A fellow Google plus user is issuing several “Done to Death” writing prompts throughout the month of December.  Every other day, he will be posting a writing prompt for a theme that has been done to death.  The first of these prompts was issued a few days ago, so I am a little late, but better late than never.  In response to the “Kissing in the Rain” done to death prompt,  here is my story:

     Miranda looks up at the clock for what must be the tenth time in as many minutes.  Time seems to have slowed down and she is finding it difficult to concentrate on anything the teacher is saying.  While she is physically sitting in the middle of her social studies class, her mind is a million miles away.

     Mentally cataloging every item of clothing she owns, Miranda mixes and matches outfits.  She has to find the perfect one for her date with Brian tonight.  It is their first date and she wants to make a lasting impression.  Her thoughts are interrupted by the bell.  Grabbing her things, she flies from the room, heading straight for her locker.

     “So, are you ready for the big date?” Stacy asks, falling into step beside her best friend on the way to catch the bus.

     “I’ve never been so nervous in my life,” Miranda confesses.  “My stomach is in knots right now.  Will you come to my house and help me pick out something to wear.”

     “Where else did you think I’d be this afternoon?”  Stacy nudges Miranda with her shoulder.  They get on the bus and slide into their usual seats.

     “I have nothing to wear,” Miranda flops down onto her bed which is covered in discarded clothing after rummaging in her closet for the last two hours.

     Stacy is still searching through Miranda’s closet.  “Why are you stressing so much?  He clearly already likes you or he wouldn’t have asked you out.  Here,” she hands Miranda a casual jersey knit dress.

     “That’s so plain.”

     “Yeah, but it’s also comfortable so you won’t be stressing over a wardrobe malfunction.  And we can dress it up with accessories.”

     Resigned to the belief that she has nothing better to wear, Miranda changes into the dress that Stacy has chosen for her.  Stacy moves on to selecting accessories, looking through Miranda’s shoes and belts before digging through her stash of jewelry.  Once the girls are satisfied with Stacy’s selections, they get to work styling Miranda’s hair.

     “So where is he taking you?”

     “We’re meeting at the theater.  I’m not sure…”

     “Whoa, you’re meeting him there?  He’s not picking you up?” Stacy interrupts.

     “Yeah, is that a bad thing?  I knew it.  I’m not going.  It’s probably just some Carrie type setup anyway.”  Miranda gets up and starts taking off her jewelry.

     Stacy grabs her by the arms and looks Miranda in the eye.  “Slow down there.  I’m sure there is a good reason he can’t pick you up.  Let’s not get too hasty.”  Miranda takes a deep, calming breath and sits back down on her bed so that Stacy can finish doing her makeup.  “What time are you supposed to meet him?”

     “He told me to meet him at 7:30.”

     “Good.  That means that you have another hour to get ready before you have to head out.  You’re gonna look so good that even if he thought about playing some kind of prank on you, he’ll change his mind when he sees you.”

     Finally, the time has come for Miranda to head out.  She is walking to the theater and wants to make sure that she has enough time to get there without working up a sweat from having to rush.  A block from the theater, it begins to drizzle.  Oh great, Miranda thinks picking up speed.  She doesn’t have an umbrella and the rain will wreck havoc on her hair if she doesn’t hurry up and get inside the theater.

     Out of nowhere, she is caught in a sudden downpour.  There’s no way I can let Brian see me like this.  Miranda slips under the awning of a nearby shop that is closed.  Across the street, she can see several of her classmates, but there is no sign of Brian anywhere.  Slipping out from under the awning, Miranda turns back, hoping to get home before anyone sees her looking like a wet mop.  She’ll just call Brian later and tell him she wasn’t feeling well or something.

     Up ahead, she sees Brian heading in her direction, but he doesn’t seem to be alone.  Miranda doesn’t recognize the girl that is chatting away with him, under her bubble umbrella, completely dry and looking gorgeous.  The knot that has been in the pit of Miranda’s stomach all day tightens and she thinks she might vomit.  Turning down the nearby alley, she leans against the brick building, breathing heavily, trying to make her world stop spinning.  She can hear their voices getting louder as they get closer.

