Hi there! This is the last week of Wednesday Writing Prompt. What is Wednesday Writing Prompt? Every Wednesday in May, I and four author friends wrote a short story from a writing prompt, and you could hop from blog to blog to read each one and see the different ideas that come from each prompt.
The month just flew by! Thanks for joining us in this fun exercise. One or two of my stories will definitely become a novella or novel. For more shorts, check out my Free Reads page and the five-episode interracial older woman/younger man romance I wrote a couple of years ago, Until We Meet Again.
Today's prompt is about Tamika, best friend to Layla from Chance Encounter and Dana in Count on Me. Last week's prompt was Better Late Than Never about an unconnected character--Nisa and her best friend Nelson finally getting together.
Without further ado, below is the writing prompt and my contribution, Night and Day.
Writing prompt: Use the following dialogue in your story. “Can you picture it? You and I together?”
Night and Day
“Aye, ain’t that your girl?”
His friend nudged his shoulder. Anton turned and went ramrod straight in the chair. He stared in disbelief at his girlfriend, Tamika, holding a martini glass and shaking her ass on top of the bar at the club.
Stunning as usual, her pixie cut and makeup were immaculate. The sparkly short-shorts showed off her toned legs in a pair of heels, and the sleeveless top clung to her torso and bared her toned arms. She was surrounded by men who gazed up at her with wolfish grins and cheers of encouragement.
“Yeah, that’s her,” he said grimly, getting to his feet.
He was in the VIP celebrating the birthday of one of his co-workers with friends and staff from the company where they worked. But he couldn’t sit still now that he’d seen Tamika. He hadn’t seen her since she left their apartment a week ago and went to stay with one of her best friends, Layla—bringing his life to a standstill—as if the Earth had literally stopped rotating on its axis.
She’d said she needed time alone, promising to call when she got her head right. She never called, and when he did, she didn’t answer the phone or respond to his voice mails.
“What are you about to do?” his friend asked.
“Get her down from there.”
Using his elbows and height, Anton shouldered his way between the ogling men until he stood directly in front of Tamika. When she saw him, her smile faltered like a kid caught in the act of disobeying their parent.
“Get down,” he said, extending a hand to her.
She shot him a look of defiance and screamed, “I’m having fun!” Then she took a big gulp of her drink.
The men roared their encouragement.
Anton move closer but a thicker, shorter man with red hair shoved him back. “Hey man, back up. She’s having a fun, we’re having fun. Go be a buzzkill somewhere else.”
“Yeah,” another man beside him said, glaring at Anton.
“Get out of my way,” Anton growled, wanting very badly to tear something up, and if it happened to be the faces of these two jerks, then so be it.
The short one stepped closer. “Make me.” His breath wreaked of beer, and Anton wrinkled his nose in disgust.
“Get the fu—” He pushed the redhead and they ended up in a shoving match.
“Hey!” Tamika yelled.
Gingerly, she stepped off the bar onto one of the stools. With the help of another man, she hopped to the floor and placed herself between both Anton and the redhead. “Chill!” she said to the stranger.
Anton placed an arm around her waist and whispered, “You’re coming with me.”
Without waiting for a response, he took her arm and shoved his way through the crowd. At first, he wasn’t sure where he was headed, but then he saw the glowing restroom sign and crossed the dance floor in that direction.
He pulled Tamika into the men’s bathroom with him, and she pushed on his chest, eyes flashing.
“What the hell, Anton!”
“What the hell? I should be saying that to you? What did you think you were doing?”
The toilet flushed and a Black guy exited with a scowl on his face. “This is the men’s bathroom. Y’all take that shit outside.”
“Why don’t you go outside and let me talk to my girl?”
“I don’t want to talk to you.” Tamika crossed her arms.
The other man laughed at him and took his time washing his hands while Anton silently fumed. When he finally left, he checked the stalls and then locked the door.
“What’s going on with you? I’ve called you no less than ten times in the past week and you haven’t returned a single call.”
“I’ve been busy.”
“Doing what? Dancing on top of bars?”
“Leave me alone, Anton.”
“How am I supposed to do that?” He hadn’t been able to leave her alone since they met, shortly afterward telling her he didn’t want to see anyone else and ending with, “Can you picture it? You and I together? Just the two of us?” Lucky for him, she’d said yes.
“Easy. Stop calling.” Arms still crossed, Tamika paced away from him. At least she didn’t try to leave.
