Creative Writing · relationships · Romance · writing

Fiction Friday Challenge: Queens of Men

queen of men pic
Image found on Pixabay.com

 

Synopsis: She’s 32. He just turned 21, but something about Dino is making Nikki feel as if a night with him will be more dangerous….more delicious than she ever imagined.

*This short fiction, was inspired by the prompt “You better hold on tight to your weave” on Marquessa’s blog*

~

Nikki tried hard to pretend she did not see Dino kiss Sandra on the lips by the bake case.

Nikki pursed her lips and cursed silently. As the Queens of Men owner with power and what some call a classic, regal kind of beauty, she shouldn’t be jealous. Dino was doing what he was being paid to do: Make lonely women happy. One rule: No sex with the clients(although rumor has it that all her men were breaking that Golden Rule…)

All of Nikki’s hired men were drop dead gorgeous. She screened the best, healthiest men of the East, heck—-of the nation, to work for her. Dino was the best, and even though every now and then their banter would go from mild to hot they kept it business as usual.

Some of her men propositioned her from time to time, garnering looks of death from Dino. Which annoyed her, since Dino got looks and intimate time with slues of women.

But now a busty brunette with a broken heart, held his attention and Nikki couldn’t help but steal glances from her table in the coffee shop.

If she was careful, Dino would not see her. Not her fault this was a popular café.

Holding the magazine to her face, knowing full well she should leave now, Nikki cut her eye at the two by the bakery case. Some women entered the shop looking married as hell yet still cut their gaze at Dino.

With eyes light as a gray storm, a beautiful gold tan and a body made of raw male power, who could resist him? Even a female corpse would rise from the dead to get with Dino.

He was her best and favorite client.

Turning her head down and finally enjoying some of her Mocha latte,while pretending to read, Nikki nearly yelped when Dino said, “What’s up? What are you doing here?”

Sliding on her professional, cool face Nikki avoided Dino’s grey gaze and laid the magazine down slowly. “Just enjoying my early morning coffee? You?”

Dino looked behind him. The brunette was gone. So were her tight, red clothing. “Just pleasing a customer.” He winked at her before sitting down at the small table. His eyes were now fastened on her neck, making her grow hot, right there. Damn eyes were lasers.

That’s Dino. Never a casual observer. He watched the oddest of things. Instead of hips, butt, and eyes, Nikki noticed he admired necks and hands. Or were those just things he admired on her?

“So, what’s next on your agenda for the day?” She asked him.

Dino surprised her by taking one of her hands in his. “Your hands are incredibly soft, My Queen.”

Ever on duty, he calls her by the name she trained them to call her.

He turned her hand over.

Amazing.

His gaze made even her palm sweat! Her Degree deodorant was liquefying fast, and she feared she would turn into a wanton puddle of embarrassment. Hopefully, he couldn’t read her thoughts.

She snatched her hand away but he quickly took her other hand from her coffee mug and rubbed a thumb on top of that one too. “Looong, piano fingers.” He murmured silkily, dragging out “long”. “You play?”

“When the mood strikes.” Her breath hitched and her other hand was now under the table, toying with the end of her skirt.

“Queen? You heard me?” Dino licked his lips.  She shook her head. Embarrassed to have been daydreaming of his hands playing with her.

“I’m sorry. What did you say?”

“Wanna get out of here?”

Nikki looked around the half empty café. The smell of warm coffee beans and cake was inviting. It was her haven.

“Yeah, sure.”

Ever the gentleman, he placed his hand at the small of her back and guided her out of the café and into the pleasant air. It was such a beautiful day. Bright with birds chirping and the streets seemingly paved with gold.

“You should be with Sandra. You are still on the clock.”

“I sent her away.” His eyes focused on the view before them. “Beautiful out here, isn’t it?”

Nikki wanted this to stop. He was getting far too close to her. Too close. He was far too young for her. It was a blessing that she looked to be in her twenties, but was in fact nearing thirty-three. Dino was just turning twenty-one.

Twenty-one!

“This is me,” she stopped near the parking garage. “I have to take care of business.”

Dino’s knowing, warm eyes suddenly took on a playful glint. “You’re not as hard as you seem My Queen. But,” he licked his lips. “You are a challenge I’m up for. You need to be broken.”

