Even though I blog every day, I still work on my fiction projects. From now on, every Friday will be an original piece of flash fiction, part of a short story, a creative writing exercise, or a snippet from one of my novel-length works in progress.
In November 2015, I participated in NanoWrimo. I did not win due to moving across the state that month and other insane life events. However, I got very deep into the story that I was writing, a story that I now refer to affectionately as Donovan’s Quest. It was originally supposed to be science fiction, but because I have written fantasy for so long, I kept finding myself slipping back into those fantasy settings. Needless to say, the entire work needs a major bit of editing.
But today (!!), I decided to share a scene from project that I really fell in love with. It was challenging to find something that was the right length and actually made a little bit of sense standing on its own instead of only making you wonder. In addition, I only permitted myself to go over the scene once, and only to fix minor errors, so this is quite raw and untouched.
The hotel had been rebuilt since his last visit. He was glad to see it – less memories that way. Or so he hoped. Donovan adjusted his pack, braced himself, and walked inside.
She was older than the last time they had met, by nearly ten years, but then, so was he. Even so, they recognized each other immediately. Donovan dropped his pack on the ground beside the desk and extended his hand towards her, holding a neutral face and trying not to appear too familiar. He fully expected her to punch him. In fact, he was rather disappointed when she did not.
“You’ve been away,” she crossed her arms across her chest and glared at him with such force that he definitely would have preferred the punch.
“Yes. Things became complicated,” Donovan never appreciated being glared at, but it was particularly annoying when the person doing so actually cared about him. And he knew quite well that this person did.
“Complicated? Let’s not even talk about complicated, Donovan. Eight years? That’s going a little bit beyond complicated, don’t you think?”
He did not show it outwardly, but he winced at her words. She was right, of course. It had been far too long. But now that he was here…
“Renee, I need your help with something.” Donovan took back his proffered hand and retreated a few feet so that she could not reach him quite as easily.
She cocked her head to one side and chuckled bitterly. “Of course you do. That’s all you ever wanted. All I ever did was help you in one way or another.”
Donovan took a deep breath. This was the first time he had ever come back and directly confronted anyone with whom he had had a prior relationship with, of any kind. He had never cared deeply about Renee, she had simply been a pretty face and a sharp mind that he enjoyed working and testing himself against. They had enjoyed a lot of things together and he had been well aware of how much she adored him, despite his faults. He also knew that he had been almost relieved when Evan showed up and provided a way to get out of town, giving him an easy way to slip away from Renee without a fuss before she demanded more of him than he was willing to give. However, when he did not forget her, when she started to haunt his dreams, and when he began to feel slightly regretful about his decision to leave, then he knew that something was different. And now, he had finally admitted to himself that she was something special. He did need her help, and he also was curious how she still felt about him. He thought remorsefully that she would probably despise the man that he had become in the past eight years since he had left town.
She tapped her foot irritably, bringing him back to the present.. “So, what is it that you need? I might as well know what it is before I say no.”
In that moment, Donovan knew that she still loved him and would likely do anything he asked. If he was careful and asked in the right way. But he also knew that she would hate him later because of the man he was now and because he would be leaving her behind again. Somehow that bothered him, another strange feeling.
“Have dinner with me,” he said quietly, not sure why the words flew from his mouth.
Her face changed and the glare disappeared, replaced with an expression of surprise and confusion. “Dinner?” she asked as if she didn’t believe him. She probably did not.
“Yes. Dinner.” Donovan ignored his self-taught instincts and followed up his own words. “Tonight. I’ll let you decide when and where.”
Renee stared at him for a long minute, as if trying to gauge his intentions. At long last she shrugged. “What is there to lose?”
Whether you enjoyed it or not, why not comment below and tell me your thoughts? I would love to hear them!