This was absolutely the last time.
I shook my head, trying to clear the fog, hands clenched in my hair as my gaze flitted across the room, absorbing my surroundings; compounding my conviction.
The scattered remnants, sprinkled with crimson protest, screamed their disdain.
Haley smiled across the table as he fumbled with the wine bottle.
“Need some help with that?” she teased.
He looked up, corkscrew wedged firmly in place, his face fixed with concentration. He pulled his tongue back from between his lips and grinned.
“Nope, I got this.” A loud pop emphasized his declaration as the cork was released from its confinement.
He had been, by far, the best “blind date” she had been on in years. A friend of a friend, whom she’d met in passing several times, had been the setup of choice. Everyone was tired of seeing her so down and beaten by the emotional baggage brought, and left, by her ex-fiancée .
“You need to get on with your life, Haley. He isn’t worth the tears you waste on him.”
“Fine,” had been her reluctant reply. “But I’ve already told you; I’m done. Set me up all you want, but it’s going to be a waste of both his time and my own.”
She watched as he filled her glass, the deep merlot nearly toppling over the edge as it slipped up to the rim, settling finally in a welcoming pool of burgundy.
“A toast?” he asked, peering up at her as he filled his own glass.
She smiled. “What should we toast to?”
“To an amazing, exhilarating two months. You make me happier than I can remember being in a long time,” he said, raising his glass.
Haley raised her glass to meet his, his words rushing through her, filling empty spaces.
He reached out to cover her free hand with his own. “Wait right here.” As he stood and walked to the kitchen, he tossed back, “I hope you like pasta!”
She laughed. “Do you even have to ask? You know better than that!” Her eyes lit up at the sight of the plates piled high with a marinara-topped angel hair pasta. “Did you seriously make this yourself?”
“Of course!” He winked. “Sauce is from scratch, too. Family secret.”
“It looks delicious! You really shouldn’t have gone to all this trouble.”
“No trouble at all.” He smiled and settled into his chair, watching in amusement as she dove into her pasta.
“This,” she said, “is amazing.”
They ate, conversation carrying them through the course of the meal. She had forgotten what it was like to be with someone where comfort just came naturally.
She felt confused, disoriented, as though the world was happening outside of her stillness. She shook her head, trying to clear the fog.
“Are you ok?” he asked, leaning forward.
“I… it’s so strange.. I just. I feel dizzy.”
As her vision tunneled, his concerned face was the last thing she remembered seeing.
I recalled her words as she told me that she’d finally felt she could be open enough with someone to trust them again.
Now, her body: helpless, limp.
Just enough sodium oxybate mixed in her dinner, a fine coating on her glass to blend with the wine, to make sure she wouldn’t have much fight.
I swore this wouldn’t happen again.
She’d said that I was different.
That I made her feel like nothing in the world could ever hurt her again.
I lifted her effortlessly, carrying her, without protest, into the bedroom.
She was wrong.
This is an entirely fictional post written for a prompt by The Red Dress Club.
This one KILLED me this week, for sure. Time constraints and inspiration collided head-on, so PLEASE.. Concrit is most definitely welcome and very probably needed! Was this “the obvious” that Cheryl referenced?
Write a short piece – 600 words max – that begins with the words, “This was absolutely the last time” and ends with “She was wrong.”
Have fun with it. Think outside the box. Don’t go with the obvious.