The Challenge: Write a story revolving around ten letters that are significant in the life of Lee and Amanda. The original story involved the phrase "Amanda King" and others.

Summary: A Piece of fluff for the "ten letters challenge". This is a teeny bit mushy at the end, so, a slight tissue warning for you tender hearts.

Author: Lynda Mayfield

Black Books

One year had changed everything for Lee. Married to Amanda, he didn't have them anymore. Black books. Names and phone numbers. Never bothering with addresses. Such information could be acquired later.

Years he had spent looking for the quick one night escort or dinner companion. Perhaps a nightcap afterward, or a bed partner. All of that was down the drain, now.

Yes, he had referred back to them once he'd asked Amanda to marry him. He didn't know why he kept them. Maybe, just maybe, they were a security blanket. If he and Amanda argued, the black books were there for back up. Still, every time he opened one up during the engagement, he closed it again. Told himself he didn't need the black books, but kept them.

Three nights before the wedding, he burned them. There was a state park that he saw. It was illegal to enter after midnight but he knew his Agency status would get him out of any jams. He shoved them into a rusty barbecue pit that still had a few unburned chunks of charcoal. Lighting the pages of the last one, he threw it in with the rest.

Amanda never asked him about them, or for them. She didn't know much about them, except the time Paul Barnes came to town. It was about then that Lee realized he wouldn't need them a lot longer.

Now, he lay in bed with her on a Saturday, just before sunup, totally pleased they were gone. He didn't miss them. He had something better. Amanda. And he didn't need to write her name anywhere. It was already engraved on his heart.

The end

Ten letter phrase: Black Books