Tag Archives: friendship

Fiction: Walking Home Together (686 words)

Mara knew that feeling, the small shiver down her spine, and the small hairs on the back of her neck. She also knew there were only two people in the world who could get close enough to give her that feeling without her catching them first.

“Come down and walk with me, or go away!” she called into the seemingly empty alleyway—not even bothering to look behind her.

For a moment, there was only silence, and Mara thought they had decided to just go back to the tower after all, then she heard the gentle sound of shoes hitting concrete. He came up into stride next to her, as casually as if they had agreed to meet here all along. “Hello, Mara.”

“Colin,” she answered in what she thought sounded calm, hoping her voice didn’t give away the fact that her heart had skipped a beat.

“How are you?” he asked, so casually. Mara couldn’t help but wonder how he could do it.

“Fine. And you? How’s the team? How’s…” Mara’s voice caught on the name, “Diana?”

There was a moment’s hesitation, before Colin, as blunt as ever, came back with “Do you mean how she doing with the team or how is she doing sleeping with me?”

Mara let a desperate little laugh slip through her lips. This was not how she had been expecting to spend her walk home. Not at all. “Honestly, I don’t know. Both, I guess.  But—I don’t know if I actually want to hear the answers.”

Colin took half a step to the side as they walked so that his hand just barely brushed hers before straightening back out and continuing their parallel walk. “She’s fine, on bother regards,” and then quietly added, “Not as good as you. On both regards.”

Mara tried not to think about that. She didn’t need to fall back down the rabbit hole of dwelling on the relationship she and Colin once had. Because nothing had changed—No matter how much better she was than Diane, no matter how much better Colin was then any of her boyfriends since—their relationship was simply impossible.

“And Andy?” She changed the topic as quickly as possible.  Of course, she knew how Andy was, she’d hung out with him only the night before—and she had a feeling Colin knew that too, but he allowed the change.

“Andy’s good. Doing stupid stuff, as always, but he hasn’t been hurt in a long time. So—Progress. Ava is going to throw him a hundred days without injury party next week. If he can keep it together for another five days.”

“That’s a big If. A Real big if.” Mara laughed.

“Yeah—but he doesn’t have any missions between then and now—so…” Colin shrugged playfully.

“Colin. Are you honestly telling me that you don’t think that Andy can hurt himself within HQ?” Mara asked skeptically.

“Hmm,” Colin considered for a second, before admitting, “You’re right. We’re screwed.  It’s a shame—I wanted Ava’s cake. It’s delicious.”

“That it is.”  Mara concurred, as she looked up and realized they had made it all the way to her building. “I guess this is where we part ways,” She tried to smile, as she gestured at the building with her keys.

“Yeah,” Colin tilted his head back to look up at the building as if he might be able to see what was going on in her sixteen-floor apartment from here. “Do—you think we can do this more often? Walk home together?” he offered, in a small voice that reminded Mara of when they were kids, when Colin was still a timid boy who was afraid to ask for anything he wanted.

Mara took a deep breath. “Let’s not push it, Col. We are playing with fire here, and we both know it.” Mara fidgeted with her keys for a second, knowing she should leave it there, but she couldn’t help herself.  “Not often, but…occasionally, you should come by to walk me home.”

And then she hurried into the lobby before she could make him any more allowances.

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Posted by on April 3, 2017 in Stories


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Fiction: Stay Still (509 words)

When he woke up, he didn’t dare open his eyes, not yet.  He could still feel the angle of the bed, the gentle weight against his side that meant that Marjorie was in bed next to him, but he had no idea if she was awake or still asleep. He waited for it to hit him, that weight in his stomach, the regret they had discussed last night, the dread that they’d just ruined their friendship, that nothing between them could be the same. He waited for the sinking feeling that meant he’d just ruined the best thing in his life thus far.

It didn’t come.  He didn’t feel the dread that he’d made a mistake.  He just felt–safe. Comfortable.  Happy.  He hadn’t felt that in almost a year.  It was nice. It was accompanied with that nervous vulnerability because he knew that Marjorie could destroy his happiness with only a few well-placed words, but in a way, that made the whole thing better.  He had to suppress a little giggle as he realized what this meant. He had a crush on Marjorie. A proper schoolboy crush. How hadn’t he seen it earlier?

Clark finally cracked his eyes open, blinking against the brightness of the room, careful not to move too much in case Marjorie was still asleep. She was.  It was strange for him to tip his head to look down at her, a sight so familiar, yet so strange.  They’d known each other so long that this definitely wasn’t the first time they’d woken up alone in bed together, Marjorie was a cuddly drunk, and more than once Clark woke up with his arms wrapped around her as she slept it off, because if he tried to leave while she still had alcohol in her system, she would whine and cling to him more.