This time. Ohhhh, this time, his eyes performed a slow agonizing dance over her face, her lips, her breasts, covered with a pin striped top but his gaze made her feel bare to him. Then his tongue slowly swept his lips as he eyed her narrow waist and curvy hips, all the way down to her toes.

He advanced on her slowly, like a panther. She held her ground with her chin up. “You’re too young for me. If I want a man, I can have one.”

Something like hunger, or possession flashed in his grey eyes. “True,” he growled. “I don’t want you with some man anyway.” He paused. “And I can make you forget our age difference, if you let me.”

“I can’t- I can’t, Dino. This is against the Policy. You know that.” She heard him grumble saying something about “to hell with policies” and other expletives.

He took her hand this time, wrapped it in his large one. Nikki was amazed at how well he filled out his black suit. He looked tailor made for the army or the UFC.

“Ah,” he murmured. “Your hands are long enough to curl around my-”

“No!” She covered her ears. Why was she being childish? Only Dino did this to her.

“Then again,” he continued sliding his warm hands up and down her arms. “Your hands may not fit around the likes of me, I’m pretty big-”

“Shut up!”

“Doesn’t matter. You try to hide it, but I see it in your eyes when we’re together. When we talk, even how your breathing pauses a little when you’re around me.”

“Stop.”

“No,” Dino leaned in to her neck and inhaled. It was so erotic. Right there in public! “I knew it. You smell incredible,” he whispered. “I bet you taste just as good. Better.”

Nikki said nothing. She was probably melting on the ground by now.

“Let me propose something to you. You’re a business woman, right?”

“Of course!” Why was her voice breaking?

With a gentle, nearly airbrushed kiss to her neck, Dino said: “Give me one night with you My Queen, and I promise I will change your world.”

Nikki heard the rumors of Dino’s sexual prowess. Said he moved like an animal in bed. Said he was a Rock star in pleasuring women, making their bodies hum and sing. Said some women couldn’t handle all of him. He stole hearts.

A queen needed her heart.

Dino was exactly the kind of man she did not need in her life.

“And if you don’t?” Am I really agreeing to this?

Smiling like a wolf that caught its meal, Dino stepped back, his hand still holding hers. “I will.” He promised.

Nikki was seriously considering letting Dino in.

To rock her world.

Copyright© 2017 Erica Jean Smith

*Thanks for reading beautiful people! Don’t forget to leave a comment and join the discussion 🙂

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African American · book review · Five Star Review · Historical Fiction · Romance · Uncategorized

Highly Recommended: Wild Sweet Love ( a historical romance review)

wild-sweet-love-130906832

Book Details:

Wild Sweet Love by Beverly Jenkins

HarpersCollins e-books(2007)

ISBN: 9780061757549

5hearts

It has been quite some time since I’ve read a good, and I mean good historical romance. There was a time I read them all day. Thanks to Beverly Jenkins, my love for historical has been rekindled by reading Wild Sweet Love(2007). I seriously did not want to leave the story behind. It has roped my heart in.

Teresa July is a known outlaw. When she is finally captured, she is sent to a corrections house but released early for good behavior. One catch: She cannot go back out West but to Philadelphia to live in the city and learn to be a lady. For one year she can no longer drink, shoot a gun, or get caught doing anything wrong.

“You’re pretty combative aren’t you?”

“And you probably prefer your women a lot more docile. Docile women don’t make the newspapers.” (Wild Sweet Love, pg. 28, 2007.)

Madison Nance does not know what to think when his mom brings in a short haired, ashen, petite woman into his home. When he learns it is the infamous train robbing Teresa July he is astounded, but as the weeks go by and Teresa blossoms before his eyes, he can not help to think that maybe he is not destined for a princess but someone who is wild yet sweet.

The book has so many strengths: historical accuracy, fully developed characters and settings that place you square in the moment.

What really held my attention to this book of course was Madison and Teresa. Teresa is very strong willed and I enjoyed the progression of her going from appearing unattractive to Madison, to her “enthralling him” with her black Seminole eyes and skin. Their banter had me laughing out loud and cheering on the love I knew would sprout between them.

