This is based on today's WitFit prompts at Fictionista Workshop. You'll find it below.
I honestly have no idea where this is going, and here are a few things to keep in mind: this is the first time I've ever written anything without an outline, all of this will be unbetad, and this is the first time I've ever written in present tense.
In other words, this could get ugly.
I'll try to use the daily prompts from FW to move the story along, but there is an off chance that I'll use this header for another story arc in addition to this one. Please keep an eye on the author notes.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Word prompt: Deluxe
Dialogue flex: "Keep your hands off my stuff," he said.
I'm looking through my wedding album when I hear it. ""Keep your hands off my stuff!" my daughter shouts from her room.
I sigh and get up from the couch. I was enjoying my few minutes of respite, an escape into my grief where he's still here and I'm a whole person.
I don't usually allow play dates. Not because I want to shelter her, but because I want to shelter myself. My grief overwhelms me and I don't want to sit and chit chat with another mom, pretending to be happy.
When I get upstairs, they're playing quietly, cards in their hands. This boy, Seth, is a new neighbor. His family just moved in next door and Mae asked me if she could have the new boy come over and play after school. I didn't want to deny her again, so I went to speak to his mother.
She was the overly friendly, effusive sort. The exact opposite of me. But I endured for Mae.
"Everything all right?" I ask Mae from the doorway.
"Yes, Mama," she tells me.
Seth looks over at me and smiles. "Yes, ma'am." Such a polite little boy.
They're playing Uno, Deluxe Edition. Jasper taught her to play last year. When I think about them sitting at the kitchen table, laughing and teasing each other, my heart hurts and my mood darkens even more. He'll never teach her another game, never hug or kiss her, never call her "angel" ever again.
He's gone and he's never coming back and I want to cry and scream in frustration. He was a good husband and a good father and he shouldn't have been taken from us so soon.
I leave them to their game, wondering about what could have prompted Maeve to yell like she did, but I can't find it in myself to give it too much thought. I'm tired and it's almost dinner time.
I put a tray of chicken nuggets and French fries in the oven, making enough for the boy upstairs. I'm hoping his mother will come and get him soon, but I need to be prepared. I don't want to go over there again. Her house is too nice and too bright. It has that comfortable, lived in look, even though they've only been here for a few weeks.
Their house is alive. It's not marred by absence.
I'm startled by a soft knock on the front door.
I smooth my hair down and clear my throat, expecting Seth's mother. No one else comes over.
There's a man on the other side, and I see the resemblance almost immediately.
"Hi, I'm Edward, Seth's father," he says.
"Bella," I say with a small smile. "Come on in. The kids are playing upstairs."
"Thanks. I hope he wasn't a bother," he replies, stepping into the foyer and following me through to the living room.
"Not at all. Please thank your wife again for letting him come over."
He looks uncomfortable. "She's not my wife."
He doesn't elaborate and I don't care enough to press further. So I smile and tell him I'm going to get the kids.
I hear them talking quietly when I'm in the hallway outside Mae's room. " My dad died," I hear her say. Tears well in my eyes and my heart hammers in my chest.
"What happened?" Seth asks.
"He got cancer." She sounds so matter of fact when the mere mention of my deceased husband effects me so deeply. I wonder if it's her age–I don't know if a six year old can really process death–or if we're just made of different stuff. I always thought she was more like her father than me. He could be so stoic and guarded. Except where she was concerned. His sun rose and set with her.
"I'm sorry," I hear Seth say. "My parents don't live together anymore. They're divorced. They used to fight a lot."
"My parents did too, right before my dad got sick."
My stomach turns and I feel like I'm going to be sick. I didn't think she remembered the time before Jasper got sick, when things were falling to pieces. I didn't want her to remember him that way. I didn't want to remember him that way.
"Seth, your father is here," I call out, making my presence known before I show myself in the doorway.
Seth is getting up from the bed where Mae is still sitting. She follows us downstairs where Edward is waiting.
He's wearing jeans and a casual shirt under his thick coat and I briefly wonder what he does for a living and if he changed before he came over.
When Seth runs over and hugs him, I once again notice the resemblance – it's startling. They have the same copper colored hair, pale skin, and easy smile. But Seth's eyes are a warm brown and his father's–Edward's–are a striking green.
"Thanks again," Edward says, carrying him out to the foyer and grabbing Seth's coat.
"No trouble at all," I assure him.
"Your daughter is welcome at our place any time."
"Her name in Maeve, Daddy."
Edward smiles at the correction and addresses Maeve directly. "It's nice to meet you, Maeve."
She hides behind my leg but smiles and waves.
I manage a small smile as I say goodbye.
I feed Mae her dinner and even manage to choke down a few french fries. My mind is still on the conversation I overheard and I'm having trouble figuring out a way to approach her. Finally, I decide to just ask.
"What do you remember most about Daddy?" I ask.
She shrugs and takes a sip of her water.
"Come on, there must be something," I prompt.
She shrugs and looks down at her plate. "I don't want to make you sad."
"It's okay, you can tell me. Even if it's bad."
"It's not bad," she says. "It's just every time I talk about Daddy you get sad and sometimes you don't come out of your room."
Hot tears sting my eyes as her words sink in.
It's my first clue that I've been doing my daughter a disservice.
I just don't know how to fix it.
I tell her I love her, give her extra hugs and kisses at bedtime, and stay up late into the night, thinking.
Thanks for reading.