     Moving further along the alley, Miranda slips into the shadow, hoping to remain hidden. To her dismay, Brian and the mysterious female turn into the alley instead of walking past.  The girl is giggling and the sound is like nails racking across a chalkboard, in Miranda’s ears.  She wants no part of whatever is about to go down, but she is stuck where she is if she doesn’t want to bring any attention to herself.

     Brian leans down towards the girl and Miranda squeezes her eyes shut, not wanting to see her date locking lips with another girl.  When she opens her eyes again, she sees the girl  has dropped her umbrella and is all over Brian, kissing on his neck, probably giving him a hickey, Miranda thinks in disgust.    She tries to move deeper into the alley, but bumps into a trash can, sending the lid clattering to the ground.  Looking behind her, she sees the lid spiraling in place.

     Worrying that the sound has drawn the attention of her unwanted guests, Miranda tries to slip out the other end of the alley without making any more noise.  She isn’t fast enough and feels a hand clamp around her wrist.

     “Miranda?”  She doesn’t want to look at him, but something about Brian’s voice seems off.

     “Just let me go, Brian.”  She tries to pull her wrist free, but it is no use.

     “Miranda,” Brian says again, but this time, her name comes out in a choked gasp.

     “Oh my god, Brian,” Miranda manages to free her wrist from Brian’s loosened grip.  Instead of the cocky, self assured smirk she was expecting, Miranda finds Brian’s wide, frightened gaze staring back at her.  His left hand is pressed against the right side of his neck.  Along with the rain dripping from his fingers, is something red.  Pulling Brian’s hand away from his neck, Miranda sees two small puncture wounds that are dribbling blood.

     She looks down the alley, but there is no sign of the strange girl that was there just moments ago.  Miranda slowly begins to realize that what she mistook for a kiss in the rain was something far worse.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles  FreeDigitalPhotos.net

     For the last four years, I’ve been “trying my hand” at this writing thing.  I know that this is something I can truly see myself doing full time.  In the first month alone, I had amassed a collection of 7 short stories and poems.  Then just a few months later, I found NaNoWriMo and I actually created a novel, something I thought beyond my abilities.

     So, after four years, I should have a nice lengthy collection, right?  I should have short stories and poems coming out of the woodworks.  After participating in NaNoWriMo three years in a row, I should have three novels complete and simply needing polishing, right?  Wrong.  I didn’t know just how wrong until I came across authonomy.com, a site created by HarperCollins Publishing that allows writers to share their work with readers, editors and publishers with the possibility of getting published by HarperCollins.  The site requires any work that you share to consist of a minimum of 10,000 words.

     My first novel was shared with fellow writers earlier this year and, after their helpful feedback, requires a lot more editing before I am ready to share it on authonomy.com.  The second novel is only about halfway written and the third is, well only a third written.  I couldn’t finish the second and third because the more I wrote them, the more I found things that didn’t work with the first or that didn’t make sense.  So with the ever evolving first novel still incomplete, I chose to sideline the other novels and concentrate my efforts on the first novel.

     Without an actual novel to share, or even a part of one that I was willing to share, I decided to compile most of my poems and short stories.  With the exception of a handful, I loaded them all, one by one, each representing a “chapter”.  I watched the number climb; 7, 10, 13, until I had a total of 17 “chapters”.  I was feeling pretty good about this.  17 poems and short stories, that’s not a shabby number.  But the number that was shabby, the word count.  Somehow, all of those works only accounted for 6669 words.  All these years and all the writing I thought I had been doing and this was all I could scrape together?

     I already knew that I lacked focus and discipline.  I just didn’t realize how bad it was.  If writing is truly what I want to do, then why aren’t I doing it?  What am I waiting for?  These novels aren’t going to write or edit themselves.  

     Time to step up my game and get serious…

     Last week was Teaser Tuesday and I shared a snippet of a short story WIP that was titled Big Red.  I have since completed the story and thought I would share it with you for this week’s blog post.  For those of you that were good and teased last week, here is the full story with its new title.

