Category Archives: Daily writing prompts

Will He Be Mad If I Tell Him I Want to Be with My Friends?

I never found out where he was going to take me. Just as he was about to step off the trail into the woods the rowdy missing members of our group ambled around the bend at the foot of the hill. Hearing their approach I struggled against Clay, not wanting them to catch me being carried off into the forest. When he refused to set me down I whispered sternly, “We can do this later.”

I regretted my tone when I saw how hurt he was, but why did this have to be have to turn into a battle?

As I kissed him on the cheek I let my breath softly tickle his ear. “We will have time alone soon,” I promised before turning to wave at my wayward friends.

Apparently they had spotted several deer a while back, a mom with two young fawns. They had called to us but we’d been too far ahead to hear. Excitedly they told us what had happened and showed us pictures. I was disappointed to have missed it, and resolved to pay more attention to what was going on around me.

As we resumed our trek toward the waterfall, I grabbed Clay’s hand and held him back so that we were no longer in the lead. I didn’t want to risk getting ahead of them again. Used to being a leader, he continued to work his way to the front as I simultaneously fought to draw us back. It was difficult for me to convey without words, how important it was for me to stay with them, and a silent war seemed imminent.

This wasn’t how I wanted the day to go. I needed to do something but I didn’t want to embarrass him in front of my friends. Making a decision I stood in front of Clay, stopping him short, and told everyone we would catch up.

I wasn’t sure how to handle this, but once we were alone I began, “I really like you and I have fun spending time with you, but I want stay with everyone else today.” I added, “Is that okay?” hoping to moderate my request.

Time ticked by as I waited for his response. I hoped he would understand and not take offense, but as the silence surrounded us like a fog I became certain he was mad. The quiet sounds of nature were ineffective at calming my nerves. Worry filled me and I began to wonder if my priorities were wrong. I had only had a few boyfriends over the years and none of them had been particularly interested in spending time with me. Now that I finally found someone who actually wanted to be with me I felt like I was making a blundering mess of it.

I reached for his hand and when he let me hold it in mine I felt relieved. I stepped close to him, wrapped my arms around his waist and rested my head against his chest.

“Please, just for today,” I said to his shirt.

When he returned my hug and kissed the top of my head I took that as a yes, and relaxed against him now that the tension had passed.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Amble and is part of something longer I am working on.

This post is a part of the story about the ex and comes after Why Were We Suddenly Alone in the Woods?.

How Could I Say No When He Desperately Wanted Me to Stay?

I awoke to the smell of salmon cooking on the grill, making my stomach growl. I stretched, and when Clay noticed my movement he grinned and waved large tongs in hello. Suddenly realizing I was still topless I sat up, looking toward the pool in search of my bathing suit. Not seeing it, I swung my legs around so I could stand, turning my back to him, now bashful about my nudity.

My leg had knocked something from the chair onto the ground. Bending, I was grateful to discover my lost clothing, which I quickly tied around me with relief.

By then Clay was putting the food on a platter so I joined him at the wrought iron table on the deck. The food was expertly prepared and the wine he had picked paired perfectly with the fish. Until that moment I had never appreciated how wine could enhance the flavor of food.

I was only able to eat half of the filet he had prepared for me. Combined with the grilled veggies and salad that accompanying the meal, it was more than enough to satisfy my hunger. Full, I sat back with my wine in my hands, listening as he told a story about a fishing trip he’d been on when he was younger.

Noticing I had stopped eating, he paused in his tale to ask, “Don’t you like it? Is there something wrong with it?”

“No,” I replied. “Everything was delicious.”

He still looked worried but he finished what he’d been saying, then began to clear the table. I offered to help but he insisted he wanted to do it himself. Returning from the kitchen he carried with him a large slice of key lime pie on a plate with two forks.

Sitting down, he moved his chair so that it was touching mine. “I hope you like key lime pie. This is the best there is!”

“I’m stuffed,” I told him. “It looks great but I really can’t eat anymore.”

He looked so disappointed, like a little boy forgotten by Santa at Christmas. When he held a forkful in front of me to taste, I couldn’t say no. When I was rewarded by a huge grin I decided a little pie wouldn’t hurt if it made him so happy. I smiled back at him and accepted another bite.

