Archive for January, 2016

The Next Scene

January 29, 2016

Ivy wondered if she was hallucinating.  Jake hated her art and the piece he said he bought had sold for more than a thousand dollars.  Now he’d taken her reflexive step back in disbelief as an invitation.  She narrowed her eyes.  Maybe that was why he had said it.  To throw her off, get through her defenses.  She had no way of knowing if it was the truth. 

            He glanced around the room and she winced.  There were full and partially full boxes stacked in the hall and the living room.  In practically every room, but she had no intention of letting him go any further.

            “Looks like you haven’t been here long,” he said.  “You haven’t unpacked.”

            “I’m packing, not unpacking,” she said.  “My parents’ things.  I have to get a lot of stuff out of the house before I can stage it to sell.”

            His brow furrowed.  “So you aren’t staying.”

            She shrugged and glanced around the room.  Her mother had gone for blue in a big way in here.  Light blue walls, navy slipcovers on the upholstered furniture, blue and white porcelain vases and cobalt blue glass.  Individually the pieces and the colors were fine, but combined with the bland maple of the furniture, it was just…she sighed, boring.  Traditional, staid and boring.  It had matched her parents’ personalities perfectly. 

            “I don’t know what I’m doing yet, but I can’t live in this house.”  Her breath caught and she turned away worried about what he might see on her face.  Every minute she spent here, she could feel her parents’ disappointment.  Their resentment.  The weight of it had almost broken her.

            “I’m sorry–,” he began.

            “For my loss,” she laughed.  The sharp sound of it cut the air like a knife and her throat ached.

            He shook his head and touched her shoulder.  She stepped away from the warmth of his fingers.  “Their loss, Ivy.  You filled this house with sunshine and joy, but they were too blind and too angry to see it.”

            “I tried.  I kept trying.  When my father had the stroke and mother was too decrepit to take care of him, I offered to move back.  They preferred strangers to their daughter.”  She walked over to the wide picture window and fingered the navy and white print drapes.  A squirrel ran across the lawn and scurried up into an oak tree still hanging to a few brown leaves.   Snow dusted the ground and the black fur of the small shaggy dog chasing after it.  The dog jumped up and down under the tree practically turning flips while the squirrel sat on a branch and chattered at it.  “See that dog out there?” She pointed and looked over her shoulder at Jake.

            He walked over and nodded.  “She belongs to the Johnsons.  Her name is Misty and she thinks she is a hunting dog.  Always chasing squirrels and rabbits.”

            “She chases that same squirrel up that same tree five times a day.   She’s never going to catch it, but she wears herself out trying.  Sometimes, it’s better to stop.  To realize you are never going to catch the damn squirrel, so you might as well give up and move on.”  Ivy shook off the melancholy that settled over her like a shroud every time she let her defenses down.  “I need to get back to what I was doing before my painted dries up.”

            He smiled and the dimple on his right cheek flashed.  “You’re painting again?”

            “NO!”  She inhaled and slowly blew it out.  Painting pictures was as futile an endeavor for her as chasing the squirrel was for Misty.  But unlike Misty, she knew when to give up. “I’m painting a large canvas to use as a background in one of my pieces.”

            He cocked his head.  “Glass on canvas?  How is that going to work?”

            “Not glass, crushed beer cans.”  She smiled at his grimace.  “I wash them out first.”

            “Glad to hear it.  So what kind of thing are you creating with the crushed beer cans.  Guess it’s not one of your mobiles if you’re using a canvas.”

            “It will be a picture of daisies.  Bright, shining, daisies.”

            “Your favorite flowers.  You always said they looked happy.”  He smiled and she smiled back for a minute remembering the good times. 

            “Remember when—” they said simultaneously.

            “You first,” she said at the same time he said, “Ladies first.”  Before either of them could say anything more, something vibrated and he pulled a phone out of his pocket and checked the screen.

            “Sorry, Ivy.  I have to take this, it’s the chief.”

            Chief of what, she wondered as he walked away from her, closer to the door.  As far as she knew, there were no chiefs in ice hockey.  Or any other sport for that matter.”

            “What?  When?  Right, I can be there in five minutes.”  He slid the phone back in his pocket.  “I have to go, Ivy.”

            Of course he did.  She shrugged her shoulders.  “No problem.  I have things to do, too.”

            He opened his mouth, shook his head and opened the door.  “I’ll call when I can.”

            She watched him walk down the steps and over to his car.  He left clear footprints in the light snow. “What chief?” she called as he opened the door.

            “Chief of police.  There was an accident and I’m on call. See you.” 

            Mouth open, she watched him drive away.  A cop?  Jake was a cop?  The bad boy jock was a cop in the town he couldn’t get away from fast enough.  Shaking her head, she closed the door.  Hallucinating or dreaming.  She had to be doing one or the other.  There was no way Jake Carter had grown up to be a cop.

