LOVE GONE WRONG – Valentine’s Day flash fiction

‘Falling’ in love 

Kat paddled to stay afloat, her skin chartreuse-yellow in the deep, crystal water. Close up, Adam’s wet eyelashes seemed longer.

Male mascara.

“Jump with me,” he challenged. “Just from the cliff.”

Kat shook her head. No way.

“I dare you.”

I hardly know you, AND I’m engaged.

Taking in his wide grin, Kat’s treacherous heart was already jumping. Biting her cheek, she appraised the cliff from the safety of the plunge pool. It didn’t seem that high, not as crazy as the waterfall he’d just leapt off.

“Will it shut you up?”

“Perhaps.” His voice rode roughshod over her common sense.

Florence Falls - the jump

Florence Falls, NT – the jump

A few minutes later they’d climbed to the ledge of the tapering, ancient rock formation. In truth, Adam climbed and Kat had scrambled. The initial ascent had been easy, but soon Kat’s leg muscles were straining for scarce footholds in the rock face. The near-vertical climb just below the summit took her by surprise, as did the realisation that a girl’s modesty could be compromised. Kat wished she’d wrapped her sarong around the parts of her she prayed Adam wasn’t getting a bird’s eye view of. She stopped, one foot wedged in a rocky crevice.

“You go in front,” she panted—trying not to.

“Are you okay?” Adam voice sounded uncomfortably close, below her. He hauled himself up like a gymnast, and his chest and shoulders took her eyes hostage.

Kat wiped slick perspiration off her forehead with the back of a gritty hand. Beads of sweat ran down last summer’s bikini top, the perishing elastic ties holding everything in place, for now.

Man, it’s too hot for this.

Soon Adam was above her, leaning down to offer a helping hand.

“I’m fine, thanks.”

On the ledge, Kat stood from a crouch like a new-born foal. Looking down, she rehearsed the jump.

Why did it look less daunting from below? How did I end up being this guy’s babysitter?

Adam moved closer, and she flinched. “Don’t touch me!”

He took in the powerful, cascading water, and once again she was appalled at the horrific scars on his back. “This place is … ,” his gaze returned to her, “gorgeous.”

“Yep, drop-dead gorgeous.”

Adam laughed. His board shorts hung low, and Kat tore her eyes away from an arresting hip bone.

“Funny you should say that. Last year five people died jumping off waterfalls in Australia.”

Kat’s knees buckled.

“Sorry. Just kidding … you don’t watch Bear Grylls, I guess.”

I’m stuck up here with a joker.

“It’s okay,” he said, solemn now, and this time she accepted his outstretched hand.

They approached the edge, and Kat’s eyes widened at the drop below.

“I’m scared.”

Their eyes locked, and Kat’s stomach fluttered with fear and a thrill she wasn’t prepared to analyse right now.

“On three … one, two, three!”  Adam’s last word echoed across the cliffs.

 *

Kat surfaced first, gasping, her fear far behind her. She felt light, free, almost … naked.

Hang on … where’s my bikini top?

(A tweaked excerpt from Arafura – Blood, the Wet and Tears)

Now it’s your turn. It goes without saying that everyone owns their own work. 🙂

 

pinkheart

 

 

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44 Responses to LOVE GONE WRONG – Valentine’s Day flash fiction

  1. juliaphelan says:

    They always begin like fairy tales. The boy who spent months promising himself before every shift, that he would this time have the courage to say hello to the girl working at the counter, would end up emotionally abusing her for two years. When she tried to catch a cab after kissing a tall boy in the city, he would tell her they would not have kissed if it meant nothing, then he would leave her after four months because he was too broken. Relationships for me begin like fairytales and end like horror movies.

    I think that it was the fictional boys in the books I read as a little girl that shaped my relationship expectations. I was interested in Jane Austen which led me to believe the perfect man would be brave, strong and humble, with a genuine goodness and humor about him and a high respect for women. I’ve never been attracted to tight tops or bulging egg-shaped muscles. I was looking for the understated but exceptional boy, who for some reason always turns out to be absurdly skinny. Every boyfriend I have ever had has been hungry chicken scrawny, and being only eighteen years old I didn’t want to become a person who has a ‘type’.