But those times they had always been full dressed. This was the first time with this kind of weight, that they woke up together, naked, satisfied. It was so different, and almost exactly the same. It was reassuring to see that Marjorie hadn’t changed in the night, she still felt as comfortable in her spot as ever.

Marjorie always turned herself in the night, curling herself into his side, her nose buried into his chest, one arm tucked under herself, the other arm stretched across his waist. He remembered laying like that back in high school, how somehow it managed to make him feel like she was holding him at the same time that it felt like he was holding her.  And now, skin on skin, it was amplified a thousand-fold.

Clark wasn’t going to move. He was going to stay there, perfectly still, until Marjorie woke up. There was always the chance that she would feel the dread and/or regret when she woke up, so if this was going to be the only time that he was going to lay here like this, feeling her skin on his, he was going to take every second of it for what it was worth.

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Posted by on March 29, 2017 in Stories


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Fiction: Hangover Mornings (514 words)

The sun seemed to be up earlier than usual. Perhaps it was just the hangover—but it was unusually bright today as well.  I pulled the pillow up over my head and twisted to face the wall.

“God, no.” A voice groaned behind me, and I realized that someone else must have been using that pillow for sun protection before me.  I tried to feel bad, but then I realized it was my pillow, so they could suck it.  I may have said so aloud.

“Annabelle, you are the worst of the worst, and I want you to be acutely aware of this.” Nancy gripped scrapping desperately for the blankets to pull them up over her head in defense.

“Nan, I could have left you to sleep on the nasty floor downstairs without the protection of a locked door from my early bird of a sister and her exercise videos.”  Nothing woke me up as quickly as a good little argument in the morning—or afternoon—whatever time it was.

“What I meant to say,” Nancy’s voice was muffled now, coming through many layers of blankets that had been pulled free of both our legs. “was of course you are the best of the best and I love you whole heartedly with every inch of my soul.”

I laughed into the pillow. “I thought that was what you said.” There was a shuffle of blankets and a shift of weight on the bed.  Nancy was sitting up now, and that did not bode well for me. “What in the world are you doing?”

There was a moment more silence then, “Holy crap, Annabelle. It’s 3:30 in the afternoon. We have literally slept the day away.”

“Yeah, well, we drank until 5 am. Where you expecting us to go out to brunch?”

“No—but,” I felt a tug on my pillow, and renewed my grip on holding it to my head. “Come on, Annie, we’ve got to do something with our day. At least a little productive.”

“No, we really don’t.” I flipped over, so the pillow was pinned under my body weight, and everything went even darker. “We can stay in bed all day and call it good one.”

“Annabelle, I cannot understand you when you do that.”  She gave another tug on my shoulder, this time pulling a little bit harder. “We’ve got to do something—anything. Even something small. Please, I’ll never be able to go out drinking with you again if we don’t get something done.”

I finally relaxed and let her flip me over, the light bright red behind my eyelids. “Fine,” I groaned through the splitting headache. “Fine. But whatever it is, it better be a small kind of productive with no heavy lifting or loud noises.  Or next time you are sleeping on the couch.”

“Deal,” Nancy agreed quickly, and I felt her jump up off the bed with ridiculous bouncing and speed.  I was in for a rough afternoon, and I made the mental note to only drink with people whose hangovers were equal to or worse than mine.

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Posted by on September 22, 2016 in Stories


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Fiction: Finding (493 words)

Oliver made his way through the crowds.  He knew that he’d lost Finley somewhere behind him. But Finley would find him—right now he had to find Alexa.  He was looking at everyone he passed, just for a flash of red hair or the slightly slanted smile.  She had to be here.  She had to be safe.  Finley was—well, Finley was whatever she was to him now.  But Alexa was the closest thing that Oliver had ever considered family.  She was like a sister to him, and life would absolutely never be the same if Alexa weren’t there to be a part of his world anymore. He kept looking and searching, knowing that with each passing face he was running out of options to find her—but he couldn’t make himself slow down.  In fact, in his panic he was making himself rush even more for an answer.

“Slow down, Jerk.  You’re going to knock someone over, and these people are injured, you know.  They don’t need to be jostled anymore.” Oliver had to back track, the voice took too long to register in his head to have him stop on a dime.  He slowed and turned to see that slanted smile pointed at him.  “Hey there, Loser.  I am so glad to see that you are still all in one piece.”