“Talk to me, Tam.”
In the reflection of one of the mirrors, he saw her bottom lip tremble.
Anton eased closer but kept his distance, when all he wanted to do was gather her in his arms and ease her pain. In retrospect, it was clear how much the miscarriage had devastated her. He should have seen it before. Should have known that’s what prompted her withdrawal even as she said, I’m good.
They’d prayed for a little girl. She, because she imagined doing her daughter’s hair, getting her ready for prom, and watching her grow into an intelligent young woman—all the rites of passage mothers and daughters share through life—the friendship and love she’d shared with her own mother before she passed. He, because whatever Tamika wanted, he wanted.
No one understood their relationship. They were like night and day. He was the stuffy corporate attorney, she was the dynamic chemist working on her own line of cosmetics, hoping to one day turn her mail-order business into a multi-million dollar empire. She was also the love of his life, and moving in together had been the best decision he’d ever made.
The past week had been hard. He missed her—his best friend, his source of laughter, her smile and vivacious personality making every day a good day.
“Talk to me. We used to talk about everything,” Anton said quietly.
Tamika looked at him, arms still folded protectively around her midsection. Her eyes became glassy with tears, and he could no longer resist the need to comfort her. He closed the space between them with two long strides and wrapped her in the protection his arms. He whispered soothing words as she quietly sobbed into his shoulder.
Someone knocked then jiggled the doorknob, but he ignored them, running one hand up and down her back.
When she stopped crying, she looked up at him with red eyes and a trembling smile. “Why do you put up with me?”
“I don’t know. Guess I just love you.”
She laughed and swiped at the wetness on her cheeks. “I needed time away.”
“From me. From the utopia I’d created in my head of you, me, and our baby. Late night feedings…”
“Changing dirty diapers…”
“Tired from lack of sleep…”
“Staying up all night and staring at her when we should be sleeping when she sleeps.” He smiled through the punch of pain in his chest.
“I wanted all of it. The good, the bad, the dirty, the cranky, the pretty, the cuteness, the…” She choked and swallowed.
Anton cupped her face in his hands. He knew better than to say they could try again. All he could do was let her know that he would be there to support her. “I love you, Tam. You don’t have to bear this alone.”
She gazed at him with grateful eyes. “I know. I’m sorry.”
He kissed her lids and pulled her into another firm hug. “Let’s go home. Okay?”
She nodded against his chest.
Someone banged loudly on the door. “Hey! Anybody in there?”
“Let’s go before they call security,” Anton said.
Tamika giggled and took his hand. When she swung open the door, two men stood outside. One scowled and the other raised an eyebrow.
“Sorry, gentleman. He’s so irresistible, I couldn’t wait until we got home.”
Anton smirked as he walked by the men and then flung an arm around Tamika’s shoulder.
Life would finally get back to normal.
Readers, any of you ever felt the need to let go like Tamika and do something wild, like dance on top of a bar?
Good morning! Welcome to week three of Wednesday Writing Prompt. What is Wednesday Writing Prompt? Every Wednesday in May, I and four author friends will write a short story from a writing prompt, and you can hop from blog to blog to read each one and see the different ideas that come from each prompt.
The first two prompts are Chance Encounter and Count on Me with connected characters, but this week’s prompt is made up of entirely new characters. Without further ado, below is the writing prompt and my contribution, Better Late Than Never.
Writing prompt: The hero’s best friend sets him up on a blind date, but when he shows up for the date, his best friend is there.
Better Late Than Never
Why had he agreed to this?
Nelson straightened the collar on his shirt and walked into the coffee shop.
He didn’t do blind dates and certainly didn’t need help getting laid, but his friend Nisa was right. He’d been in a slump ever since his unexpected broken engagement, and he needed to shake it off and get back in the game.
If someone other than Nisa had set him up, he would have passed, but she knew him better than any of his other friends. Hell, they knew each other better than any of their other friends, having met in the first grade and gotten along ever since.
Thinking about her made him smile as he scanned the tables, checking if his date, Laura, had already arrived. The quick scan of the interior verified she hadn’t yet. She would only communicate with him via email, and she’d also requested a coffee date, something low pressure for the two of them. She said she’d be wearing jeans, a blue top, and a paisley scarf, but no one in the shop was dressed remotely like that. Good, because he’d shown up early to make sure he beat her there. Taking an empty table along the wall, he faced the door and waited.