    So after the last skinny guy broke up with me, I made a vow; a vow to not be so BMI picky and accept dates from not so skinny men.

    Enter Zac the concreter, Neanderthal eyebrows that hung over his eyes and a voice so deep it made me feel prepubescent. He wasn’t that skinny, probably a 5 on a size scale with 1 being celery thin and 10 being Arnold Schwarzenegger. But he was wearing my ex-boyfriends cologne, covering up the scent stain of cigarette smoke. He mentioned that powerful women annoyed him, and I wondered if I had mentioned that I was studying Law. At the end of the night, he leant in to kiss me. With the advantage of having his face zoomed in I noticed suspicious white powder in his stubble, so I immediately turned my face to avoid the kiss. As his stubble awkwardly grazed my cheek I wondered if the cocaine would give me pimples on that cheek and if so, just how ferocious were cocaine caused pimples compared to an average one?

    Then came along the 7.5; I was asked out to coffee by an ADFA pilot who had a rock hard six-pack bursting from underneath his shirt. Australian Defence Force Academy, I thought. He’ll have his shit together. But the date ended with him crying about his gym closing and that his favourite flavour of protein powder was not supplied anymore. As I kindly told him that he would get through this hard, hard time in his life, I figuratively rolled my eyes and checked out the non existent butt of a tall thin guy ordering coffee.

    This was going to be a difficult habit to break.

    • Oh, those Jane Austen men have a lot to answer for, Julia. ‘Types’ are a funny thing, and I wish you luck trying to break your BMI habit. Happy Valentines Day darling. xx

    • Marigold says:

      zomg protein-powder guy is so true! I’ve known a few, and they’re fun to flirt with but aren’t my type either (not bf material I mean). I laughed out loud more than a few times! Have you thought of a title, Julia?

      • juliaphelan says:

        Haha thank you Marigold I still laugh when I think about how awkward that date was! I haven’t thought of a title yet but I thought it might be interesting to keep adding to it with every unusual date (I’m sure there will be many haha) and see where the story ends up!

    • Susan says:

      I think I know where you get your talent from Miss Julia. 😉 Loved it.

  2. Lola stuffed the corner of the letter under the bread container where she could be sure Chris would find it.
    ‘Ha!’ she thought, ‘A nice little surprise for him to find when he arrives home.’
    Suddenly, with nervous afterthought she decided to check it one more time. Sliding the note out and opening the folded paper she reviewed her shaky writings.

    Dear Christopher,
    Firstly, thank you for picking me up from the airport last night and wining and dining me at our favourite restaurant by the river. You called me every night I was away to check I’d opened one of the seven cards you’d so eloquently penned and left concealed in my suitcase; one for each day. ‘Such a romantic man,’ I thought. ‘My true soul mate.’
    The flowers, the quartet of violins, the private terrace and your romantic proposal, gosh, last night was like a fairy tale.
    I awoke this morning to find your note telling me to enjoy my lie in and to let myself out of your unit at my leisure. I luxuriated under the doona thinking about our future and your beautiful words to me last night. I held the diamond ring up to the sunlight streaming gloriously through the window and watched the carats sparkle.
    I’d never felt so warm, contented and safe. Our lives could not be more perfect, Chris.

    Then I found them.

    Was one week too long for you to wait for me, my virile Narcissus? Did you endeavour to fight your carnal desire but discovered seven days was just too long a time to resist quenching your animalistic needs?

    The three long, blonde hairs on your pillow slip were hard to miss.

    At first I tried to come up with an explanation. Your housekeeper’s hair perhaps, I desperately grasped at straws. Then I recalled Mrs. Cheeseman’s short, matronly, grey bob.
    Well Chris, I’d like to say thank you for the good times. I can see this relationship meant much more to me than you.
    As the ancient Chinese saying goes, I hope you rot in hell.
    Lola.
    P.S. The diamond ring is in the toilet bowl and I’ve concealed the bag of prawns from your fridge somewhere special. I’m sure you’ll sniff them out eventually.