“Lex!” Oliver felt like an eight-year-old all over again.  He ran at her and pulled her up into a tight hug, only to jump away just as quickly when Alexa let out a small yelp.

“Bruised ribs,” Alexa laughed a little, putting a hand gently to her side, “Let’s try to be a touch more gently with me.”

“I’m so sorry,” Oliver sighed, stepping close to her again, “Are you okay? Was it really bad?”

Alexa gave Oliver a slightly haunted look, and understood that it was much like the look he would probably give for the rest of his life.  “It—wasn’t.  It wasn’t good, of course, but it absolutely was not as bad as I thought it might be.”

“Yeah,” Oliver just gave a little shake, “Yeah, I know what you mean.”

“Finley?” Alexa asked carefully, “Do you know?”

“Oh yeah. Yes.  She’s around her somewhere. Fine.”  Oliver straightened up slightly, trying to see if he could find Finley in the crowd.  “She and I are—well—I don’t know. We’re—“

“Complicated,” Alexa laughed and supplied for him, “You and Finley are always complicated though.  Is she okay, is the real question.”

“Fared even better than you and I,” Oliver grinned, “Barely a scratch on her.  How frustrating is that?”

Alexa laughed a proper, gut wrenching laugh, instead of the small slightly hysterical laughs she’d been giving recently. It was an absolutely great sound to hear.  “Incredibly frustrating.  But to be honest, I’m so glad that we can rely on something to be a constant.”

“Finley is definitely a constant,” Oliver agreed, “If nothing else, she’s a constant.”

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Posted by on July 26, 2016 in Stories


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Fiction: Dinner Party (408 words)

Amelia was hiding in the pantry.  She was a twenty-six-year woman and she felt utterly ridiculous, but she was not coming out anytime soon.

The door started to open, and Amelia made a rough random grab for anything she could be pretending to get, but then she saw it was Luke and dropped the pretense. “I was wondering where you’d gone,” Luke laughed.

“Get in here,” Amelia whispered, pulling him into the panty with her and closing the door behind him.

Luke wrapped an arm around Amelia’s waist, pulling her in a little bit closer in the small space. “Well, well, Amy.  We have guests, and you’re pulling me into closets.  How scandalous.”

Amelia gave him a little flick on the shoulder good naturedly. “Not. What I’m thinking about.  I just, can’t go back out there, Luke.  Who, in their right mind, when invited to dinner, brings three unannounced guests with them as well?” Amelia complained, letting her head fall against Luke’s shoulder.

“Ah, there is your first mistake.” Luke dropped a kiss onto the top of Amelia’s head. “You are assuming that Mary is now, or has ever been, in her right mind.”

“Yeah.  A dumb decision.  We don’t have enough food for everyone, do we?” Amelia groaned, “I’m going to have to cook more.”

“Or.  Or!”  Luke took a small step back and looked at Amelia as best he could in the small space.  “Or, I didn’t find you in the pantry. I found you in the bathroom. You’re so, so sick, you couldn’t possibly join the group again. And since you cooked all of today’s food with your bare hands, it probably for the best if we don’t eat any of the food in case it’s contaminated. It’s probably time for Mary and her friends to go, and as much as I would like to go out with them, I really should stay her and take care of my very, very sick girlfriend.”

Amelia felt like she had not smiled so widely in years.  “Really, you’d lie to your sister for me?”

“To get them out of the house, yeah. And maybe to get to hold you very, very close in a very small space again as a reward for my lying?” Luke couldn’t keep the sultry tone out of the end of his question.

“Maybe,” Amelia offered, “But not the pantry.  We keep food in here.”

Luke kissed her one more time. “Fair enough.”


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Posted by on July 6, 2016 in Stories


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Fiction: Purple (309 words)

“Do you remember that time that we dyed our hair bright purple?” Skyler laughed, lying flat on her back and gesturing into the empty air above her.

“Oh man. Your mom was planning to skin you alive when we came back to the house,” Michelle giggled as well, laying on her back with the top of her head just an inch away from her best friend’s head. “I genuinely feared for your life.”

“Your mom was just upset that the shade we picked was too bright for your complexion.  She thought we should have gone more for a violet than a lavender.”  Skyler let her hands fall heavy onto her own stomach.  “Why couldn’t I have had the super cool hippie mom?”

“Yeah, well, your mom actually made sure that there was food in the house to eat, and didn’t randomly disappear for four or five days at a time. Why couldn’t I have had that mom?”  Michelle countered.