The juxtaposition of the two lovers was also important. Madison, a banker, used to be a gambler too. A wily one at that. Teresa is the gun slinging, fast talking rebel and little did she know, Madison is not all prim and proper as she once thought. The passion shared between them two was so darn hot and sweet; seemingly a perfect blend of tangy and spicy.

It was also interesting to read about a fascinating, hot headed woman of color. The characters were diverse of course and even though at some points I felt as if I were given a history lesson(complete with dates) instead of seeing it play out, the book was incredibly good.

Teresa July’s transformation was not forced either. I loved how the author allow us to see Teresa grow while still allowing her to remain who she was. Madison was by no means a weak male. He was an alpha male who respected and desired his alpha woman.

Definitely a five star book. Highly recommended if you enjoy historicals filled with romance and outlaws.

4.5 Star Review · book review · New Adult · relationships · Romance · Uncategorized

Here it is! ‘Low Down and Dirty’, the Review

Low Down and Dirty novel
Low Down & Dirty by Addison Moore

Low Down & Dirty(Volume 1) by Addison Moore

Published by Hollis Thatcher Press, LTD. 2017

Cover Design by: Gaffey Media

Received as an Arc from Author but is currently on sale on Amazon so head there now!

First of all, a huge shout out to Addison and Kathy for this amazing ARC!

When I have an Addison Moore book in my hand, I know I will be laughing, swooning and just binging on the words she knows how to wield so well in these books.

Low Down &Dirty is one such book which literally begins with me bursting at the seams with LOLs. Harlowe Hartly is down on her luck. She feels sick, just lost her job and loses her home- all in the span of less than a day.

She finds herself going to her bestie, Raven.

Raven suggests she live with her brother.

What Harlowe did not count on was falling for the dark haired, blue eyed male version of her best friend. Levi turns out to be super hot and charming.

But Levi has a few secrets of his own.

Annnnnd Raven issued a serious notice to the both of them:

Do not fall in love.

Let me just add a side note here in case you are still wondering if Levi and Harlowe’s story is worth it. Levi is the most honest and intense man ever. In the bedroom, on business, friendships, whatever- he has secrets but who doesn’t? Harlowe’s entire being just can’t resist him, even with a threat hanging over both of their heads…

As I said before, I prepared myself for giggles and pure romance where the guys’ words sweep you off your feet.

The banter between Levi and Harlowe, the surprising scenes, the tension was pure reading ecstasy for this book.

I think the word gift/gifting was used way too much, but otherwise this book was hot.

P.S. 3AM: Kisses fans will be pleased to reunite with old characters in this one!

Want more reviews of classics and brand spanking new books? Subscribe to my blog! Mobile users may need to scroll to the bottom of this particular post to join, or just add me to your reader/rss feed 🙂

~The Write Web

afterlife · Communicating with God · contemporary christian fiction · heaven · Romance · writing

Heaven, or Nah?(A short, fictional romance)

Image from unsplash.com/Designed by Ericajean using Canva

His hands crushed mine, not tenderly, but tender in love and fiercely. The honey brown orbs that were his eyes, pierced mine as he grabbed hold of me, already feeling me slip away.

I never seen my boyfriend cry before. But I am now. It hurts like no other pain.

Everything was growing blurry…two of him, twin tearing men. His white shirt, rumpled with a few paling brown coffee stains splattered on the front, probably from rushing into to see me in my final hour.

“NANINNNNNE! Don’t you dare leave ME!” He growled, his hands no longer felt tight on mine. Was I slipping from this world to the next so soon?

I said something, I think. My lips moved, a tear raced down my cheek as my truly handsome boyfriend stared in terror.

Did not matter how often we prepped for this moment.

All the prayers and all the research of my breast cancer. Late stage, lead us here. I guess, the Final Act cuts deep.

My grip suddenly felt ghost to me. Foreign. My hold loosened on it own as Eric leaned closer to me. My family were all crowded around me, their hands touching my legs, my stomach. Praying. Weeping.

A door slammed in the distance. Another reaction to my dying.

Adin’s warm breath reached my eyelids. My heart began a lub….DUB….lub…..so achingly slow. My lungs couldn’t catch up to any natural rhythm either. The pain meds wore off long ago.