    Satisfied the note was adequately pithy, Lola threw her handbag over her shoulder and pulled the deadlocked door of the unit closed; a symbolic closing of one rather large window in her life.
    Trembling with emotion, she walked past Chris’ spoiled Afghan hound lounging on the patio and stopped. She’d miss Sheba. Despite her constant slobbering, Lola found her to be an affectionate old mutt and she felt sad she’d never see the dog again.
    Lola stooped to rub the dog’s neck just behind her furry ears. It was the place Sheba loved to be stroked the most.

    It was then Lola noticed the long blonde hairs all over the patio decking and the penny dropped.
    She glanced back in horror at the deadlocked door and wondered why she’d never asked Chris for a key.

    Happy Valentine’s Day Susan!

    http://www.pinkypoinker.com.au

  3. Carrie Rubin says:

    Enjoyed the story! I won’t write anything, because I’ve been writing all day, but it was a fun read. 🙂

  4. Marigold says:

    Love that scene, but it seems even better as a flash fiction. Or maybe I’m just a little nostalgic too? Whatever you did with ‘tweaking’ it definitely worked.

  5. Marigold says:

    Here’s my entry: A Steampunk Romance
    https://versusblurb.wordpress.com/2015/02/12/flash-fiction-response-from-the-heart/

    I stared at the present my love had given me. I always knew he was unique but this…

    “You do not like it?”

    I did my best not to cringe – I had forgotten he could now read my thoughts. When I created the formula, I thought it a romantic idea for a St Valentine’s Day present. Now it was now simply an invasion of privacy.

    “It is a symbolic gesture,” I gave my answer politically. “And I do appreciate the symbolism. However, the reality is… a little unpalatable.”

    He smiled and closed the box. “Then you do not need to open it again. You now know the depths of my commit to our love.”

    “Very deep indeed, if you had to break open your ribcage.” I eyed his chest carefully, looking for scars, but his unnatural healing ability must have already knitted over the wound.

    He laughed, actually laughed at me. “I did not need to break any ribs. The way to a man’s heart is up and under his ribcage.”

    My fingers reached out and instinctively traced his stomach, before trailing up to where his heart should be beating.

    “How are you still alive?”

    “That is a very good question, my dear apprentice.” He took my hand in his and brought it to his lips.

    “I am serious.”

    “Then you should propose a hypothesis.”

    My brows furrowed as I sorted the facts from the bias. “Well, since you performed the surgery without my knowledge I expect you operated on yourself – you would not trust anyone else with such a task. The obvious conclusion to draw is that you rigged yourself to a machine that could pump blood consistently while you removed the heart. Something that harnesses perpetual motion, or clockwork? Obviously you are not connected to this machine now, so I expect you have since replaced your heart with some smaller device that could maintain the flow of blood without the act of pumping, which is why I felt no heartbeat.”

    He raised an eyebrow in mock surprise. “Well done.”

    “I trust you had the foresight to fashion this new invention out of rubber?”

    “Some of it had to be, but it is most copper. It could not possibly work otherwise.” He smiled until he caught my expression.

    “With all that metal in your chest, what will happen the next time you are caught out in a thunderstorm? You will not only burn your feet and your hands, but your lungs too.”

    My love considered this briefly. “You are right. Burned internal tissue is particularly difficult to treat, and for a vital organ such as the lungs it would be… hmm… I will have to find a way to replace my lungs with rubber balloons. Oh, it will be tricky though, yes, to ensure the oxygen gets to the blood. How shall we go about this new project?”

    “Just put your heart back in your body please. And next year? Flowers or perfume, darling. No more nonsense with hearts.”