“Oh you did,” Skyler sighed, “You know my mom considers you to be her second daughter.  There is a very distinct reason that she always made a serving or two more than we needed.  Just in case you showed up and your mom hadn’t fed you yet.”

“I know,” Michelle sighed, “Your family was amazing to me.  And I was so very lucky to be your friend. And I do know that.  But–”

“You still wish that your blood family was good enough that you didn’t need a surrogate family to stand up for you.  I get it.” Skyler replied.

Michelle reached up and tugged gently on Skyler’s hair.  “Thank you for getting me, Sky-Lie. I appreciate it.”

“Of course, Shell-Bell.  It’s what I’m here for.” Skyler reached up and intertwined her fingers with Michelle’s.  “I have no idea what I would do without you.”

“And don’t you forget it.”


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Posted by on June 9, 2016 in Stories


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BEST OF: Separation (736 words)

Originally Posted: January 9, 2015

“Maybe we shouldn’t hang out for a while,” Nancy suggested quietly.   Brody stared at her with his mouth half open from the passenger seat, but Nancy kept her eyes straight forward, steadfastly on the road.

“Why? Is this because of what Kathryn said earlier? Because I really don’t know what got into her.  It’s not like her to get so spiteful and so– I don’t know.”

“Jealous?” Nancy offered.   “She was jealous.  She didn’t like us hanging out together.”

Brody opened his mouth to deny it, but couldn’t come up with a better explanation.  “Yes. Yes, I guess she was. But like I said, it isn’t like her. She doesn’t usually act that way.”

“Exactly,” Nancy pulled into the parking lot outside Brody’s apartment complex, and turned off the car.  “That’s exactly the problem.  If this was the kind of thing that Kathryn did all the time, jealous of everyone and territorial of you, I could write that off as her being who she is.  I would advise you to maybe get her some therapy to look into her insecurity issues or something.”  Brody laughed in spite of the situation, hushing himself quickly.  “But she’s not.  She trusts you out there in the world with everyone and anyone, to not do anything.  Except when you’re out with me.  She sees–”  Nancy finally steeled her nerves and turned to look Brody in the eye.  “She sees something between us that she doesn’t like.  I’m not sure what–but she’s threatened by it.  And I don’t know if it’s fair for us to flaunt that in front of her.”

“She’s a big girl, Nan. And you and I are friends. She should be able to swallow a bit of discomfort for one of my friends.  I’ve swallowed plenty of it for her friends. I think…I mean…It’s just…” Brody trailed off, not sure what else to say to defend himself.

“Do you love her, Brody?”

Brody scoffed, “What kind of question is that? Of course I do.”

“Then let’s be honest with each other, here and now.  For her sake.” Nancy implored.  Brody realized a second too late what was happening.  He wanted to tell her to stop, like maybe if they never admitted it he could keep living in denial. If they didn’t admit this, then nothing would have to change.  “What Kathryn doesn’t like between us is attraction.  We wouldn’t dare cross any physical lines–you love her and I think cheating is a despicable thing, but we don’t interact like we’re just friends. Had you been single when we met, I don’t think we would be just friends. But you weren’t, and that’s fine.  So I thought that if Kathryn didn’t mind, then we were okay, we weren’t doing anything wrong.  But–clearly, she does mind.  And I don’t think it’s fair to her to keep saying that you just feel like a very good friend to me, when you don’t. And I fear that one of these days the temptation might become too much for us, and we’d both regret that.”  Nancy lost her nerve at the end of her speech, and let her gaze drop to her hands, turning more in her seat to face the steering wheel.  “And yes. I did practice that speech in my head during the movie, so it is a little melodramatic, but it isn’t wrong. I don’t think we should see each other for a while.”

For a second she allowed herself to daydream.  She imagined Brody declaring his undying love, embracing her tightly, and insisting that he’d find a way to end it tactfully with Kathryn so that they could be together at last.  She knew it would never happen.

As for Brody, he knew she wasn’t wrong–nothing she said wasn’t true…but he’d been willing to deny it until now, take the best of both worlds, and hope that didn’t make him as bad a person as he felt it might.  However, with everything out in the open, things would have to change.  And he’d known Kathryn longer.

He reached out and gave her hand a little squeeze.  “Whatever you think is best, Nancy.”  She didn’t move or respond.  He got out of the car, and she drove home.   Neither cried or got upset, after all they were just friends, but they could feel the loss.

Until they met again.

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Posted by on April 4, 2016 in Bekah Beth's Best Of


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