When the plate was empty I sat back with a groan, my stomach aching from the excess food. I felt cheerful though. The day had been amazing and I sincerely hoped I’d be able to see him again soon. I just wasn’t sure how to broach the subject. I didn’t have a lot of experience with men, and I had to admit that he was out of my league.

Taking a deep breath I decided to just say something. What was the worst that could happen? He obviously liked me, and even though he’d had opportunity to take advantage of me he hadn’t even tried, which showed both self-control and respect.

“Thank you for everything today. It’s been incredible. I hope we can see each other again.”

“Are you leaving?” His crestfallen look surprised me, but also gave me confidence that he truly did want to see me again.

“I have to work in the morning, and I really need a shower. Today has been wonderful though.”

Again upset by my answer, he looked practically despondent. I wanted to say something but I didn’t know what would help.

“Stay with me. You can use my shower,” he pleaded.

“I can’t. I’m not ready, and I don’t have any clothes with me anyway. Plus I have a conference call at 9 that I need to be on. Why don’t we get together tomorrow night?”

Woebegone at my imminent departure, he dropped his gaze. I couldn’t understand why it would bother him so much that I needed to go home.

“Please, just one more night. I’ll bring you home in the morning. I just don’t want to say goodbye yet. You can borrow some of my clothes. I promise, I won’t try anything. Have I yet?”

I couldn’t argue with that. At no point did he ever do anything I hadn’t wanted him to do. We had crossed a few lines I don’t normally cross so early, but I had to acknowledge that I had been as eager as he had. I also had to concede that another night spent cuddling with him seemed appealing.

He sat next to me, his head hanging slightly as he looked up at me, his eyes silently beseeching me.

“Okay, if you can bring me home before 9 then I guess I can stay…as long as you can behave yourself!” I gave him a wink to take the sting out of my words. I felt a bit prudish but I just wasn’t ready for more.

He beamed at my words, then jumped up and lifted me from my seat, swinging me around. His excitement was contagious, and I was filled with joy. That I could make him this happy was a powerful feeling.

“I will,” he promised as he set me back on my feet.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Woebegone and is part of something longer I am working on.

This post is a part of the story about the ex and comes after .

What Did I Need To Do To Fix His Sullen Mood?

As we sped toward Clay’s house in his Porsche 911 Boxter, I reflected on the vacation. Things had not worked out the way I had hoped. I had wanted to introduce him to the people who were important to me, start bringing him into my life. I had expected my friends to welcome him, to love him simply because I loved him. That just wasn’t the case. He didn’t fit in, and honestly I wasn’t sure how much I did anymore either. The games and antics I’d once thought so fun now seemed almost childish.

It would have been wonderful if they had accepted him, integrated him into that tight knit group of friends. But it didn’t matter that they didn’t. Their disapproval didn’t change anything. They didn’t get to see what I saw in him: his sincerity, his kindness, his selflessness. True, Clay had been somewhat reticent, but they had made little effort to make him feel included.

I hoped in time they would be less critical, once they realized how much he meant to me. Until then, I figured I’d just spend time with them when he was busy doing other things. Somehow it would work itself out.

Looking at him I could see the strain these past few days had caused. His jaw was set firmly, his expression almost angry. I couldn’t blame him. They had treated him unfairly and he had a right to be upset.

I reached across the center console to squeeze his right arm. When he returned my conciliatory smile with a grimace I realized the tension between us might be more significant than I’d imagined. Nervously I wondered if he blamed me for the problems over the weekend.

Should I have defended him more? I wasn’t sure. They were my friends and although I wasn’t particularly happy with their behavior the past couple of days, they were good people, meaningful to me. They had helped me through all of life’s ups and downs, had listened to my woes, encouraged me through the college years and supported me both emotionally and financially when I was struggling on my own.

I knew we should talk about what happened. I just wasn’t in the mood to defend them or to rehash why they meant so much to me. Pushing aside my frustration I resolved to cheer him up. The vacation was in the past. It was time to move forward.

“I can’t wait to get home,” I began, knowing that Clay would be pleased with my use of the word home. He wanted me to think of his extravagant house as my home.

