#DailyPicsperation – Bait & Switch

I was on vacation when this posted on Thursday for my Daily Picsperation post.

If you have a chance, go read some amazing author’s work.  A new story every day.

Here is my story, based on the below picture.

 Bait and Switch

The sun beamed down, illuminating the statue from behind and casting shadows into the fountain below.

Staring at the warrior on the horse, I wondered what had happened to all the good men? The ones who were strong and true? Brave and fearless? In my life I seemed to have only attracted those with less than redeeming qualities. After my most recent breakup, I decided to splurge and send myself on a journey through Europe. A little trip to try and figure out who I was, or rather, who I wanted to be.

I’d finally realized after a string of failed relationships, that I had a tendency to mold myself into whomever I thought my current lover wanted me to be. When I couldn’t live up to this idealized vision, the relationship would end, and I was left even further away from my true self with each passing fancy.

With Matt, I was fun, easy going and pretended to really like roller coasters. With Brandon, I was studious and well read and pretended to like going to art museums. With Mark, I was sultry, super confident and pretended I enjoyed being spanked. With David, I was outdoorsy, and pretended I enjoyed vegan cuisine and hemp clothing.

The list went on and on. I’d gone through twelve men in two years and I was tired. So tired of pretending to be someone, yet after all this time, I wasn’t sure who I actually was.

Sitting on the side of this ancient fountain, I wondered how I’d gotten so off track and began making a mental list of things I knew, without a doubt, I liked to do.

Travel. I liked to visit new and exotic places. It would have been a tad more amusing to travel with someone, but I decided not to dwell too long on that fact. I was here to rediscover myself, not on a romantic rendezvous.

Reading. I loved to sit curled up in a sunny nook and spend hours and hours entranced in a good tale. My tastes were varied, but after a brief stint trying to impress Noel that I really was interested in science fiction novels, I knew I absolutely abhorred the genre.

Writing. I had enjoyed journaling my travels so far and thought perhaps I could one day publish a short book based on what I was sure would be many mishaps along the three week trip.

Feeling somewhat refreshed about uncovering some of my lost loves, I took a deep cleansing breath, and stood up, resolute about figuring out what else I was all about. Unfortunately my attempt at being proactive ended with me falling head over tea kettle and directly into the shallow water of the fountain.

Sputtering to the surface, I was stunned. Mostly from the freezing cold water that was a complete shock to my system, but also the handsome man offering me his hand.

“Mademoiselle? Are you alright?”

I took his hand and allowed him to pull me out of the water. Embarrassed, and not knowing how much English the gentleman before me spoke, I nodded and offered a simple thank you before sitting back on the side of the fountain. Thankfully my bag didn’t end up in the water too, but I wasn’t close to my hotel and was a bit lost as to what I should do now, with soaked clothes and soggy shoes.

“Errr… pardon moi? You look like you could use a cafe. May I buy one for you?” My knight in dark jeans asked, his thick accent curling around the words in a way that made me shiver.

I wanted to accept his offer, even if I looked a mess and we probably wouldn’t be able to communicate much past hello and thank you, but I paused. I was supposed to be figuring out who I was, not picking up another man who, gauging by his long dark lashes and thick wavy hair, would only distract me from my goal.

“Merci,” I replied using one of the only words I remembered from high school French. “I should probably go back to my hotel to change clothes, but thank you.”

He cocked his head to the side, perhaps trying to translate when he smiled and shrugged, “It is only a cafe. Join me?” He asked again, but his tone wasn’t demanding, rather encouraging.

I reluctantly accepted, figuring it was only one coffee, and I’d only be in the country for another couple of days. Not even I could change my entire personality around in a day, right? I rationalized that I would start my self-actualization exercises tomorrow, and allowed him to lead me towards a small bistro with tables for two lined up outside the shop under colorful umbrellas that kept the diners cool.

We sat down and he ordered two cafe au laits before asking me questions about where I was from and how I was liking this part of France.

Our conversation was stilted, the way it is when you are trying to communicate in broken and simplified sentences. Even with our language barrier, I could tell Marcelle was charming. He was suave and sophisticated, and It took a lot of willpower on my part not to jump into his lap and ask him to recite just about anything in French for me. The way his deep voice smoothly caressed each word, I would have even listened to him read through the phone book.

About half way through our coffee, he excused himself to use the restroom, telling me he would return in a few moments.

One minute became five and soon I was sitting at my table wondering how I’d managed to scare Marcelle away in less than thirty minutes. Cradling my head in my hands, I called for the waiter to bring the check, figuring I should cut my losses and lick my wounds in the privacy of my hotel room.

Reaching behind my chair I realized my bag was gone. In a panic, I look around, trying to see if it had fallen off my chair or if I left it by the fountain.

It was gone. My bag, my passport, my money. All gone.

Could this day get any worse? Of course I began berating myself over and over about how I should have just returned to my hotel and not accepted ‘Marcelle’s’ invitation for coffee.

My mind suddenly stopped, bringing an abrupt halt to my disorganized thoughts. I remembered that I’d decided to only take a few travelers checks and about ten euros with me this morning. My bag didn’t even have my camera. I had forgotten it and didn’t feel like going back to my hotel once I realized it when I was on the metro.

Throwing my head back, I laughed. A deep, heavy and boisterous laugh that I’m sure the French probably considered uncouth.

It felt like fate had stepped in to remind me what my trip was truly about.

Me.

After speaking with the bistro’s manager for a few moments, he apologized for my misfortune and waved off my attempt to reassure him I’d be back to pay for the coffees.

“It was only a coffee. Come back and have dinner. It would be good to have a better image of my restaurant for you.”

I smiled at the manager’s kind words. After a hot shower and a change of clothes, I might just return.