“Nanine.” He slides his hand up the side of my arm. “Don’t. You. Leave. Me. I will chase you across worlds. Remember? I will-” My poor man choked up. I gather strength enough to look into his eyes.

What I saw shocked me.

Shocked me enough to make my heart hit a few beeps.

His eyes, pupils dilated, were deep pools of black. His full lips leaned down over me and my gaze stuck to his as his hot lips landed on mine sensuously in front of everyone.

Only Adin can make me feel this way. Even with my bald head, body nothing but bones from the chemo that ravaged my body, he made me feel sexy. Alive. Always have.

His hot gaze, fierce, determined, supremely angry, swallowed me whole. I believed for a full minute that he literally could chase my soaring soul to wherever.

Our connection have always been so strong.

After the kiss, he only moved an inch from my face and ran his hand down my cheek. “I will find you.”

Suddenly, I couldn’t chase air. My heart’s rhythm, a normal drum in my chest, ceased it’s beat.

I can’t! I can’t breathe! My heart won’t tick!

Oh!

The room, Adin, my family their echoes of pain sounded so far away. I mentally clawed for life. Clawed for it.

Adin’s face of anguish, his honey eyes were the last things I saw before complete darkness overtook me.

*

My lips were kissing something wet and very cool. Smooth.

My eyes were drawn so tight, they felt like lead at this point and I was afraid to open them. My memory slipped from me. Where am I ?

I risked opening my eyes slowly, shocked at the clarity without my glasses. In clear, HD panoramic view, there were lush trees and bushes everywhere, birds chirping.

Some cherry blossoms, floated by me and landed near my face. My face was hovering above clear, beautiful liquid, too amazing to just call water.

My body felt so…clean and lightweight.

Staring at my reflection, I was shocked my skin seemed to glow whereas it was usually pale. It had a hint of gold to it, but the ripples in the water from my movement caused my shimmery glow to vanish.

I finally pushed myself up and on the bank, startling a small squirrel prancing around, chasing its own tail.

The squirrel seemed more orange than brown.

Where am I?

“Nanine Bijou.”

A deeply male, familiar voice made my heart race. I look down at my slightly sun kissed skin and was terrified at how I could see through hands, as though through a veil.

The male approached me.

He was as naked as I am. Shimmering like me. Barely solid, barely ghost.

Oddly familiar too.

His eyes were large, his body designed and perfected in some lab probably and his lips had to be fashioned in supreme love by God himself. I felt nervous, giddy, confused.

He approached me but kept a safe enough distance. “Welcome home, Nanine.”

“Home?”

He reached out to me with his hand. Feeling lost and so utterly confused, even with all the beauty surrounding me, I take his large hand.

“I told you I would chase you from one world to the next.”

Familiar words. Familiar face and lips. Those eyes.

Why did they look so familiar?

Why do I feel…connected to him somehow?

___________________________________

Stay tuned this week for the short conclusion to this love story!

Please comment. Like. Subscribe and share if you like this post!

Thank you!

©2017Ericajean. All Rights Reserved.

 

Flash Walk Fiction · New Adult · relationships · writing

Betrayal Has a Name(a really short story)

A Woman's Face
Photography of woman’s face by John Rocha

 

Patsy swung the door open hard. Not caring that it banged against the chalky, white cheap wall of her studio apartment. Not caring that some friends and family were eyeing her with strict concern. She took herself out of there and fast needing to be the first to reach her friend Alista.

“Wait,” a firm touch and clasp of his warm hand, grasped her elbow as she tried to take that last step. Jonathan’s eyes roved over her body. A tingle broke through her, beginning from her arm where he touched her and pooled in her belly. Where warm, illicit feelings stirred.

She removed his hand quickly with a pop of her hand. “What do you mean wait?” She spat. “Let me go to her. She’s my friend.” Every word was enunciated, hard. Like each nail driven into wood. Meant to close the deal and seal the truth.

But they were both liars and Patsy knew this bone deep.

Now it was Jonathan’s turn to frown. He looked at the short, cute girl wearing the gray pullover hoodie and whose sweatpants never looked better on another girl. Her body was perfect and her small face even more perfect. Her lips always begged for his kisses. How is it that I ignored this girl in high school? Not only is she incredibly hot, but so sincere. “I think we passed that line two days ago- don’t you think?”