Can you pick out the words we used as prompts?  Go check Keziah’s blogs for Wednesday and today and see if you can figure it out.  I find it fascinating that we get such widely different stories using the same prompts.

Keziah Fenton’s story

Writing Prompts–More of Jake and Ivy’s story

January 22, 2016

Keziah’s entry in challenge

Words for today: pieces of string, broken glass and David Bowie


Jake pulled up in front of the house where Ivy had grown up.  He’d made some calls and discovered this is where she was staying.  It would have saved time if Sue had answered his questions, but his sister insisted on maintaining her policy of silence regarding anything to do with Ivy.  After five years, he knew better than to batter his head against the wall of neutrality she’d erected in an effort to maintain her friendship with Ivy without damaging their familial relationship.

He grabbed the plastic container she’d left at the rink last night.  She’d slipped out while he was breaking up a fight between two of the kids.  After the game, he’d discovered she’d gotten the name and number of a local towing service from one of the parents.  The owner of the service was a relative and had been glad to pick Ivy up at the rink and before going to tow in her car.  He’d even given her a lift back to her house.   Anything to help out his niece’s coach’s wife, he’d said when Jake finally ran him down this morning.  Sometimes people in this town were just too damn friendly.

Jake walked to the front door frowning as he noticed the overgrown bushes on either side of the front porch.  Someone could easily hide behind them and not be seen until it was too late to call for help.  He’d bring his hedge clippers over and correct that as soon as possible.  Probably not today, he thought as snow began to fall.  If this storm dropped as much snow as the forecast predicted, he was going to too busy to prune bushes.

He rang the doorbell.  Waited and then rang it again.  She was home.  She had to be.  Her car was still at the repair shop and he’d already checked to make sure she wasn’t with Sue.  What did she think, if she didn’t answer the door, he’d just leave the container and go away.  He pounded on the door.

“You might as well open up, Ivy, I’m not going away without talking with you,” he yelled holding his finger down on the doorbell.  “IVY.  ANSWER THE DAMN—”

The door swung open.  The sound of David Bowie singing “Heroes” blasted out.  “Stop yelling, Jake.  You’ll have the neighbors calling the police complaining about the noise.”

He held a hand up to his ear.  “What did you say?  I can’t hear you over the music.”

She rolled her eyes.  “Ha, ha.”  She reached for the container.  “Thanks, but you shouldn’t have bothered.  Mom probably has forty of those things.  I’m trying to get rid of them.”

Her hand brushed his.   The way his body tightened you’d think she’d touched his groin.  God, she was sexy.  The pants she wore hugged her legs like a second skin and he ached to slide the oversized shirt she wore over her head so he could see her curves.  It looked like she’d filled out in all the right places over the last few years.  Not that there had been anything wrong with the way she’d looked before.  She’d always been his wet dreams come to life.


He jerked his gaze back to her face.  “What?”

“Either give me the container or take it away with you.”

He raised an eyebrow.  “Aren’t you going to invite me in?”

She shook her head and several rich brown strands of hair drifted out of the messy knot on the top of her head.  He almost drooled.  “I’m working.”

He smiled.  “I already figured that out.”  He brushed a finger over her cheek.  “You have a little blue paint right here and a David Bowie album is turned up almost to the point of pain.”

She flushed and rubbed at her cheek.  “Then you know I’m busy.”

This time when she reached for the container, he let her take it.  “We need to talk, Ivy.”

“It’s been five years, Jake.  We’re divorced.  There isn’t anything to talk about.”  She started to close the door.

He stopped it with his hand.  “I bought one of your pieces.  The one you called “Lost Dreams” made out of pieces of string and thousands of bits of colored broken glass.”

She froze, her eyes wide.  Then she stepped back and he walked into the house.

Writing Exercise with word prompts

January 20, 2016

My friend Keziah Fenton suggested we try doing a story with writing prompts for our blogs.  The prompt words for today were ivy, hockey, tires, baking and club.

Here’s what I came up with.

Ivy gritted her teeth and leaned forward over the steering wheel as if that would make it easier to see the country road in the driving rain and sleet.  What had possessed her to accept the invitation to a jewelry party of all things?  She didn’t even wear jewelry because unless it was 14 K gold, sterling silver or platinum, it made her break out in hives.  And to make it impossible to pretend sudden food poisoning or flu, she’d been talked into baking her decadent dark chocolate cupcakes for the refreshment table.  Her BFF was going to owe her big time for this.

A horn blared and a dark pickup blew past on her left spraying her windshield with muddy water decreasing visibility even more.  Her knuckles whitened and her jaw ached.  The car hydroplaned and she eased her foot off the gas.  The tires caught the pavement again and she blew out a breath.  Maybe she’d make it in one piece after all.