The Clearing

Image courtesy of Evgeni Dinev  FreeDigitalPhotos.net

    By the waning light of the moon and instinct alone, I make my way through the thick woods until I reach my favorite clearing.  It is my haven from the helter skelter, transporting me to another time and place where the hustle and bustle of the chaotic world melts away.  A thin veil of mist shrouds the clearing as the cool rain dances across the sun baked earth.  No longer sheltered by the intertwined branches and lush summer leaves, I tilt my head back, relishing the feel of the rain against my face.

  Away from prying eyes, I slowly peel off the shorts and t-shirt that cling to my clammy body.  Once I am down to nothing more than my bra and panties, I move into the center of the clearing.  The rain glistens in the moonlight like hundreds of microscopic sprites floating down from the sky.  I close my eyes and stand with outstretched arms, welcoming the tiny rivers that run down my body.  Laughing gaily, I throw my hands over my head and begin to twirl and dance in the rain.  Lost in my own world, I don’t hear the approaching footsteps or see the figure lurking at the edge of the clearing, watching me.

    It’s not until I feel a hand slide across my throat and an arm wrap around my waist that I realize I am no longer alone.  Unable to move, my body tenses and my heart begins to pound in my ears.  A panicked cry gets lost in my throat, beneath his grip, and nary a sound passes my lips.  I can feel my uninvited guest’s breath caress my earlobe before his lips glide across my cheek.  The heady aroma of his aftershave travels along the warm breeze and instantly puts me at ease.  I reach behind me, grabbing a handful of curly hair and sink into my captor’s embrace.

    “How did you know where I was?”

    “I followed my heart.  It always leads me to you.”  His cinnamon scented breath tingles my nostrils, while his silky smooth voice reverberates through my core.

    “So you thought you’d give me a good scare?”  I give his curls a playful tug before lowering my arm so that it traces down the curve of his neck.

    “Not at all.  But who can resist joining a forest nymph when they find one dancing in the rain?”  He turns me around so that we are face to face and I gaze up into his green eyes.  “God, you’re beautiful.”  The words are barely out of his mouth before his lips are on mine.  What I expect to be a quick, sweet peck, turns out to be a toe-curling, heart-racing, lip lock.  His kiss tastes like the Big Red that he is always chewing; the residual flavor numbing my lips ever so slightly, enhancing the sensations coursing through my body.  When he pulls away, it takes a moment for me to catch my breath and I rest my hand against his chest to steady myself.

    “And you have on far too many clothes to be dancing in the rain.  Not to worry, my devious little dryad, that can easily be remedied.”  I glide my fingers over the buttons on his shirt and along his throat until my hand comes to rest at the nape of his neck.

    A devilish grin spreads across his face.  “You don’t say.”  I watch as a drop of water beads and drips from the tip of his nose.  With a gentle plop, it lands on my cheek and he uses the pad of his thumb to wipe it away.  Despite the humidity in the air, the caress causes a chill to run down my spine and the flesh on my arms erupts in goose bumps.

    “Come dance with me, Derrick,” I shout, swinging my arms out and backing away from him, hoping the distance will be enough to stop my heart from pounding so profusely.  With slow, deliberate movements, he unbuttons his shirt and I freeze, watching him through rain soaked lashes.  My breathing is ragged as I inhale deeply.  He doesn’t have six pack abs or rippling biceps, but his body is lean and defined and I can’t help but admire its beauty.  Stripping down to his boxers, he pulls himself up to his full height, casting a shadow over me.

    Like a predator after his prey, he takes a determined step forward.  Instinct kicks in and I take off running towards the opposite edge of the clearing.  Knowing that he can easily cover the distance between us anytime he wants, I dance around the perimeter of the clearing, just out of reach.  I can feel his eyes on me, watching my every move.  Little puddles have begun to form on the ground and I splash through them, sending water flying everywhere.  He makes a few half-hearted attempts to grab me, but I slip through his fingers time and again, all the while laughing and enjoying the chase.  Our game of cat and mouse comes to an end when he makes his move and swoops me off my feet.

