire! Writing 60’s dialogue is hard work. There’s a fine line between not enough and over-the-top.
      The character, Claire, is definitely a free spirit. She started out as a bit player but quickly stole the book.

  6. Pingback: Weekend Roundup: May 22-28 with a Blog Chain | Neither Here nor There….

  7. Diane Dooley says:

    “That perfect bum perched on a pair of hairy legs that extended to the foot of the bed.”

    That’s a great visual line, right there. Poor John!

  8. alexp01 says:

    And I thought my character had a tough time in the unrequited department! Nothing beats coitus interruptus for an awkward, and heartbreaking, scene.

  9. Pingback: Absolute Write May Blog Chain « Insipid Observations

  10. Kat Juniper says:

    Ah, poor John, recipient of the sympathy lay.

    “I walked away quickly to hide my embarrassment and to avoid any further conversation. I didn’t trust what would come out of my mouth.”

    Been there, done that. Well, not the same way as in your scene 😉 but a feeling we can all relate to.

    “That perfect bum perched on a pair of hairy legs that extended to the foot of the bed.”

    That line threw me the first time I read it, as I thought the bum and legs belonged to the same body, but on re-reading it made me laugh.

    • Dale Long says:

      Kat, you aren’t the only one to have that reaction. i may need to re-write that.

      That was what i was going for. A relatable incident or emotion.

      Thank-you!

  11. ralfast says:

    He took it well, I wouldn’t have been ticked off, but I can see how he was crushed by this. Great scene.

  12. Della Odell says:

    Yikes! Poor John. I think he handled it rather well, not murdering them and all… :p Unrequited love is one thing, but to see the evidence. Again, I say yikes! Awesome scene! 😀

  13. Ariel says:

    that had really great romantic angles and really got me into the scene. Good Luck!

    Cheers!

    X

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