Headlights flashed into her eyes.  She flinched and her hands jerked on the wheel.  The right front tire hit the edge of the shoulder, blew and the car went into a skid. The next few minutes stretched and blurred as she labored to correct the spin and pull off the road.  She managed to shift into park and hit the emergency blinkers before she started shaking.  Sleet pinged on the roof and windshield.  Her hands cramped and she realized she still held the wheel in a death grip.  She carefully unclenched her fingers and let her head fall back against the headrest.

Something hit the window beside her and she jerked.  Light blinded her.

“Ma’am?”  Knock, knock, knock.  She wasn’t sure if the pounding came from outside the car or inside her head.  “Ma’am, are you alright?  I’m calling 911.”

Outside.  She shielded her eyes against the flash of light and lowered the window an inch.  “No, don’t.  I’m ok.”  The light played over her face.

“Ivy?  Ivy, is that you?”

Oh, hell.  She recognized that voice.  Five years wasn’t enough to erase it from her memory.  She doubted a lifetime would be long enough.  She closed her eyes and prayed he’d just go away.

But of course, he didn’t.

“Open the door, Ivy.”

“I’m fine, Jake.  Thanks for stopping to check.  You can go now.”  She pressed the control and rolled the window back up.

To her surprise, he left.  She watched in the side mirror as he walked to a pickup truck pulled behind her car.  She ignored the ache in her chest.  She’d had five years of practice ignoring it.

Unwilling to watch him drive away, she unhooked her seat belt and bent to retrieve her purse from the floor of the car.  She needed to call to let Sue know what had happened.  She could either change the flat herself or call AAA.  Either way she was going to be late.  Best case scenario, she’d get there in time to serve the cupcakes.

She was punching in Sue’s number when a dark figure appeared on the passenger side of the car.  Her mouth dropped open as a thin piece of metal slid down the window.  Seconds later, Jake was sitting on her passenger seat bringing the scent of wet wool and musky male along with him.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?  You can’t just break into someone’s car like that,” she said.  A penlight flashed into her eyes and she cursed.  “Stop shining lights in my eyes.”

“Just checking your pupils in case you hit your head in the accident.”

“I didn’t have an accident.  I didn’t hit my head.  I have a flat tire which I am perfectly capable of changing so go away.”

“Do you carry two spare tires?” he asked raising one eyebrow in a way that used to make her insides melt.

“Of course not.”

“Then you are shit out of luck because both of your passenger side tires are flat.”               “Then I’ll call AAA.”

“Ivy, I’m not leaving you sitting here alone waiting for a tow truck on a back road.”  He checked the time on her dash and winced.  “I’d wait with you but I’m already late.  I’ve got a white cloth I’ll tie to your antenna and then you can come with me.  You can either wait until the game is over and I’ll give you a ride home or you call someone to pick you up.”

Of course he was on his way to a game.  Sports always came first with Jake.  “Well, I’m late too, and I have people waiting on me.  It’s not that far so if you insist on not leaving me, you can drop me off on your way to the game.  I’m sure your friends will fill you in on what ever happened before you get there.”

“Nothing can happen until I get there.  I’m the coach and there are ten kids from the youth hockey club waiting at the rink for me to come so they can play hockey.  I think disappointing a group of 8 year olds trumps not making it to my sister’s jewelry party don’t you?”  This time he raised both his eyebrows.

God, she hated it when he was right.  “Fine.  You win.”  If it wasn’t impossible, she’d think Sue had set this whole situation up.  She grabbed her purse and they both got out of the car.  She stopped to open the back door and lift out the container of cupcakes.  They’d just freeze if she left them in the car.

Neither of them spoke until they were in the warm truck and he’d pulled back onto the road.  “What’s in the container?” he asked.


He grinned and shot her a glance.  “Chocolate decadence?”

“I didn’t make them for you.” But she’d thought of him when she made them.  She’d been thinking about him way too much since she’d moved back to her home town.

“Ivy, we need to talk.”

Yeah, they needed to talk.  There were things that had to be settled.  She sighed.  “I know.”

He pulled into a well-lit parking lot and came to a stop.  Silently, they left got out of the truck and walked into the building.  A group of boys and girls all suited up and on the ice already cheered.  “He’s here.  Coach Jake is here.”

“Sorry, I’m late guys,” he said.  He motioned Ivy to the seats and she sat down leaving a few empty seats between her and the other adults watching the ice.

“She your girlfriend?” one of the kids asked.

“No,” he said.  He looked straight in her eyes.  “Everyone, I’d like you to meet Ivy.  She’s my wife.  And she brought cupcakes.”