And this time, I would come alone.

 

Many thanks to Kimmydon who does her best to correct my mistakes.

#FridayPictureShow – Time

Hey guys,

I figured I’d post my Friday Picture Show story.

I won best use of prompt for this picture

Time

Pulling the worn card from my jacket pocket, I placed it gently between two branches, knowing it was time to let go.

Time to put the past behind me and move forward with my life.

She’d been my rock, my love and my life for so long, yet nothing I could do would bring her back. After three long years, I needed to start over.

The post card she sent only days before the plane crashed was the last link to the amazing life I’d had.

With a solitary glance backwards, I left her loving words behind and walked away.

#55WordChallenge & #ThursdayThreads posts

For Wednesday’s 55 Word Challenge

I got an honorable mention for this one.

Amira could smell their fear from a block away, creating an invisible path for her to follow. She wasn’t in a rush, knowing there wasn’t anywhere for them to go. Turning the corner, she saw the pack huddled together, fright alight in their eyes. She hissed once before pouncing, devouring her prey. 
“Now who’s dessert?”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thursday Threads 

Prompt: “Tell me I’m not giving my life away for nothing.”

Fate of the World

The room was stale and musty, reminding me of my parent’s old basement. There was only one tiny window, smudged with years of caked on dirt. I was attempting to appear calm, but on the inside my pulse was racing, while my mind flitted from one memory to the next in rapid succession.

“Are you ready?” Gideon asked.

Looking up into his handsome face, my resolve wavered for a moment. “Tell me I’m not giving my life away for nothing. My sister will live, right?” I pled, looking into eyes of my executioner.

Pressing down on my shoulders, he instructed me to lie down. “She will, I promise.” A devious smirk flashed across his face.

My mind relaxed minutely, knowing my sister’s life was worth more than mine. She was the one who was prophesized to save the world. I was just her twin, the one with the matching DNA that could save her life, but other than that, I was inconsequential.

Gideon strapped my arms to the table and I began to panic. This wasn’t part of the plan.

“Relax my sweet. It will all be over soon enough.”

He yanked my neck to the side before taking one languid lick across my artery. Biting down, he began to drink.

When I awoke sometime later, my sister was standing across from me; her wide grin showcased her brilliant white fangs in the dim light. 

“Welcome to eternal life, sister mine. You didn’t honestly think I could rule without you?”

Fruition of a Dream #DailyPicsperation

This is my Daily Picsperation Story for this week.

This is a prequel of Dichotomy of a Boy – told from a different POV

 Fruition of a Dream 

Jenna had been dreaming of prince charming for as long as she could remember, but standing here at the doorway, she never imagined the man reclining on the bed before her would end up being ‘that guy’.  When she ran into him at a dive bar she frequently visited, they had hit it off immediately.  His body was a roadmap of his dark and violent history, riddled with tattoos and piercings.  His face was kind and gentle, in complete opposition with the rest of him. She was drawn to him, curious to see what lay beneath his bad boy exterior.  Slowly but surely, she chipped away at his diamond encrusted façade, until he opened up and told her all that he was afraid of.  Once the rubble had been cleared, their relationship blossomed into the love she’d always imagined existed. 

Leaning against the doorframe, Jenna smiled at Jax’s relaxed posture.  She always marveled at how comfortable he was in his own skin, even with the ink that was a constant reminder of his past.  He must have sensed her presence and opened his eyes. 

“Hey,” he sleepily called, beckoning her to join him in their bed. 

Jenna sauntered over and climbed in beside him, allowing herself to be enveloped in his protective embrace.  She always relished the feel of his skin against hers.  His touch was a soothing balm, calming her immediately in his presence. 

“I’m glad you’re home.  I have a surprise for you,” Jax murmured into her neck, pressing a kiss into her heated skin. 

She pulled away, and looked intently into his steely gaze.  “What kind of surprise?” 

“The good kind, of course,” he teased, pulling her up off the bed and instructed her to grab some good walking shoes. 

After being together for two years, Jenna was still routinely surprised by Jax.  He never did exactly what you thought he was going to do, and in turn, Jenna stopped trying to figure him out, relishing in his spontaneous nature. 

“You’re not going to tell me where we’re going, are you?” 

Snatching a large backpack off the floor, Jax replied, “Now where would the fun be in that?” 

He grabbed her hand, leading her out of their apartment and through the woods that were behind it. 

“It’s kind of late for a hike, isn’t it?” Jenna coyly questioned, trying to get Jax to open up about their destination, but his lips were shut tight around a wry grin.    

With no other choice, she kept walking further and further into the forest until she thought she saw what appeared to be a glow of light beckoning to her from its depths. 

“What is this?” She turned around in wide circles, trying to take in the lanterns hung on the branches high above that illuminated their path. 

Jenna continued on until she stumbled upon a rope ladder swinging gently in the breeze. 

Turning, she quirked her head, silently asking Jax if she should ascend into the treetops.  At his gentle nudge, she began to carefully climb higher and higher until she reached their destination. 

Hanging from between the trees was the heavenly bed seemingly ripped from the pages of her most recent story.  Every last detail of her imaginary floating room was laid out before her. Scampering onto the bed, she fell back onto the pillows, laughing that this was her dream. She had no idea how Jax had managed to organize everything involved, but the loving gesture was one she wouldn’t ever forget, nor be able to reciprocate.  

A little later that evening, all of her childhood dreams came true when Jax presented her with a little black box and a promise of forever. 

A/N – this is a little prequel to my story from two weeks ago – Dichotomy of a Boy.  Told from Jenna’s perspective instead of Jax’s.   

Thanks to KimmyDonn for editing this for me.