Monday, February 19, 2018

TUESDAY TALES - WORD PROMPT "COZY" - "TWO OF HEARTS" continues...




Welcome! Another episode today with the word prompt "cozy." Scroll down to return to Tuesday Tales. Thank you for stopping by. 

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Jen put her arms around him. For the first time, ever, Stan melted into her embrace, allowing her to comfort him. It shook her to her roots. Her heart swelled in their cozy moment.
“You’re not going to die, Stan.”
“You don’t know that.”
“I mean, we’re all going to die, eventually.”
“This isn’t living for me. I can’t write. I can’t teach. My mind is mush. I don’t know if that’s ever going to get better. It could get worse, too. The doctor didn’t rule that out.”
“You’re doing everything you can. Eating healthy, resting. All we can do is wait.”
“I hate waiting. I’m not a patient guy.”
“Is that why you’re drinking?”
“It reduces the stress. Relaxes me.”
“I get it. Just don’t overdo it, okay?”
“I’ll try.”
“I love you Stan. I’ll never leave you,” Jen said before tears choked her.
“I know you didn’t sign on for this. I’m sorry. If I could do it over, I’d throw that fuckin’ motorcycle in the Hudson River.”
“And I’d help you,” she added.
Then he’d kissed her. Passion between them rekindled, although not quite at the same heat level they had had before.  Without the cast, maneuvering was easier. Still, Stan’s potency and stamina had not returned full force. With effort, they each managed to climax. Uncoupling and catching their breath, they lay back. Stan laced his fingers with hers as he stared at the ceiling.
“That was great,” she lied.
He tuned his head to face her. “Great? I don’t think so. We’ve had great and that wasn’t even close. But it was okay. Better than nothing, at least for you, I’d guess. Quite a bit better for me.”
“That’s good.”
No point in arguing, Stan would see right through it. He'd nailed it –not great, but okay would do.
“Do you remember the first time?” She asked, rolling on her side.

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Monday, February 12, 2018

TUESDAY TALES - PICTURE PROMPT! "TWO OF HEARTS" continues...



It's picture prompt week. That means we write to a picture and no more than 300 words! Today we're in Terry's point-of-view as he flies out to the West Coast to spend the weekend with his wife, Clare.
Scroll down to return to Tuesday Tales. As always, thank you for stopping by. I hope you like our new banner.  


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   They’d had breakfast dressed in fluffy white robes by the picture window. It had been a sumptuous feast including eggs benedict, croissants, and champagne.  
   At breakfast, Clare started to talk and didn’t stop all weekend. Terry didn’t tire of listening to her. She had had exciting experiences, while he had simply lived his mundane life. She talked about famous actors she’d met, and directors, too. The group had taken field trips to studio sets and gone on location with film crews.
   Then there were the classes. She’d had writing assignments brutally critiqued in class by experts. Clare had confessed to being stimulated and scared at the same time. She’d missed snuggling up with him at night.
   “I didn’t realize how much you kinda take care of me.”
   “Me? You’re the one cooking and doing the housework.”
   “That’s not what I mean. You’re there, if there’s trouble. You bail me out. Help fix stuff.”
   “You mean the faucet?”
   “That and other things. Like fights with friends. I never realized how much I depend on you.”
   He grinned. He’d take all the gratitude he could get. “Glad to know I serve some useful purpose outside of being your lover.”
   She had that cute little smile she got when she was being flirty with him. “And you do that so well.”

   They had done the jacuzzi, then walked for miles, schlepping a picnic lunch and dining al fresco. They’d even found a secluded spot to make love outside. The two days had been a second honeymoon. 
   He hadn’t felt this good in years. Rejuvenated, his love renewed, his heart beat steady and his mind at rest, Terry hated to leave. But he had gotten what he had come for –a reminder that they loved each other, deeply, and nothing could break that bond. 


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Sunday, February 4, 2018

TUESDAY TALES - WORD PROMPT "ANGRY"



Welcome! Our word prompt today is "angry." We have another episode of "Two of Hearts" with Jen this week. Scroll down to return to the excellent authors of Tuesday Tales. Thank you for stopping by.

