Friday, February 26, 2010


Here we are at the end of another week. Congratulations to all of us. I've got a couple of awards I need to put up and/or pass on, but I think I'll do that next week. And I've decided no more big, thinky-type questions about the art and craft of writing for right now. For now I'll just leave you with a tad over 1500 words of flash fiction. Mind the warning, it's a bit more...romantic...than my last few offerings.

Springs groan in protest as he pushes through the screen door, runs his eyes around faded pea soup walls that once upon a time might have been a brighter shade of green. A tinny sound echoes in the thick air hanging heavy in the small, empty lobby as he steps over the basset sleeping just inside the door.

It takes him a couple of rings to recognize the sound of a phone.

Three long steps bring him to the counter. He dings the cheap little silver bell twice; wipes sweaty palms down his jeans, shoves his hands in his pockets.

The tick of the clock hand counting off the minute splits the stillness as he bounces on the balls of his feet under the muted whoosh of a slow spinning ceiling fan.

A dog barks in the distance. He slides his eyes to the door. The basset doesn’t move.

He snorts a harsh exhale; rolls his shoulders, cracks his neck. His shirt clings to his chest and back like a sweaty second skin. It’s already past hot and he wants her inside, out of the heat, somewhere safe where they can wait.

Impatient fingers tap a staccato beat on the counter. He bounces one more time and then gives up the fight, dings the bell again.

The gnarled little man in the stained wife-beater that comes out of the back room doesn’t bother to look at him, just plunks a dog-eared book on the ledge and holds out a pen.

He shrugs his flight bag up higher on his shoulder; snags the pen and scribbles something that might be someone’s name, makes up a license number.

The old man doesn’t bother to cover his yawn, just scratches several days of grey growth along his jaw line as flicks his gaze over the book, up and down him. “How long you gonna be stayin’?”

“Just tonight.”

“Eighty bucks.”

He nods once and slides his hand into his pocket, beyond grateful for the sealed envelope full of cash his dad had stuck into his bag.

The smile dies. His dad had known he’d need it.

He pulls out a small roll; peels off four twenties, hands them to the old man.

“Number nine.” The old man doesn’t bother to smile as he reaches down and pulls up a key; slides it across the counter. “Checkout’s at eleven.”

He nods again and spins on his heel. The basset’s eyes follow him out the door.

She’s waiting for him; leaning up against the wall, shoulders curled forward, arms crossed over her belly. She pushes off before the echo of the door swinging shut fades, falls into step beside him.

He reaches down, slides his hand into hers as his eyes scan the numbers of passing doors. It’s hot and she’s tired, even if she won’t admit it, and he wants to get her into a cool, dark room and off her feet.

He almost passes number nine; the number’s upside down. She angles her head and squints at it as he slides the key into the lock, jiggles the knob, pushes the door in.

Stepping aside, his hand skims the small of her back as she crosses the threshold ahead of him into the darkness. He follows her in, slaps at the light switch as she drops with a soft exhale onto the bed.

The smell of disinfectant hits him like a wave; he sends up a silent prayer of thanks. At least the place is clean.

The room’s everything he expected in the dim glow of a forty watt bulb. One double bed; one bedside table; one round table with two mismatched chairs.

He tosses their bag onto one of the chairs. A dozen long strides take him past the dresser, across the room to the air conditioner. A long forefinger stabs the on button and the unit kickstarts with a jolt.

It’s not quite cold air, but it’s better than outside.

He turns and makes his way back to her, drops to his knees in front of her, gentle hands cradling the swell of their unborn child.

Her eyes drift closed as he rubs her belly reverently; she hums slightly, runs her fingers through his short hair.

A small, satisfied smile pulls at his lips as he looks up at her through the tops of his eyes. “Won’t be long now.”

She shakes back her hair, exhales softly. “Another week at most, I think.”

“How you doin’?”

Shifting slightly, she rolls her shoulders, cracks her neck. “I’m fine.”

“You look beat, babe.” His hands leave her belly reluctantly; pull off one of her boots and her sock. “You’d probably feel better after a shower.”

She hums a non-committal answer.

“There’s a mini-mall next to this place.” He tosses the boot into the near corner, pulls off the other one. “I can get us something to eat and be back by the time you get out.”

He pulls off the other sock and they join their mates in the corner.

Her eyes drift open as a quiet smile curves the corners of her lips. “Or you could join me and go to the store later.”

He plants his hands on the mattress, pushes up; leans in and kisses her slow and sweet and lazy. A small shiver runs through him as she wraps long, lean arms around his neck, smooth satin fingertips tracing delicate patterns behind his ear.

His heart’s beating faster when he breaks the kiss; rests his forehead against hers as they breathe the same air. He slides his hands into hers; pulls back and leverages her off the bed.

She’s not close enough and he moves, one arm wrapping her waist, pulling her tight. His free hand palms her skull; he buries his fingers in the soft silk of her hair as he kisses her, open-mouthed, wet and deep.

Strong, slender fingers find their way under his shirt and trace the trail of his spine. Suddenly he’s on fire, heat and want igniting deep inside and he needs her like his heart needs to beat; needs to feel her skin to skin against him.

She breaks the kiss and pulls back. When he tries to follow, her hands hard on his shoulders stop him. Smokey eyes, dark and wide with desire lock on his as she rucks his shirt up and over his head.

He shivers and leans in, buries his face in her hair, breathing hard against the soft curve of her neck as her fingers feather over his shoulders, along his collar bones, down his bare chest to work his belt and zipper.