Patsy bit her bottom lip. Even had the decency to look nervous and guilty. She looked up at Jonathan. His eyes, were trained on her lips. Now she remembered. Never did he look into her eyes when they would all hang out together. He always looked at her lips. And when she spoke, he always backed her opinions. Her, Alista, Jonathan, and Coby were the best of friends since high school.

Jonathan dated Alista, the pretty pianist with the big, chocolate eyes. He dated Alista all four years of high school.

High school was over now.

Now, they were deciding on college, jobs, and ultimately if there really was a pot of gold at the end of relationships. They both knew they shouldn’t hurt Alista anymore. Alista has been hurt enough. By her family, this sudden accident and now this…

“We have to see her. She is at the hospital. I’m done with…with this.” Patsy crossed her arms over her small breasts, watching as Jonathan licked his lips.

What have they done?

What have they done?

Jonathan wrapped his arms around her. Not caring who may see them. “I told you before,” he whispered. “And I’ll say it once more. You have always been the one for me. Maybe if we tell Alista the truth, it won’t be as hard for her to take later.”

Patsy shoved him hard and made it all the way to her car door and was about to pull it open when once again Jonathan’s arms wrapped about her. She forgot how fast he was, being a former track runner and running back for their high school football team.

Her phone buzzed.

His rang- had a stupid ringtone.

Both rang at the same time.

She pulled hers out of her pocket. Alista’s cousin’s face bloomed all over it, causing a knife to stake its way into her chest.

Jonathan showed her his screen. Alista’s mother was calling him.

It is moments like these where it is inappropriate to think of the late day showers with Jonathan’s muscular, powerfully built body pressing hers into the cool tiled wall, grunting, groaning, praying her name aloud.

Or in the morning, with her body spooned with his. Excited and tortured by his teasing lips.The cries of near pain and ecstasy as Patsy realize he was indeed a very, very experienced lover which caused her to nearly lose her voice. Probably one delicious reason Alista stayed with him.

The reason Patsy should have left him alone.

“I want you, Patsy. Let’s tell them the truth.”

Cold prickles marched down her neck like ants. “I don’t want to take this call.” She swallowed. “I don’t want to tell any truths.”

“It could be bad.” Jonathan agreed.

This time it was just his phone buzzing.

Alista’s mom again.

*************

Stay tuned for the conclusion on Friday/Saturday! For more short stories visit My Flash Walk Fiction Page!

Copyright 2017 Erica Jean Smith

 

Five Star Review · Romance · Uncategorized

‘Made For Us’ by Samantha Chase (a review)

Made for Us (The Shaughnessy Brothers, #1)Made for Us by Samantha Chase

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 

 

made-for-us-graphic2

This is my first Samantha Chase book. After reading the blurbs on Freading for the Shaughnessy Brothers series, I had to feed my Contemporary Romance addiction!

Order your copy of Made for Us today!

Zoe Dalton, an interior decorator, just moved from Arizona after losing her mom and wanted to experience everything the east coast could possibly offer. She finds herself landing a job working for one of the most notorious, bullheaded bosses in the entire world. Who also happens to be incredibly sexy- Aidan Shaughnessy.

Aidan lives life on deadlines and habit. He and his family has adjusted somewhat after their mother’s death, but he has filled the shoes of second parent. However his harsh way of dealing with people has to change. When he meet Zoe, he thinks he can pull the same rank with her, but this fiery red head is not having it.

My Reaction:

Aiden is the oldest so it kind of makes since that he has always been there for family, but he definitely got on my nerves with his rigid rules and inability to adapt to change. Still, I had some pity on him. Samantha Chase created real characters who demand us to root for them or to loathe them.

What made the book frothy and fun were the supporting characters too. The interaction between them and the main characters gave even more insight into the psyche of both Zoe and Aidan.

On a personal level this book really speaks to me, because losing someone is hard and in a way it does change you. In the midst of that there is happiness. Not necessarily easily achieved but possible.

Also, this was a clean romance. Some sexual suggestions but surprisingly it was kept decent and smokin’ hot at the same time. I really loved that.