As I’d hoped, the brief smile he returned was a bit more sincere, but his attention remained focus on the road, his face still tense. There had to be more I could do to relieve the strain between us. I watched the trees on the side of the highway fly by as I tried to think.

An idea came to me, and glancing surreptitiously at him I wondered if I dared. Part of my fear was in getting caught, a risk that also added some excitement to the plan that was forming. But I also worried that he was too irritable to go along with it.

Wanting to test how he might respond, I shifted in my seat so that I was turned toward him. I attempted a seductive expression, then ran the fingers of my right hand the length of his thigh. When he didn’t even acknowledge my touch I decided I had to be more forthright in my approach.

He looked at me questioningly as I unlatched my seatbelt and rested on my knee on the seat. Already this was an improvement over his sulking. Placing my left elbow on the armrest to keep me from falling, I leaned over to kiss his neck, my right hand resuming it’s caress of his thigh. His response this time was almost immediate. His breath caught at the surprise and he squirmed in his seat when my hand explored higher.

His eyes remained on the road, but I now had his attention. I allowed my warm breath to tickle his ear as I told him there was a scenic view parking area coming up that I wanted to see. Briefly he turned his head to meet my gaze, understanding of the suggestion clear in the lustful expression that had replaced the angry one.

Pleased with my victory, I settled back into my seat, both anxious and aroused by what was to come.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Integrated and is part of something longer I am working on.

This post is a part of the story about the ex and comes after the vacation is complete. There is a gap between yesterday’s post, Why Were We Suddenly Alone in the Woods and this one that has yet to be completed.

Why Were We Suddenly Alone in the Woods?

The smell of fresh coffee, pancakes and bacon drew the others from their rooms. As each passed to grab a plate they thanked me for cooking with a hug or pat on the back. Clay was perched on one of the bar stools at the counter looking strangely petulant. I wasn’t sure what could be bothering him. He had been fine just a few minutes before.

Breakfast was loud and boisterous with multiple conversations at once and plenty of laughter. I tried repeatedly to draw Clay into the chatter but he seemed subdued, almost sullen. I squeezed his hand under the table and smiled at him reassuringly. Raising one eyebrow he gently shook his hand free of mine and caressed my thigh, slowly edging his way up under my shorts. He grinned and I rolled my eyes. If this made him feel more included as he listened to this group of strangers then I wasn’t going to stop him. I knew how uncomfortable it could be when you were the newcomer, feeling excluded from all the inside jokes.

I could allow our own inside secret. I was beginning to enjoy the teasing distraction anyway. The thrill of these clandestine trysts, covert explorations, stolen kisses was completely new to me. The rush of pleasure at his touch, left me craving more. That no one at the table knew what was happening was exciting in a very unusual way.

Once everyone was full, it was quick work to clean the kitchen and prepare a picnic lunch for our hike. I was really looking forward to a long trek through the woods to the waterfall we’d read about. Since no one had a vehicle big enough for all eight of us we rode with Ryan and Emily, snuggled up in companionable silence in their back seat for the 20 minute drive.

Arriving at the trail Ryan hoisted one of the backpacks containing food and water onto his back while Mike grabbed the other one. Liz checked the map and pointed to the trailhead. Taking charge, Clay led the way as I scurried to keep up with his brisk pace. After a while I noticed that the the rest of the group was starting to lag behind. I glanced over my shoulder as we crested a hill and realized that they were no longer in sight.

Placing my hand on his arm to stop him I suggested, “Why don’t we wait for everyone to catch up?”

“I thought you wanted to see the waterfall,” he replied matter of factly.

I was confused by his response, unsure why he thought that was the only goal. Yes, I wanted to see the waterfall, but I wanted to see it with my friends, the ones I came on vacation to spend time with. Trying to remain tactful I proposed an alternative I knew he wouldn’t refuse.

Positioning myself in front of him, blocking the trail, I slid my hands up under his shirt, appreciating his smooth, rippled skin while hoping to divert his attention enough to give the dawdlers time to reach us. I was relieved when Clay beamed like he’d just won the lottery, grateful my ploy would work.

Unexpectedly he swept my legs out from under me, cradling me in his arms. I yelped in surprise, my ruse forgotten as I suddenly wondered what his plan was.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Petulant and is part of something longer I am working on.