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The pot was empty. She refilled it and hit “brew”. Next to the coffeemaker, but hidden by the sugar canister was an empty bottle. Jen pulled it out. A flask of brandy –empty. She nodded. That explained why Stan had been drinking so much coffee lately. A chill ran up her spine.
“That piece of shit! He couldn’t fuck his way out of a paper bag,” Stan roared from the living room.
The image tickled Jen. Walking into the living room with the empty in her hand, she laughed.
“That’s funny?”
“The image of Carl fucking a paper bag is damn funny,” she replied.
Stan calmed. “I suppose it is. Didn’t mean it to be.”
“He said he’d be married to me if you hadn’t of locked him in his room.”
Stan looked blank for a moment. “I don’t recall.”
“Whatever. Anyway, I fired him.”
“You did the right thing.”
“Yeah? Now we have no lawyer and no financial advisor,” she said.
“You’ll find someone else,” Stan said.
“What’s this about, Stan?” Jen held up the empty bottle.
“What? I like a little brandy with my coffee sometimes. It’s not against the law.”
“You’ve started drinking again, haven’t you?”
“Not really. Just a little here and there. Helps me sleep. Calms me down.”
“Drinking decaf might do the same thing.”
He stared at her, his mouth set in a hard line.
“How much are you drinking?” She asked.
“Just a shot in my coffee or a little vodka in my o.j.”
“This isn’t good. The doctor said…
“The doctor said a little is okay. If it makes me feel better, relaxes me so I can sleep, he said I could.”
“But how long before it escalates? You’ve been down this road before. I don’t need to tell you, do I?
 “I know, I know. I can control it this time. I’m not going to end up like that. Really. It’s okay, Jen. Stop hounding me.” He picked up his cane and hobbled toward the bedroom.
Her eyes watered. Life, control, order, and peace seemed to be disintegrating into chaos. All she needed was Stan to become addicted to alcohol again. He’d kicked it before she came along. There’d be no way she could stay and tolerate alcoholic behavior. But how could she leave him? Not only did she love him, but someone needed to take care of him. Of course, he had the money to pay someone, but that wasn’t the same as the care you got from someone who loved you.
She checked her watch. It was time to take Willie and Queenie for a walk. Thankful for the chance to get away for a bit, she called to the pooches, who trotted over. She stopped by the bedroom and called in to Stan.
“I’m taking the dogs for a walk. I’ll be back,” she said.
He didn’t respond. Either he was asleep or angry. She didn’t care. She silently thanked Mother Nature for a cloudy, cool day. They hit the Great Lawn. Jen broke the rules by letting the dogs go off-leash. Willie barked at Queenie and within the blink of a large, brown eye, the two were racing around chasing each other. Jen shut off troubling thoughts and watched, amused as the pugs played. Why couldn’t life be simple like that?



Monday, January 29, 2018

TUESDAY TALES - Word prompt "hideous" - "Two of Hearts" continues...


Welcome! This week the word prompt is one of my favorite words, "hideous." I'm continuing with "Two of Hearts". Scroll down to return to Tuesday Tales. Thank you for stopping by. 


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Time to steel herself for another visit with Carl, the attorney, who was going to dump a hideous load of responsibility on her shoulders. She’d have to grin and take it. Stan needed her, and she’d not let him down. Jen’s shoulders tensed as she rode up in the elevator.
   “Jen, Jen, Jen. Jennifer. How are you?” He took her hand in both of his.
   “Fine. And you?”
   “I’m doing great. How’s Stan coming along?”
  “Improving each day.” It wasn’t a total lie, but it wasn’t the complete truth either. She eased her hand from his.
   “Come. Let’s talk,” he said, putting his hand on her lower back to steer her. She twisted away. He’d never done that before. And surely wouldn’t have if Stan had been there. Men she didn’t know touching her creeped her out. But not Terry. Why?
   He picked up a form from his desk, then joined her on the sofa. Uneasiness crept up her spine. Why was he sitting so close?
   “You need to sign these, hon. Stan could stroke out at any minute. And you need to be in charge.”
   “Stroke out?”
    Carl nodded. “Brain injuries. Who knows, right?”
   She clasped her hands together to keep them from trembling.
   “I don’t mean to scare you, sugar, but we need to face the facts. There’s no time to waste. Just sign here,” he said, pulling a pen out of his breast pocket.
She read the form, then, leaning over the coffee table, signed, then handed the papers back.
“Stan’s investments need to be tended to,” he said.
“What do you mean tended to?”
“Do you know how much money Stan has?”
She shook her head. “Not really. Not actual numbers. I know it’s a lot.”
“Honey, he’s got ten million dollars. It’s invested in pretty safe stuff. But you need to learn about that. How to handle it. I’d be glad to teach you.”
She stared at him as he leaned toward her, placing his hand on her knee.
“Sugar, I’m sure there are other things Stan can’t handle right now. I can take care of those, too.” He leered at her, his hand moving up her thigh.
“You disgusting pig!” She shoved his hand away and pushed his chest. He fell back against the couch. “Get away from me!”
“I didn’t mean to scare you. I mean, I’m Stan’s best friend. Who else would you turn to in your hour of need?”
“No friend of Stan’s would come on to me. If he knew what you did, what you want to do, he’d kill you.”
“Now, sugar…”
“Don’t call me that. You’re fired! Fired!” She yelled at him, then pushed to her feet and raised her hand as if to slap him. When he cringed, she dashed out of the room. Before she got to the door, she ran back, grabbed the power-of-attorney papers, and fled. 
   As she strode down the street home, one thought pushed out her outrage...What the Hell am I going to do now? 