*Stay tuned for my review of Book 2: Love Walks In, Shaughnessy Brothers, #2.

Wanna read with me? Post your comments below so we can talk about this sweet, romantic series. Let me know how you’re doin’ 🙂

View all my reviews

Creative Writing · Romance · writing

‘Seaweed Eyes’ Conclusion (Short Fiction)

**Below, the story from earlier this week continues. Elesa realizes she and Casey have a lot in common.** PLEASE SHARE AND SUBSCRIBE 🙂

seaweed

Seaweed Eyes

Part 2

The feet are still large, those eyes are large too but no longer hiding behind glasses. His lips are full and not because there’s food behind it.

“Uh, hi,” I flip over my words. “I didn’t recognize you.” Now it is my turn to feel self conscious. Funny how that works.

This can’t be Casey! No Way!

Casey moves closer to me, slower. Oh God he is like one of the movie stars, or dancers I see on television.

“Hi Elesa, how’s it goin’?”

“Um, good I guess.”

“Elesa, help me with the table,” Grandma winks at Casey. I look down at my paisley top with the large, swirling design and my tights which make it appear as if I have some kind of shape.

Why am I worried over these things?

I take the red basket full of golden rolls and set it neatly in the center of the long table. Casey and his dad are in the living room watching whatever sport is on television.

I push back my hair.

He is not fat.

He is not gross looking. This is Casey Pullim. Never have I felt drawn to him before.

I am such a loser. Such an idiot. So shallow.

I go back into the kitchen and help Grandma set the napkins and utensils on the table. The chill from the screen door, sweeps the house along with the scent of cinnamon from Grandma’s scented pine cones.

I think of mom and dad.

We were just here last year watching a family movie. A Christmas Story to be exact. Just last year.

Before they got taken away from me.

Grandma said God took them. They were great parents, good angels, and the Lord needed them.

I need them.

I hug myself and close my eyes just as I feel warm air by my ear. “Need help?”

“N-no,” I slowly face Casey and his startling eyes. His chest fills out his shirt, I can see the indentation of muscle in his shoulders.

“I’m fine.”

“You sure? You were standing here for a minute and- well, it looked like you were lost or something.”

How sweet. He didn’t mention how my eyes are probably shining from unshed tears.

If he would have said I looked about to cry, I would have bawled right then and there all over his shirt.

“How are you and your dad?”

He stuffs his hands in his front pockets. “Good actually.” His Southern accent is beautiful. Why haven’t I noticed before?

I am such a darned loser.

“He found a job at a plant nearby, said it has benefits, good pay and we can finally give mom the beautiful headstone she deserves.”

I forgot. He lost someone too.

“Ready everyone?” Grandma announces.

Casey watches me. I can feel his gaze as I lower myself in my chair. I am next to grandma, he is next to his father, but we are across from one another.

After grandma’s really long grace over the food, we all dig in. I am ravenous for the rolls, but suddenly I am not so hungry for grandma’s lovely cooking…

I watch Casey and of course, he is not affected by anything. He digs in with gusto, chomps down on the brisket, slops the rolls in the sauce made for the brisket and shoves it on down.

Soft music plays from grandma’s radio. They are starting Christmas songs in late October already. But the mood is perfect. The sky is the color of jean blue with a stitch of pink and I can hear the crickets.

“God has blessed you, Anthony.” Grandma begins, passing the ice tea in a large glass pitcher to everyone. I pour a small amount in my glass.

“He certainly has. I got this job because of hard work, but also a little divine intervention. You’ve been prayin’ on my behalf little lady?”

Grandma laughs and waves her hand, banishing the thought. “Why? I have to. You’re our friend now. Even if you weren’t I’d still give God a request.” Grandma Olsa then turns to Casey, a twinkle in her eye.

“This handsome devil could stop traffic though. What happened to ya?”

Casey shrugged, his eyes slammed into mine again before back to grandma. “I met some dudes at the camp who loved martial arts. I always liked seeing it on television but could never really do it. I began going to the dojo with them.”

“That’s cool,” I say and sip my tea to prevent further talk.

“Well I see Princess Elesa is still radiant as ever. How are you doin?” His father asks me.

