The Saturday morning beach traffic they’d so carefully avoided by driving down on Friday trapped Emily as she drove back from the grocery store. She had promised the kids frozen waffles but then forgot them at the store. Going back for the waffles took considerably longer than she wanted it to, but she sighed and tried to stay in vacation mode.
The beach house was still quiet when she got back. If the kids wanted to sleep in, she wasn’t going to stop them. It would give her a chance to be alone with Todd.
But she couldn’t find him anywhere inside. Emily walked out to the patio overlooking the beach and saw Todd sitting on top of the picnic table. He sat with his elbows resting on his knees and his face in his hands just watching the ocean. Her mood lifted at the sight of him. The swish of the waves coming in masked the noise of her return and unnoticed, she felt compelled to watch him.
Emily’s eyes followed Todd’s gaze as he watched a woman running on the beach. She smiled and rolled her eyes. It wasn’t unusual for Todd’s head to get turned by a beautiful woman. Emily wasn’t the jealous type. Todd had opportunities to be with other women, they’d even had a brief period while dating when their relationship was open. But he chose her.
Still, after fifteen years of marriage and two children, Emily kept a mental list of desired self improvements. Maybe someday she’d even have time to work on some of them. The kids kept Emily plenty busy. While Emily was fulfilled by caring for the family they’d created, she understood why Todd might sometimes enjoy a little eye candy. Emily was “Mom” now. Hell, most of the time Todd referred to her as “Mom” too.
She was about to make her presence known to Todd, when she noticed him sit up as the runner on the beach got closer. Emily studied her and couldn’t see anything particularly striking about her, nothing that would grab Todd’s attention. She wasn’t in any physical distress. In fact, Emily thought, they looked sort of similar. They had the same hair color, some of the same features. The runner was obviously more fit, maybe a touch younger. She just looked fresher somehow. Emily doubted this woman’s significant other called her “Mom.” The thought made Emily’s hand involuntarily try to smooth the flyaway hair she forgot to comb before shopping.
Emily’s next breath caught in her throat when she heard Todd call out,
The sound of Todd’s voice startled both Emily and she who might be Kelly.
It took Kelly, for certainly this was Kelly, a second to register Todd before the slightest smile of recognition passed across her face and she said, “Jesus Christ, you scared the shit out of me.”
“No, it’s Todd,” he said in his signature smart ass way, which would have made Emily laugh, but simply made Kelly tease, “I know who you are, dumbass.”
The bantering continued and Emily really wanted to hear what they were saying. She strained to hear them, but nothing could drown out the thought overwhelming her.
That’s her. She was the one.
Red Writing Hood is a writing meme from the Red Dress Club. This week’s writing prompt was: “The most frequent advice I come across for amateur writers is, “Write what you know.” “What you know” doesn’t necessarily always mean “your comfort zone.” For this week, take what you know out of your comfort zone. Try a new genre, a new time period, a geography you’ve only dreamed of, fantasy or historical instead of contemporary fiction, try the male POV if you usually write women. Or vice versa. Switch it up. See where it takes you.” Word count limit= 600.
This post is a work of fiction and it was the most difficult post I’ve written to this point. I’m always so impressed at TDRC writers’ fiction posts, but I have steadfastly avoided fiction and clung to memoir. So when I saw this week’s prompt to do something different, I took it as a personal challenge. Out of my comfort zone, indeed!
Constructive criticism is welcome, but I implore you to break it to me gently as I am a delicate flower and fiction virgin.