Each time the door opened, he glanced up, expecting to see her. About two minutes after the hour, Laura still hadn’t arrived. Strike one. He was a stickler for being on time and expected other people to be early or on time, the way he always was.
He sent a text to Nisa. Your girl is late.
Knowing her, she’d probably have some sassy response. He chuckled softly to himself as he waited.
Surprised, he glanced up to see Nisa standing beside the table. She’d apparently come from somewhere in the back.
Nelson stood. “Hey, what are you…?”
She looked amazing as usual, with her thick natural hair splayed on top of her shoulders in her favorite style, a twist-out. What made him lose his voice was her attire. Jeans. Blue top. Paisley scarf.
“What’s going on?” he asked.
“Have a seat,” Nisa said, sitting in the chair opposite him.
Nelson sat slowly.
“I know you’re wondering why I’m here, dressed like this.”
“Yeah, the question did cross my mind,” he said carefully.
“It’s because… I’m your blind date. I’m the person you’re supposed to meet, and I’m the person you’ve been emailing for the past week.”
“What the hell are you doing, Nisa?” There was only silence at their table as everyone around them continued eating, drinking, and typing on their laptops. “We’re friends,” Nelson said tightly.
Nisa folded her hands on the table and made direct eye contact. “I know. Believe me, it was a difficult decision to let you know about my feelings for you, and I was hiding in the bathroom trying to work up the courage to come out here and face you. But I finally decided it was worth the risk.”
Nelson couldn’t believe his ears. “How long have you felt this way?”
“Damn. Why didn’t you just talk to me instead of this elaborate scheme?”
Nisa shrugged. “I guess I was afraid of your rejection, and this way I forced my own hand.”
Hesitation filtered into her face, but there was no need for her to be uneasy. He had always found Nisa attractive, but every time he was free, she was in a relationship. When she was free, he was in a relationship. They never seemed to be single at the same time. Until now…
“What are you thinking?” she asked quietly.
Nelson scrubbed a hand across his jawline and studied her across the table. “I’m thinking that blue looks good on you, like every color does. I like the paisley scarf. I like the way those jeans fit, and…I’m wishing I hadn’t let so much time pass without making a move.”
She bit her lip, which was the cutest, sexiest thing. “You feel the same?”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Because if we don’t work as a couple, how can we go back to being friends?” His chest tightened at the thought of losing her support, her goofy sense of humor, her ability to make him laugh even when he was angry or having a bad day. Nisa was his sanity in an insane world, and the one person he could always count on.
“I had the same worries,” she admitted. “But I figured it was worth it, especially after you and Nadia broke up and you didn’t get seriously involved with anyone else.”
“Me and Nadia,” Nelson muttered, shaking his head.
“What happened between the two of you? You never told me why you split.”
“Because I couldn’t tell you that she ended our engagement after she accused me of being in love with you.”
Nisa’s eyes widened. “Why did she say that?”
“Because I am.”
Her eyes went even wider.
He’d been in denial for a long time but Nadia forced him to face the truth. Now that Nisa knew how he felt, the rest of the confession came easily.
“We’d had a couple of fights about you. She didn’t like our closeness or the fact that there were things I wouldn’t share with her but I shared with you. She was always suspicious of our phone calls and our text messages. Didn’t matter when I let her see my phone to prove our conversations were innocent. In her words, ‘your face lights up every time her name appears on your phone.’ The last straw was when I whispered your name in the middle of us making love.”
Nisa’s mouth fell open.
“Yeah, it was pretty terrible. I gave her a lame excuse, that your names were close together because they both start with N. She saw through the lie.” Nelson sat forward, looking deeply into her eyes. “The truth was, I had been thinking about you while I was with her, and the closer we got to our wedding date, the harder my relationship with her became.”
“I don’t know what to say. I thought I would have to convince you to give us a try, but it seems we’re on the same page.”
“As usual. Come on, let’s get out of here.”
They stood and Nelson took her hand as they walked out of the coffee shop. As soon as they exited the door, he pushed her against the outside wall and captured her lips with his. Her mouth was soft, pliable, and tasty. Better than he had ever imagined. Knowing that he’d been missing out all these years because he’d been worried about messing up their friendship, made him want to give himself a swift kick in the behind.
His tongue swept the inside of her mouth and she groaned. That spurred him to slip his arms around her waist and pull her tight against his body. They’d hugged numerous times over the years, but this hug, this embrace, was hotter and made him hornier than ever before. Tracing her waistline with his hands, he moved his palms upward and barely managed not to squeeze her breasts. There would be time for that later.