Her breath is a whisper against his skin as her fingers trace the hollows of his hips, slide jeans and boxers over slim hips to pool at his feet. He steps out of them and a quick flick of his foot sends them flying as he buries his hands in her hair and kisses her deeply.

He moans into her mouth as his hands glide down her back, work her shirt up and off. Her lips are swollen and glistening in the low light as she stands before him, pale and perfect, still the most beautiful thing he has ever seen.

His hands slide around her waist; fingers skimming up the soft, satin curve of her spine to unhook her bra, slide it off, drop it to the floor.

Her lips find his and her hands glide up his chest, over his shoulders, into his hair as he retraces his way back down her spine, fingers trailing along her waist to make quick work of fasteners.

She breaks the kiss, pulls back, breathing harshly. “Shower?”

He growls deep in his throat, low and fierce and thick with need. “Bed.”

A quick tug sends her pants over the flare of her hips. Heavy lidded eyes lock on hers as he leans in; cradles her head and kisses her hard, driving his tongue deep.

She steps out of them as his arms wrap her, hold her tight. He follows her down as she sinks onto the mattress.

A shudder runs through him and he growls again, low and fierce as she breaks the kiss. His entire body thrums with need beneath her palms as she runs them up and over his chest, fingertips feathering their way back down.

His hands on her shoulders take her down to the mattress, glide down her body to bring her legs up and over as she rolls to her side.

He crawls in behind her, fingers curling in the cascade of black silk spilling over his hand as he fuses them belly to back, shoulder to hip.

“John.” Her voice is low and smooth and slides right through him.

“It’s ok, baby.”

His free hand presses the soft satin skin over her heart; he feels the strong, steady beat against his palm as his tongue traces a trail along her elegant neck. He breathes her in; tastes sea and salt on her skin as her head rolls and she presses closer to him.

His hand glides along the lush curve of her body, hooks her leg up and over his. “We’ll make it work.”


  1. HAHAHAHAHAHAH I always loved sex before coffee!!! I never thought I'd ever say this but thanks Sarah.

    Beuatiful and poignant as always. I love the way you write, I can SEE them, I can see the dog, the wilting sidewalk, the ugly shade of green wallpaper. I can FEEL how hot it is, (thank God cuz it's freezing in my house).

    You really need to break that novel out and start editing, revising, or whatever it is you need to do to it. You have such a great voice you need to get it out in front of the world.

  2. ROTFLMAO! I really thought about putting the disclaimer on that this was not safe for reading before coffee. I'm glad this made you happy. :)

    I'm sorry to hear it's freezing in your house. It's cold and snowing here. But thank you for the very kind words.

    I have broken out the novel again, thank you for the encouragement, after a long while of pretending that it didn't exist and wasn't sitting there mocking me. I even sent 750 words of it to Roni for critique.

    So we shall see. :)

  3. Hey I sent something to Roni too. Great minds think alike.

  4. okay.... wow. that was wow. I loved it. So glad I am NOT a coffee

    What a way to start a Friday... Thanks. I might just read it aloud to husband this evening...yeah...good.

    Seriously, it was beautiful. I could see the scene but more than that I could feel his love for her. That is amazing.

  5. That was nice. Very nice! Perhaps you should have finished it ;).

    I am so glad we are blogging together. Your voice is unlike any others I read. Emotion runs through it making it possible to see and feel the places you take the reader. Fabulous write.

    Happy weekend, Sarah Jayne. Have you voted yet?!

  6. Well, my morning coffe is all but a memory but let me tell you that this kind of storytelling is good before, during and after any drink of choice ;-)

    That said, I too have to underline the sheer cinematic quality of your writing, and the way it makes the characters and the setting come to life.

    Having read this in a different context ;-) I must say that it works just as well when it's detached from the original setting: in a way it could be said that your characters are universal - for want of a better word - because they don't need a particular background to come alive before our eyes.

    Thanks for the great beginning of the weekend!

  7. Hi, Anne. They certainly do. :)

    Hi, SP. Hee! I’m glad I was able to give you an enjoyable start to the day. And I hope your husband enjoys it being read to him tonight. :)

    Seriously, it was beautiful. I could see the scene but more than that I could feel his love for her. That is amazing.

    Thank you so very much. What a lovely way to put it. And those are some of the kindest, most generous words you can say to a writer. I’m honored that you think I could do this.

    Hi, Amy. Thank you. And I am glad we’re blogging together, too. You amaze me with your fearlessness as a writer, and I find your voice unique as well. I always feel and see and hear when I read your work.

    Happy weekend to you. And yes, I have voted. :)

    Hey, Nym.

    Hee! I love my morning coffee and I apologize for any interruption of your caffeine enjoyment. :) And thank you for the very lovely words you gift me with.

    Having read this in a different context ;-) I must say that it works just as well when it's detached from the original setting: in a way it could be said that your characters are universal - for want of a better word - because they don't need a particular background to come alive before our eyes.

    I’m thrilled to hear you say that. I like to believe that most of what you’ve read is universal and transcends setting. I believe setting is as important as other elements, but I like to think I could transplant my stories to other locales and have them work at least as well. At least that’s what I hope so that I don’t feel I’ve wasted my time writing. Then I can feel good about my work as practice at honing my craft.

    Thank you for reading and your kind, very insightful words, and have a great weekend yourself.

  8. I apologize for any interruption of your caffeine enjoyment. :)

    LOL! No, no caffeine was harmed in the writing of that post! :-D
    What I meant was that by the time I read today's blog-post, for me it was gettin near dinner-time...
    Temporal distortions are a nightmare! LOL

    And yes, your stories and characters can be put in any "right new place" and they alway thrive!