    • Yay, I was waiting for this gem! I had to look up ‘steampunk’ and I love the concept, who would have thought…?
      As I said on your blog – Loved it!! You have a great imagination, Marigold, enjoy your work! As in Black Swan Inheritance, there’s a feisty heroine and a dark sexy dude. xx

      • Marigold says:

        Yes, sorry, I don’t think I replied to the comment you left? I’m so glad you loved it 😀 it would be great if we can (maybe once we have a few more short stories) put them in a collaboration up on Smashwords. Since we’re posting on our blogs we can offer the collaboration book for free, but it might help get more readership. Was that part of the original plan? Or is this just me daydreaming?

    • Marigold, I’ll email you about Smashwords plans. It’s a fun idea. 🙂

    • Ha! Loved it. Crazy stuff but highly entertaining 🙂

    • juliaphelan says:

      Ohhh I would definitely like to read more of this! I really enjoyed “I do appreciate the symbolism however the reality is a little unpalatable” … It summed up a feeling I had not quite been able to put into words 🙂

  6. HazMo's Mama says:

    They glanced up at each other at the same time. She held his gaze across the table. Admired his end-of-day messed up hair and rumpled shirt. Appreciated his boyish features. He gave her warm, just-for-her smile and for a moment, she allowed her mind to wander to the later on. To an intimate glass of wine, slipping into something more comfortable

    “What’s Valentine’s Day anyway?” The curious face of her son smiled up at her.

    He jumped in before she did, rolling his eyes as he spoke. Moment lost. “It’s just a day that was invented to get shops to sell more things. Like chocolates and silly stuff with hearts on it.”

    “I thought it was about love.” The boy looked slightly crestfallen at such a pragmatic reply.

    “Love gone commercial mate”. He smiled at his son. “Love is every day. We don’t need to buy a love heart thing to show love”. Rumpled his son’s hair affectionately.

    He met her eyes again, they shared a smile. A gentle, weary smile. One that spoke of a love shared in the trenches of domesticity and child rearing.

    “Righto you, time for bath and bed”. Mother-as-drill-sergeant. Time for the final shift of the evening, one more hour to go. The wine was tantalisingly close.

    Later, much later, he brought her a cup of tea in bed.

    “I see you have your sexy pants on sweetie”. His eyes crinkled at the edges when he smiled. He climbed into bed next to her.

    She looked down at her favourite pyjama pants. Peter Alexander. Funky and youthful once, now they were faded and worn out. Smiled back at him wryly.

    “Love gone wrong baby! 9.30 and we’re on the herbal tea and in bed. My god. What happened to us?”

    He settled in comfortably, glanced over from his book. “This is our life sweetie. Don’t worry about it. Okay if I read for a bit?”. Ever pragmatic. She gave him a small weary smile.

    “Of course. Thanks for making me tea.” She finished her tea and lay down. Sighed quietly to herself. “Good night.”

    “Goodnight. Happy Valentine’s Day sexy pants.”

  7. A quickie, in fact a Limerick. But you did say poetry was okay, right. Plus it fits the them of love gone wrong. :

    There once was a girl named Suzy,
    Who was really quite a doozy.
    She left me for Joe,
    And Curly and Moe,
    And Jill and Ann and Lucy.

    Happy Valentines Day –Curt

  8. Marigold says:

    Reblogged this on Versus Blurb and commented:
    Lots of funny Valentine’s Day flash fiction reads! Check it out!

  9. Once again, Susan, a thoroughly enjoyable story. Amazing, the things we’ll do for love!

  10. A terrific read, Susan, as have been so many of your commenters pieces. Nothing like a little bit of steam and a few heart thumping palpitations to get one’s Valentine’s Day in order. Many thanks for the nudge.
    Cheers!

  11. Kristina’s entry has gone wrong, not just the love. Her take on Love Gone Wrong is at the end of last week’s post, and it’s a cracker! Find it here – http://bit.ly/1BelkGV

  12. Susan says:

    When I didn’t think it could get any better …. you cracked it Susan. xoxoxox

  13. Deborah says:

    Love it. Am afraid my creative juices just aren’t firing lately – I seem to be struggling with everything!

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