This post is a part of the story about the ex and comes after How Can I Resist His Playful Distractions?.

It’s Scary to Admit How Crazy I Felt

Before his foot hit the bottom step as he came looking for me, as he did every time he returned home, I shoved the partially filled backpack in the dark recesses under the bed, concealing my intent to leave. I couldn’t let him know what I was thinking, couldn’t reveal my fears.

As I listened to the footsteps on the stairs I tried to think. I considered where I should be when he got to the bedroom, what I should be doing. What would be normal? I almost couldn’t imagine what “normal” would look like anymore.

I glanced around the room, fighting panic, when the open door to the balcony drew my attention. Yes! I ran on my tiptoes, hoping my movements would be inaudible, and threw myself onto the lounge chair. A dog-eared book rested on the small table nearby so I grabbed it and opened it just before he entered the room.

He called my name, his tone as tender as always.

Doubt began to creep in. I again wondered if it were possible I had misjudged the situation. I certainly hadn’t been feeling myself for a while, and honestly he had never said I couldn’t leave, never prevented me from going home. Technically I was free to go wherever I wanted. He wasn’t even here all the time. It was just more convenient for me to stay here, and I had to admit his home was incredible. Who wouldn’t want to live in such luxury?

Suddenly it occurred to me that I must be suffering from paranoia. Maybe it was a symptom of the illness I’d been fighting. I really hadn’t been feeling very well.

Determined to call my doctor in the morning, I called to him, “I’m out here.”

I took several deep breaths, attempting to calm myself and swiped at the tear still resting on my cheek. I felt ashamed about what I’d been thinking. How crazy was it to believe he was anything other than the sweet, attentive, caring man he’d been since we had met?

When he saw me, concern immediately shadowed his face. “What’s wrong?” he asked, worry apparent in his voice. He rushed to my side, sat on the edge of the lounge by my knees and grasped my clammy hands with his warm ones.

I shook my head, a silent no. Was it a rebuff of his attempts to console me, or a denial that something was wrong?

“Please,” he pleaded. “Tell me. I can help.”

Then out of nowhere I was crying again. Tears flowed freely down my cheeks as sobs shook my chest. I felt like I was losing my mind, that I no longer had control over my thoughts or emotions.

I couldn’t tell him that, couldn’t admit that I was sincerely afraid I was going insane.

Instead I let him hold me, his shirt becoming damp with my fears, as I took solace in his loving embrace.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Solace and is part of something longer I am working on.

This post is a part of the story about the ex and comes after Why Do I Hesitate When I Know I Should Escape?.

What Surprises Await on the Other Side of the Gate?

He quickly returned our snacks to the cooler and folded the large blanket, insisting on carrying both as we left the beach. Following a path through the sand dunes, he led me to a gate, different from the one we had taken when we’d left earlier. Even with his hands full he managed to unhook the latch and gallantly held it open for me.

Stepping past the lush vegetation along the fence I was surprised to find a large infinity pool, a hot tub with a waterfall perpetually pouring warm water gracefully perched above the deep end. Appealing lounge chairs surrounded three sides, two of them resting close together in the shallow water where the tile faded from pool to patio. On the far side was an inviting cabana, offering shade from the hot sun and comfortable sofas for relaxing. A wrought iron dining table and chairs overlooked this area from its raised deck adjacent to an incredible outdoor stone kitchen, closer to the house.

I was once again awed by the excessive extravagance of his home.

Placing the sandy items from the beach next to the fence he pulled me into his arms, his muscular body pressed to mine, his hands stroking my hair. The moment was both tender and arousing, almost as if her were expressing deep emotions without words.

What was he thinking? Did he feel the same connection I was beginning to sense? I’d known him less than 24 hours but already I was starting to imagine a future together. Was it possible this smart, successful, charming man could want to be with someone like me? Could he fall for a nobody, a plain Jane from a middle-class family? I fervently hoped so. I couldn’t imagine anything more perfect.

A delicate kiss on the top of my head shifted my attention back to him and I turned my gaze up to meet his. Bending, his kiss ignited exquisite anticipation within me. With my focus on that one point of contact I barely noticed as he slowly walked forward, gently forcing me back. I only became fully aware of our movement when my foot reached the warm water.

