CW 20: Love Story

I wrote this today as part of my commitment to the Clarion West Write-a-thon. A dedication means that person sponsored it by donating to CW, and then provided me a writing prompt that sparked the piece. If you would like something written especially for you, please consider sponsoring me.

Here’s all the work of the 41 days. You’ll also find these pieces cross-posted at Sterling Editing as incentive for writers to practice their editing and story-building skills.

Enjoy.


Love Story

For Amy Shepherd and Laura Treadway. Thank you for your friendship and support.

The patio door of the villa opened straight onto the beach. Dave stood in front of the screen door that kept the bugs out; Elena was scared of bugs. To his left, the faint noise of hammers and men’s voices: if he turned his head, he would see them putting the finishing touches on the tent up by the hotel. But he looked straight ahead at the ocean that rolled in like a metronome and stretched flat and blue as far as he could see, as far as the sky, as far as forever. Elena wanted a wedding by the sea.

She came into the room with what he had started thinking of as the Enormous Binder of Stupid Wedding Shit. Precisely calculated seating charts. The exact shade of blue the bridesmaids should dye their shoes. Careful notes on the width of the ribbons that some poor hotel asshole was going to have to tie on every single chair in that stupid fucking tent tonight while the sea rolled in, rolled in, forever.

She settled down on the couch with a sigh. “I need a break. You want to watch a movie? Let’s find a love story.”

“I am so sick of love stories,” Dave said, and it was like something with wings and teeth buzzing into the room.

“Really,” Elena said. Careful voice, tight face, but he could hear wings whirring in her, wanting out. “Then what do you want to see?”

“Okay, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that,” he said. “I’m tired, you’re tired, we have this thing to get through. Can we just watch something mindless?”

“This thing to get through?” In her eyes, in her voice, bzzz, bzzz. “Tell you what, find something with chainsaws and body parts. Because that really sets the tone for the thing.” And she threw the remote onto the couch and went into the bedroom. She didn’t take the Binder with her.

Dave thought he’d go take a walk on the beach, maybe all the way back to Cincinnati.

#

He walked about a quarter mile with the sea rolling in to his left, imagining the Enormous Binder of Stupid Life Shit: the fights, the stings, the scary things inside them that could come flying out anytime.

Like just now.

He stopped. He looked out at the forever. “Okay,” he said out loud after a while. “I get it.”

As he turned back towards the hotel, he could see the tent in the distance, up now, flags flying. And a little closer, Elena standing on the beach, looking in his direction.

The sea foamed in around his feet and left him a piece of bridesmaid-blue sea glass. He smiled. “I get it,” he said again.

They met each other in the middle. “Got you a present,” he said, and put the sea glass in her hand.

“It matches,” she said.

“It’s our color, apparently,” he said. She smiled. That smile could still put butterflies inside him.

She gripped the glass in one hand and gave him the other. They held hands as they walked toward the villa.

“I found us a movie,” she said. “Scream 3.”

“Thought we were going for a love story.”

She held up their clasped hands and said, “Right here.”

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