Monday, January 22, 2018

TUESDAY TALES - WORD PROMPT "GREASY" - "TWO OF HEARTS" CONTINUES...


Howdy! Welcome. The word prompt today is "greasy." I am continuing with "Two of Hearts." Scroll down to return to Tuesday Tales and read the rest of the stories. Thank you for stopping by. 

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The buzzer sounded. It was the man from the service with the wheel chair. She let him in. He introduced himself as Pedro and shook hands with Jen and Stan. He got Stan into the chair. While the men fooled around, adjusting the device, Jen prepared a platter of corned beef sandwiches and potato salad.
She set the table and the three of them sat down to eat.
“Pedro, I’ll show you where the guest room is. It has its own bathroom. 
 “Thank you, Missus.”
“Please call me ‘Jen’.”
He nodded.
Jen produced a pitcher of iced tea and glasses. The three ate in silence. Tension tightened her stomach, leaving her room for only half a sandwich. The food didn’t rest easy.
“Dessert?” Stan asked.
“Brownies.”
“Made ‘em yesterday?”
She nodded. He smiled for the first time. She exhaled. Maybe she could reach him through food.
“I can’t be eating like this all the time. Didn’t you hear the doctor? Low cholesterol, low salt diet. Are you trying to kill me?” His voice rose as he spoke.
Jen’s control broke. She pushed away from the table and disappeared in the study. Sinking down on the loveseat, she woke up Willie, who liked to snooze in the sunlight. She blinked back tears and petted the pup. When she’d regained her composure, she brought the dog out, harnessed him and, with a curt farewell, took him out for a walk.
She headed to Central Park. Willie trotted along, happy to have an extra walk. She plopped down on a bench. Her stomach churned. Maybe the corned beef had been too greasy? Nausea washed over her. She ran behind a bush and vomited. Willie stood at the edge of the lawn, barking.
Jen headed for the restroom, where she washed out her mouth. Resting her forehead on the cool porcelain of the sink, she took deep, even breaths. Willie panted in the background. A feminine voice broke the silence.
“Are you all right, Miss?”
“Yeah,” Jen breathed. 
“You sure?”
“Yeah. Thanks.”
Willie barked once. Jen pushed to standing. She bent over and splashed more water on her face. There were no paper towels. The stranger offered her a tissue.
“Thank you,” Jen said, taking it.
She guided Willie to a bench and collapsed onto it. 
A text came. She shut her eyes and prayed that it wasn’t Stan, asking her where she was. Daring to open one eye, she plucked her phone from her pocket and glanced at the screen. It was Terry.

Did you write today?

She burst out laughing. She texted back. 

No. I survived today.

Terry texted back.

                                    Lol. The day’s not over. Go. Write.

She smiled. Returning to the house, Jen grabbed a Coke from the fridge, and greeted Pedro. Stan was taking a nap. Jen headed for the study, turned on her laptop, opened the can, and closed the door. Digging through a file, she pulled out a paper-clipped document. After consulting her outline, she opened a new Word document, and typed across the top.