He continued to propel me deeper into the pool, until the water almost reached my shoulders. Stopping, his lips moved down my neck to graze my shoulder. Apparently finding the string holding my bikini top in place intrusive, he untied the knot and let it fall away from my chest. He caressed my warm skin with the tip of his tongue, sending the blood pumping through my veins. With a soft moan I leaned back slightly, welcoming his touch, allowing him to support me with his embrace.

Slowly working his way back from my chest he pulled me closer to him, finally removing his meandering lips and resting his cheek on top of my head. As he held me tightly he untied the final knot holding my top in place and let it fall into the water.

After several minutes he guided me from the water and led me to one of the lounge chairs at the edge of the pool.

“We should stop before I go too far,” he announced, his voice husky. The hungry look in his eyes contradicted his words. I too struggled to contain my emotions. I almost begged him not to stop, pleaded with him to finish what he had started, but he was right; I wasn’t ready. With a mixture of relief and disappointment I laid on the chair as he retrieved drinks from a small refrigerator concealed discreetly nearby.

Closing my eyes I was surprised at how relaxed I felt, especially now that I was topless. I’ve never been particularly comfortable with nudity but somehow with Clay it just seemed natural. Right before I drifted off to sleep I reflected on how time here appeared to be as abundant as the luxury, like we had all the time in the world.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Abundant and is part of something longer I am working on.

This post is a part of the story about the ex and comes after We Were Carefree as We Played on the Beach.

How Can I Challenge Him Now That I Know the Truth?

Come home.

That’s his entire reply. Nothing else. No clue to indicate if he’s angry, no hint that reveals if he knows where I am.

I had hoped for more…or less. I had wished for an angry tirade that somehow showed his hand, or proclamations of love and forgiveness; or maybe no response at all. Instead I get a simple command. Two words are not enough, but also far too much. My mind is stuck between these extremes, trying to read between the lines, words that don’t exist, unable to move beyond this, to parse out what I should do next.

Silently using his hand to lift my chin so that I’m looking up at him instead of down at my phone, Caleb says resolutely, “Don’t deviate from the plan. You can do this.”

More than anything I want to hand him the phone and tell him to do it, beg him to do it if I have to. He had been right though, the words have to be mine. Clay can’t know I have help. Our greatest advantage will be surprise.

I don’t know Caleb’s plan. He has only told me I need to get Clay to come to the cabin. He told me he would take care of the rest, that it was better if I didn’t know the details. In truth I don’t want to know. I want this over, however it happens. I tried to go to the police, tried to do the right thing, but they wouldn’t help. They treated me as if I were simply overreacting, or worse a scorned woman seeking revenge on her ex, but never did they entertain the idea that Clay was anything but the upstanding citizen he appears to be.

So I’m on my own, except not entirely alone. I do have help. I have someone who claims he can end this. I have just one thing I need to do. It’s my responsibility to bring him here.

I should have known he would expect me to go to him. Everything from the very beginning had been on his terms. I went along with it, only rarely challenging him, and those limited times he managed to turn circumstances to align with his wishes anyway. Some would call it compromise, but it feels different than that.

What would have happened if I’d stayed true to myself, stuck with my convictions instead of following his every wish? Would we have parted sooner had I not conformed as much? If I had insisted on living my own life from the beginning would he still have chosen me as his prey? All along I had complied with his wishes, without ever realizing that to do otherwise, to challenge his authority could be dangerous. Now that I’ve learned the truth, how can I possibly stand up to him?

Caleb, his arms still around me, gives me a squeeze, an unspoken question or perhaps encouragement. I need to do something, I just have no idea what.

What would prevent me from going to him? How can I convince him I need him to come here?

All at once it hits me. I know how to persuade him, so I begin to write:

I wish I could but I’m staying in a cabin and my car won’t start. I thought if I could get away I could think for a little while. Now I’m out here in the woods and honestly scared. I can’t even go home.

I hit send and hold my breath. Then one more thought begs to be added:

Please help me.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Deviate and is part of something longer I am working on.

This post is a part of the story about the ex and comes after Why Do I Tremble with Both Fear and Regret?.