Sunday, July 5, 2009

First Writing Prompt

The last time I did a writing prompt was back in the fall with Candy Havens. I'm going to spare making excuses as to why I don't do these, but must admit I really enjoyed this! Brought to you by "Daphne" at KT Literary, anyone who wants to join in has until tomorrow! She gives three prompts to choose from, and there are prizes involved. I really just did it for the heck of it. After a long, hot, fourth of July weekend, I tuned into her blog an hour ago and this is what I came up with. Totally random, this story just sprang to mind after reading one of the prompts. The prompt is bolded. Warning: I suck at titles.

***The Mirage***

The heat from the grill made it seem a mirage. I had no idea what I was doing there. Not one for parties lately, I’d let myself get dragged. And damnit, I was staring. I couldn’t help myself. There he stood with his sweaty abs of steel, slicked-back dark hair and neon orange swimming trunks. I blinked, hoping maybe my brain was simmering a little too much under the sun. I threw back the remaining contents of my margarita when Levi was still there, standing just behind my best friend, Martha. Yep. This barbeque was going to suck. Big time.

I could make this work. Well, with a few more margarita’s in me. The smell of burnt hot dogs and sizzling burgers mixed with lime and tropical fruit sent an ache between my eyes like sharp nails digging a path through my skull. Giant palm trees spanned their broad leaves like a canopy on the other side of the lawn. Why couldn’t I have picked a shady spot to stand in? No, the idiot I was, I had to be standing under the sun, right next to the sweltering grill.

“Wanna burger or somethin’?” The tall guy manning the grill looked at me like I was a dandelion in a garden of roses . . . like I didn’t belong.

I gave a weak smile and shook my head. “No, thanks.”

He arched a brow, shrugged, and flipped one of the patties. I could only imagine what he was thinking. Why stand next to the grill if you weren’t going to eat something?

I cringed when Levi noticed me. Damn, I could’ve hid by now. I think too much. He gave a simple wave with his beer bottle. His teeth dazzled behind his smile. Crap. I gave a quick glance to the grill that stood between us, and then scanned the rest of the jungle-themed backyard. I could always go inside, make a bathroom excuse of some sort. The DJ’s stand was near the back gate. Maybe I could request a song. Some kid with spiked black hair and pink tips bobbed his head up and down to the beat. The rhythm vibrated beneath my blue glittered flip-flops to the words chanting in my head. “Get away, get away, get away.”

Instincts, right? I was supposed to follow them. I pivoted on my heels, tossing the empty plastic cup in the trash and high-tailed it to the backdoor. Levi was too hot for his own good. The last time I hung out with him I ended up in a strange bed with strange people and a backpack full of loot. That’s right, loot. Expensive fancy crap that I would’ve never found taste in. Stolen fancy crap was more like it. The time before that, my house had been busted into by some rivals of his and torn apart. I was lucky I was out. No telling what would’ve happened to me.

I was a good girl. I didn’t need his naughty ways to drag my life into something worse than it already was: single, broke and jobless. It was a two-sided curse, really. Being single, broke and jobless was enough to make me want to flee before it became something worse. But it’d also make it very tempting if he offered up an idea that might fix the situation.

My hand clasped around the warm metal knob of the door. I wasn’t fast enough. Bright orange reflected in the doors window. “Why orange?” I turned, figuring my escape a lost cause.

He amazed me at how he managed to smile even more. I didn’t think his lips could stretch so wide. Before he could respond I cut him off. “Wait, wait. Let me guess. Attention, right?”

He opened the door and threw an arm, offering me to go first. I snorted. “Seriously? You think after last time I’m going to let myself be alone with you?” I snatched the knob and yanked the door shut. “Nuh uh.”

“Oh, come on Jess, I’m not going to bite.” His grin grew a little too mischievous for my liking.

“What do you want?”

“Why’d you come?”

“Not because of you, if that’s what you’re getting at. Martha dragged me. If I knew you were going to be here, I would have locked myself in my bedroom.”

He laughed and ran a hand through his nearly dry hair. I couldn’t help but to glance at the sparkling cerulean pool that sat in the corner of the back yard. I’d nearly forgotten there were other people here.

“Martha told me you got fired.” He planted a palm on the door, right above my shoulder. I hated when guys did that. I needed to lower his ego a peg or two some how.

I pushed his arm away and shimmied around him. “Yeah, so?”

He let me pass and gave a shrug. “Thought maybe you could use some money.”

“I’m good. I’d rather get money the old fashioned way. You know, earn it.” I headed to the pool. I hadn’t worn a bathing suit, but in this heat I was beginning to think it didn’t matter. Besides, I had another plan in mind. I was tired of being manipulated, seduced or whatever it was Levi had a knack of doing with me. He wasn’t going to leave me alone until he knew his charms no longer worked on me.

I spotted Martha chatting with another girl. She gave me a look I couldn’t quite read. I was beginning to wonder what kind of friend she really was. It was becoming alarmingly clear I needed to find a new crowd.

“Hey, hey, hold up. Come on, baby, just give me a chance. It’s legal.” He stopped when I spun around. His hands were up in that “I didn’t do it” pose.

The pools edge was a few steps from me. I threw my hands on my hips, making a mental note not to make a big scene. I hated attention. But ridiculous neon-trunks here had to be a spotlight hogger. Heads, mainly female, turned our direction. “I don’t care if it’s legal or not, I’m not interested, Levi.”

And then he made his move. My heart plummeted to my stomach, which seemed coiled in a tangle of nervous knots. I knew I had to follow through. His hand clamped over my shoulder. I was familiar with this move. He was going to pull me close, as if to embrace. I swung my arm up and around to smack his away.

“I’m not your baby.” In his moment of shock, I stepped away from the pool and shoved as hard as my meager little body could manage. His startled yelp was garbled by pool water as he fell in. The crowd I’d managed to gather burst out in laughter. I knew he wasn’t going to let me live that down. Levi wasn’t one who liked to be humiliated. But at least he knew I wasn’t going to be one of his girl toys anymore.

I sauntered back to the grill where the heat waves warped the people on the other side like mirrors at a fun house. The guy at the grill paid me no attention, seeing as the last time I stood there I wasn’t interested in food. “I’ll take a burger after all, thanks.”

The heat from the grill made it seem like a mirage. I blinked slow, feeling my sweat tickle down my temples and behind the nape of my neck. I opened my eyes and frowned. Just across from the grill Levi and Martha stood, chatting like long lost friends. Damn, had the heat gotten to me? I glanced around. No one noticed me. No one stared at me as if I’d just thrown the most popular, charming and terrifying guy into the pool. There wasn’t a burger sandwiched between my fingers. The guy flipping the food didn’t even look up at me. Shit. Had I dreamt it? Did it matter?

The tall guy at the grill looked over at me. “Wanna burger or somethin’?”

Not wanting to make the same mistake twice, I spun on heels before Levi could notice me. I rushed to the backdoor, swung it open, and sighed at the clank it made when it shut. Sweet, air-conditioned salvation. I’d be damned if I was ever going to let Martha drag me to one of her backyard barbecue’s again.


  1. Great story...strange, I feel like having a margarita now. I wonder

  2. lol thanks guys. I could go for one, too. Is that bad when it's like, 9 in the morning? ;)

  3. I love this, especially your line "a dandelion in a garden of roses." Great word choice...and so unique. I've definitely felt like that a time or two before.