Nelson released her mouth reluctantly and lifted his head. Nisa looked at him with passion-drunk eyes.
“I’ve been wanting to do that for a long time,” he breathed.
“I’m glad you finally did,” she whispered, her breath brushing his mouth in a gentle caress.
“Your place or mine?”
“I live too far away. Yours.” She did that cute little thing again where she bit her bottom lip.
Nelson gave her another quick kiss, already addicted to her mouth.
Then he took her hand and led her to his car.
1. Would you let a friend set you up on a blind date?
2. Should Nelson have spoken up sooner?
Welcome to week two of Wednesday Writing Prompt! What is Wednesday Writing Prompt? Every Wednesday in May, I and four author friends will write a short story from a writing prompt, and you can hop from blog to blog to read each one and see the different ideas that come from each prompt.
Last week you met Layla, Tamika, and Dana, and I wrote about Layla in last week’s prompt. In this week’s prompt I wrote about Dana, who works on documentaries for my favorite alpha female, Sylvie Johnson from the Brooks Family series.
All of us writing the prompts have to stick to a certain word count, and I had a hard time limiting myself this week. I wanted to write more, but I’m confident you’ll enjoy what I did write about this couple. Without further ado, below is the writing prompt and my contribution, Count on Me.
Writing prompt: The hero and heroine work late and end up locked in the building alone.
Count on Me
Dana stood, yawned, and stretched, tired after a long day at work as a documentary film editor for SJ Media.
The phone rang and she answered right away when she saw the call was from one of her best friends, Layla. “Hey, haven’t heard from you since that text you sent Saturday.”
“I’ve been busy,” Layla said coyly.
Dana checked her reflection in the window, smoothing a hand over the stretchy cotton dress that showed off the ample curves of her plus-sized figure. “Busy with Chance?”
“Yes. You’re not going to believe this, but except for picking up clothes Saturday morning, I’ve been at his place ever since.”
Dana picked up her giant purse from her desk and flung it over her shoulder. “It’s Wednesday!”
“I know. I feel so good with him, it’s crazy.”
Dana left her cubicle and headed toward the elevator. “I’m so happy for you!”
“Thanks, honey. Can’t talk long, but I want you, me, and Tamika to go out on Friday night again, okay? Don’t forget.”
“Good. Talk to you later!”
Dana hung up and exited the elevator. She had never worked this late before and downstairs was unusually quiet.
“Dammit!” a male voice yelled.
She paused, surprised she wasn’t the only person there and also because she recognized that voice. Slowly, she rounded the corner. Her ex, Brandon, stood in front of the exit.
She came up behind him and asked quietly, “What’s the matter?”
He swung around. When he saw her, his jaw hardened and the fire in his eyes dimmed. His reaction twisted pain in her chest. He never looked at her like that before they broke up. It could be a bad idea to get involved with someone you worked with, but she’d made an exception with Brandon. With toasty brown skin and a tall muscular build, he was a good-looking man who also had a great personality.
He trained her when she first arrived at SJ Media. They became friends and eventually lovers, and then she had done what she had to do. Let him go.
“Door’s locked,” he grumbled, as if it was her fault.
“What do you mean locked?”
“Locked, as in, we can’t get out. We’re stuck here.”
“No.” Dana marched past him and pushed on the door. It opened fractionally but not all the way because of the thick metal chain wrapped around the outer door.
“Like I said, locked.”
Dana turned around. “What about the back door?”
“Also locked. That’s where I was going to leave from because I parked my truck in the back.”
“So we’re really stuck here?”
“Afraid so.” Brandon walked away.
“Where are you going?”
“To find something to eat. I’m starving.”
Dana was starving, too and had planned to grab a bite on the way home. She rushed after Brandon. “Is there someone we can call for help?”
“If you know someone, let me know. I don’t know anyone we can call.”
He stabbed the button on the wall. The doors immediately opened and they stepped in. He hit the fourth floor button and when the elevator stopped, Dana followed him down the hall. She stood inside the door of the break room as he opened cabinets and pulled out caramel popcorn, beef jerky, and protein bars.
“That’s dinner?” she asked, wrinkling her nose.
“Got a better idea?” he shot back in a hostile tone.
“No.” She wished he wouldn’t look at her with such anger. She wished he’d speak to her in the softly amused voice he used to use on the phone or when they were sneaking a kiss in this very room.