    The rain has slowed to a mere mist, but we are both already drenched.  He carries me over to a semi-dry patch of grass, laying me down under the cover of the trees.  His sandy brown curls drip water on me as he leans in for a kiss.  I can feel the heat radiating off of his body, he is so tantalizingly close.  Craving the feel of his skin against mine, I arch my back, lifting myself towards him.

    “Alexandria…”  His tongue caresses my name, while his hands caress my body; the combination overwhelms my senses.  I reach out to pull him closer to me, unable to stand even the smallest of spaces between us.  “I’m caught in your gravitational pull; drawn to you by some unseen force.  I couldn’t resist you even if I wanted to.”  He covers me in kisses between words.

    “I hope you never want to.”  The words come out in a breathless whisper and I’m not sure he hears me.

    “Never.  I love you, Alexandria.”

    I cling tighter to him, wishing it was possible for our bodies to meld, for our souls to become one.  “I love you too, babes.”  I almost forget that we are lying on the forest floor.  The world around us falls away and nothing exists but us two, me and the man of my dreams.  And therein lies the problem.

    A loud, obnoxious buzzing sound pulls me from a deep sleep.  Reluctantly, I open one eye, taking in my surroundings.  With a grumble, I hit the snooze button and turn my back towards the clock, bringing me face to face with an empty pillow on the other side of the queen-sized bed.  Unconsciously, my hand reaches out to the empty space beside me, searching for something and finding nothing.

    The alarm goes off again and I fight the urge to hit the snooze button once more.  Instead, I shut it off completely and throw back the blanket, dragging myself out of bed and down to the kitchen to get the coffee started.  While it is brewing, I head into the bathroom for a quick shower.  Standing under the steady stream of hot water, I try to recall my dream, but as usual, I don’t remember anything specific.  There is only a lingering sense of the overwhelming feelings that it has stirred.

    An hour later, I am heading out the door, on my way to work.  My nose is buried in the latest e-book I’m reading and I navigate down the block using my peripherals to guide me along my routine path.  The further I get, the more foot traffic I encounter, but my nose remains glued to the story I am reading.

    Out of the corner of my eye, I notice a figure walking towards me.  I pay him no mind until I catch a whiff of his aftershave.  There is something strangely familiar about it, but I can’t place where I might have smelled it before.  I lift my head slightly to sneak a peek and find a pair of stunning green eyes looking me over.  They are breathtaking and I audibly gasp.  His gaze has me squirming until I note the way he is looking at me.  Just before he passes me by, he stops and I lift my head the rest of the way to look him square in the eye.

    “I know this is going to sound like a bad pick up line, but, have we met before?”

    “No.  At least, I don’t think so.”  The more I look at him, the less certain I am, although I have no clue where I might know him from.

    He runs a hand through his thick crop of sandy brown hair.  I find myself mesmerized by the way his curls bounce back into place and I fight the urge to run my own fingers through them.  

    “I really can’t put my finger on it, but I swear I’ve seen you before.  But that can’t be right.  I don’t see how I could possibly forget someone so beautiful.”

    Normally, I would roll my eyes at such a cheap and blatant attempt to charm me, but instead, I feel my cheeks warm as I blush at the compliment.  “Thank you.  That’s very sweet of you.”  

    “Do you mind if I walk with you for a bit?”  I shake my head, close the case on my ereader and put it in my purse.  There is a sense of hesitancy about him, but he tries not to let it show.  He fumbles around in his pocket as though he is looking for something.

    “Would you like a piece?”  Taking his hand out of his pocket, he extends it towards me, opening it to reveal a pack of gum.

    My heart begins to pound and I get an overwhelming feeling that I have forgotten something important.  I stop walking and turn to take a really good look at my companion.  Noticing that I am no longer walking beside him, he stops to watch me, while removing a thin red strip of gum from its foil wrapping.  My lips begin to tingle and I could swear they have gone slightly numb.

    Bits and pieces of my dream start coming back to me.  I can practically smell the nonexistent rain, feel the dampness in the air.  And that’s when I know.  I know why this stranger has gotten under my skin.

    “You know, I don’t think I introduced myself.  My name is…”

    The sound of the traffic dies away, the air stills and nothing exists but us two, me and the man of my dreams.