Tickets to Oblivion


Jen hit her classical playlist on her phone and let the words flow. 


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Monday, January 15, 2018

TUESDAY TALES - PICTURE PROMPT - ANOTHER INSTALLMENT OF "TWO OF HEARTS."

  



I know I said last week was the last one of "Two of Hearts", but people have been objecting. So I'm continuing with this story this week, and maybe a couple more weeks. Only 300 words allowed this week. Scroll down to return to Tuesday Tales. Thanks for stopping by. 

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Jen choked down toast with peanut butter, changed into something pretty and headed for the hospital. There was no more avoiding it. Stan was coming home today. 
   On the subway she checked her email. There was a confirmation that the home care guy would meet her at home. She needed to text when the service that was bringing Stan home was on the road. She replied, closed her phone and leaned against the center pole on the train.
   Steeling herself for unexpected turns, Jen went up in the elevator in the hospital and strode down the hall to Stan’s room.  
   “It’s about time. Where the hell have you been? On a hot date?”       Stan barked as she came through the door. 
   His words slapped her across the face. She stopped abruptly, her head actually snapped back. She stared at him. “What?”
   “Where have you been,” he said more slowly, but with as much anger.
   “It’s not even nine, Stan. The nurse said not to bother to get here too early as the service wouldn’t be here ‘til ten.”
   “Where’s my newspaper?”
   Jen pulled it from under her arm and handed it to her husband. He made a big deal out of leafing through to a particular page. He struggled, trying to fold the paper. Jen took it, but he snatched it back.
   “I’m not a fucking invalid! I can do it,” he shouted.
   She moved back. Her eyes watered. She blinked back the tears. The nurse put her hand on Jen’s arm.
   “It’s okay. Let him do it. He needs to do as many things for himself as he can.”
   Jen nodded, but her pulse didn’t settle down. She took the flowers out of the vase and rolled them in a discarded section of the paper.


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Monday, January 8, 2018

TUESDAY TALES - PROMPT "TWIG" - "TWO OF HEARTS" continues...


Welcome! There is another installment of "Two of Hearts" this week. This will be the last one for this story. The story needs to remain a surprise and I don't want to give too much away. 
Scroll down for the link back to Tuesday Tales. Thank you for coming. 

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“Baby, baby, baby. Don’t cry. It’ll be okay. You have friends. You have support. The lawyer, the accountant, me. Honestly. Anything I can help you with. If you need me to walk Willie or help with taxes. I’m a finance guy, a numbers man. You have my number. Call or text me. Anytime. day or night.”
She stopped sobbing. Sniffling, she leaned back and made eye contact.
Stunned by his own words, Terry simply stared. He’d never called anyone but Clare “baby” before. His words shocked him.
“Do you mean that?”
He nodded, speech was out of the question.
She darted forward and kissed him, gently. Then stepped back. The look on her face told him what he suspected, that her action had surprised her, too. 
Her lips were soft and warm, even if only for a nano-second. He’d craved a kiss from Clare, and, though it wasn’t his wife, it lit his fire. Terry moved a foot away. Every warning bell in his head sounded.
“We should be careful,” he ventured, when he could string words together.
She nodded. “Oh, yes. Yes. Careful. You’re right. So right.” She licked her lips. Wrong! His gaze locked on her mouth, watching her. She bent down to pet the dogs, and took the twig Willie was chewing out of his mouth.  
“I’ve got to go,” he said. Time to leave while he still could.
She straightened and made eye contact. “But you meant what you said? About helping me?”
“Every word.”
She wiped her cheek with the back of her hand and smiled. “Thank you. Thank you so much.”
He gave a nod, glanced at Queenie and made a clicking noise with his tongue. “Queenie. Say goodnight to Willie. Time to go home.”
They walked the few steps to her house, with at least a foot’s breathing room between them. Terry nodded. “Goodnight.”
“’Night,” she replied, tripping up the steps.
Terry headed home. His body temperature returned to normal. What was I thinking? What did I say? What did she do? This is a bad idea.
As much as he argued with himself on the way to his apartment, he knew it was no use. He couldn’t desert Jen. She needed someone –she needed him. And he’d be there for her. After all, Clare had made it clear that she didn’t need him, and he was a man who needed to be needed.  

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