Dana went to the vending machine. “Coke?”
“Can’t believe you asked that.”
She smiled. He had a Coke addiction, one she’d tried unsuccessfully to save him from during their five months together.
She chose a Vitaminwater, set both beverages on the table, and sat across from him. She emptied popcorn onto a styrofoam plate and chose one of the protein bars.
“Mmm, not bad,” she said, licking crumbs from her lip.
Brandon stared at her mouth, and she stopped chewing. He kept staring at her, mouth set in an angry line.
Dana lowered her gaze. The silence was as dense as the protein snack, and she didn’t know what to say or do.
“Why did you break up with me?” he asked.
“I told you why.”
“You claimed you weren’t interested anymore, but that’s bullshit. We had fun together, we like the same movies, the same food, we went out all the time. You liked spending time with me as much as I liked spending time with you. Why did you dump me, Dana? You owe me a real answer.”
Dana hated the hurt she saw in his eyes. Knowing she caused him pain hurt her, too, but she kept her voice even and hoped the longing and regret that filled her wasn’t obvious. “I don’t owe you anything. Accept what I said and move on.”
She pushed back her chair and rushed from the table. Brandon jumped up and blocked the doorway.
“What are you doing?” She needed to get away from him and hadn’t expected him to challenge her.
“Stop it, Brandon.”
“Did I do something to hurt you? Was I insensitive in any way? Did I—”
“Stop! Please stop,” she finished softly.
His shoulders dipped lower. “I love you. I don’t understand what I did wrong.”
Dana laughed softly, miserably. “You didn’t do anything wrong.”
“I must have. You broke up with me.”
She blinked back tears and when she settled her gaze on him, knew she had to tell him the truth. He blamed himself when he was the epitome of a great boyfriend. “I did, but only because…because I didn’t want you to be stuck with me when I get sick.”
“Sick? What are you talking about?”
“A few weeks ago I found out I have breast cancer.” Her voice trembled. “It runs in my family, and I guess it’s my turn.” She shrugged.
“That’s why you broke up with me?”
“I have a long road ahead, and I didn’t want to drag you into my problems. If you stayed with me out of pity...”
She choked, unable to finish the sentence.
“You never thought I’d stay with you out of love?” Brandon asked quietly.
“We were only together for five months. That’s not a lot of time to have to go through such a life-changing experience with someone. I don’t expect you—”
“I love you. I told you that after three months, meant it, and still do. Having cancer doesn’t change my feelings or make me want to walk away when you’ll need me most.”
She stared at him in disbelief. “You can’t be serious.”
“I’m very serious.” He came closer. “I love you, and I want to be right there with you, fighting, and helping you beat this thing.”
“I didn’t think…”
“Nah, you didn’t think.” His smile softened the words.
Heart filled with happiness, Dana stepped closer. “It won’t be easy. My mom really suffered. My dad could barely handle it, and they were together for ten years by that time.”
“Don’t count me out.”
She released a long breath. “Okay.”
Brandon cupped her face and kissed her softly. Like always, her toes curled. She tugged him closer and he laughed against her lips, and she laughed.
“Ready for dinner?” Brandon asked.
“I guess. But what about sleep later?”
“We can go to the lounge to watch TV and sleep on one of the futons.” Brandon pulled out her chair and she sat down.
When he sat across the table from her, Dana smiled. “Hey.”
“Hey.” He bit into a beef jerky stick.
“I love you.”
He grinned. “I know.”
Readers, should Dana have told Brandon the truth from the beginning, or can you understand her fears?
Welcome to the very first Wednesday Writing Prompt! What is Wednesday Writing Prompt? Every Wednesday in May, I and four author friends will write a short story from a writing prompt, and you can hop from blog to blog to read each one and see the different ideas that come from each prompt.
This scene takes place at Dilligan’s Sports Pub. As I sometimes do, I reuse the names of fictional places in my stories, and Dilligans’s is the bar where Diego and Ronnie from One of the Guys had their pool shooting competition. It's also where Malcolm in The Roommates works as a bartender (on my Free Reads page).
Without further ado, below is the writing prompt and my contribution, Chance Encounter.
Writing prompt: The heroine is at a bar playing a drinking game with her friends and loses, and as a result is told that she has to ask the next man who comes through the door out on a date.
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Book 5 of the Quicksand series
Book 4 of the Quicksand series
Book 2 of the Plan B series