I tell him I am doing well. I left out the part about me mostly staying home, crying myself to sleep thinking of mom and dad, throwing up food after I eat so I can stay small and pretty and petite…

Casey eyes me curiously. I can’t believe I hated them. I saw them as slum rats who ate our food every Sunday. Lazy, slovenly folks who couldn’t get jobs.

Now, I am sitting before a hard working man and his handsome son.

“Hey, Elesa wanna come outside with me?” Casey stand with his plate in his hand. “Is it alright, Mrs. Night?”

“Please, you call me Grandma honey,” Grandma remains seated, her hands in a steeple position. “Go on you two.”

I breathe in a shaky breath. Casey takes my plate for me and instead of just sitting them on the side of the sink, he washes each one and dries each one. I stand next to him and place them in the cabinet where they belong before we begin our silent march outside.

I feel the moment of truth coming on.

leaves-autumn

His hand reaches for mine. I gasp as we walk out into the early evening together. Some kids are riding their bikes while others are simply outside with friends laughing and talking about whatever.

Casey’s hand is warm.

We sit in the long swing, the one swing in the front yard. He still clasps my hand.

“Look, Elesa-”

“Why’d you change?” I interrupt him. I didn’t mean to sound hard and scathing, but I don’t know whether to hate him or…

Or…

He pulls his hand from mine. I really do feel the coldness seep into my bone then. I need his hand.

“I was just kind of hoping that you’d y’know…fall in love with me.”*

My face is heated and now I see why he pulled away from me. He is twisting his hands nervously, they are white as milk.

“Casey, you know I have a boy-”

“I know. He is everything I am not. He is a few years older, more handsome, has more money. But,” he turns to me and takes my hand gently, I feel butterflies. He takes my whole hand, wrist and all.

“Casey I am so very sorry for ignoring you all this time,” I slap a palm to my forehead. “Geez! Listen to me. I am only apologizing because now you’re hot.”

I popped the same hand over my mouth. My stupid mouth!

A smile curls at the edge of Casey’s lips. “You think I’m hot?”

“You mean, you don’t know?” I say astonished he doesn’t recognize he is cuter than my pothead boyfriend Sam.

“Well, towards the end of summer, my buddies kept inviting me to places and a few girls even asked me out. I thought it was just so they could hang with the other guys.”

“No way. They wanted you, Casey. But for real you look good. I am happy for you.”

“Are you happy though?”

“Yes.” I bite my bottom lip. I also realize his eyes have always been deep and mossy, seaweedy, intelligent. His hair has always been thick and raven black. He was still the same, shy, caring Casey.

“I know you miss them. I miss mom a lot too. Drunk drivers are stupid. Deserve to be tortured in hell, really.”

“Yeah. I lived and the drunk driver gets to live in some fancy prison.” I said angrily.

“My mom died of cancer but it hurts a lot to know she kept it from us for so long. I thought we had years to go with her. I wanted her to take pictures of my prom, for her and dad to finally go to Hawaii…then she just…died.”

“Do you think she is in heaven, with God?”

Casey shrugs. “She ain’t here with me and that’s all I know.”

“Ditto. I’d rather them be here. I don’t know why good people always die.”

Casey takes my hand and boldly places it on his lap. “In that case, there better be a heaven.”

“I agree.”

“Come closer, Elesa. I don’t bite,” he chuckles. I smile and scoot next to him, lie my head back on the white swing. He begins to gently rock us back and forth.

I see grandma and his dad in the window. Grandma has taken out her large sized bible and they were looking into it, smiling and talking. She was probably teaching him more of the bible. My grandma, the teacher. Just like her daughter, my mom.

“So did ya?” Casey whispers, flicking back a strand of my blond tresses.

“Did I what?”

“Did you…fall for me?”

I give him the only answer I could. The one could seal the hole in my chest, the one that opens new possibilities.

I turn his face to mine and for the first time, with a boy, I am nervous.

He lets me run my hands up and down his face.

I am about to bring him closer when he pulls me to him roughly and before I can even blink, he is kissing me.

I kiss back wholeheartedly, falling into his lips, his scent of cinnamon and soap, of twin sorrows…

Copyright 2016 by Erica Jean Smith

*Inspired by Dialogue Prompt