Photo by Kev Seto on Unsplash
Sadly, no one submitted any short or longer stories using Thursday’s Writing Prompt. So, as promised, I did write a story using the writing prompt, but it is too long to put in Thursday’s comments section, so I am posting it here.
I really hope some of you will join me for future monthly Thursday Writing Prompts, the second Thursday of each month.
When Love is Broken
by Kelly F. Barr
Vanessa arrived home from work early. She walked into the apartment and found two long-stem wine glasses on the table. One had red lip imprints near the rim. Her blood began to boil and she stepped toward the bedroom.
The sound of female giggles coming from behind the bedroom door ripped her heart in two. She had suspected, for about three months now, that Dawson was having an affair but she didn’t want to believe it.
What did he find lacking in their relationship? She gave so much of herself to him. Lately, though, she had found his attention and affections lacking. Maybe he had gone looking for someone younger in an attempt to relive his youth.
When the giggles grew louder, she rushed to the door and slipped out. She didn’t want to see what kind of woman Dawson had brought home. She needed to figure out what she was going to do. She slipped back into her 2019 Honda Civic and started driving, not even sure where she was going.
As she drove, a plan formulated in her brain. She drove to the bank, stopped at a quick shop, picked up a newspaper, then drove to a motel on the edge of town and rented a room for the night.
She walked into her rented room, lay down on the bed and cried. She cried until no more tears would come. Then she went into the bathroom and scrubbed her face. After exiting the washroom, she sat down at the desk and opened the paper to the “For Rent” section and circled any apartments that seemed promising.
The next day Vanessa called her boss and took the day off to look at apartments. She signed a year’s lease for the third one she looked at—a cute first floor apartment with a living room, dine-in kitchen, bathroom, and two bedrooms, one of which would be her office.
As she drove back to the apartment she used to share with Dawson, her cell phone rang. She looked at the screen to see who was calling … Dawson. She took a deep breath and released it before tapping to answer. “Hello, Dawson.”
“Vanessa, thank God. Are you all right? Where have you been? I’ve been worried sick.”
“I’m sorry. I stayed at a motel last night.”
“Look, I’m driving. Can we talk about this later?”
“Uh, okay. How about I take you to dinner tonight?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Vanessa, are you sure you’re okay? What’s going on? Can I meet you for lunch at our favorite little café?”
“That’s a good idea. How about 12:30?”
“Perfect. See you then. I love you.”
Vanessa clicked to end the call without responding.
At Dawson’s apartment, she strode into the bedroom, avoiding the rumpled bed. She moved to the closet, pulled out both large suitcases, and proceeded to pack her clothing. She wheeled the suitcases out to her Honda, managed to get them into the trunk, and returned to her apartment. After emptying Dawson’s suitcase, she placed it in the back seat, then drove to the local grocery store where she picked up some empty boxes before returning to Dawson’s apartment. She packed her books and her favorite mugs, some dishes, cookware, and silverware and her music CDs.
She entered the bedroom one more time, unplugged the small television, disconnected the DVD player, and took both, as well as a box of her favorite DVDs, out to the living room. She made several trips to her car, packing the trunk and back seat before returning to her apartment. When she had carried everything into her new home, she released a long breath.
When she arrived at the café, Dawson was seated at a table for two in the courtyard. He rose and met her, leaning to give her a kiss. She turned her face and he kissed her cheek. As he pulled back, he looked at her with a raised eyebrow.
Vanessa smiled and took the chair across from his. She picked up the menu and began to peruse it. When the waitress arrived at the table, Vanessa ordered, then Dawson ordered.
After the waitress walked away, Dawson searched Vanessa’s eyes. “Are you feeling all right? You’ve never stayed away from home overnight before. I was worried sick.” He slid a hand through the black hair on top of his head.
Vanessa’s gaze didn’t waiver. “What time did you start to worry?”
“Time? What do you mean, what time did I start to worry? I imagine once you were an hour late from work.”
“Yet you didn’t call until late this morning?”
Dawson leaned back in his chair and sighed.
Vanessa leaned toward him. “I don’t suppose you were so worried after all.”
“What kind of game are you playing, Vanessa?”
Vanessa, who had taken a sip of her water, nearly spit it across the table at him. “Me? A game? I think you know more about playing games than I do.”
The waitress returned with their orders and the two fell silent. Vanessa put a forkful of salad into her mouth as soon as the waitress turned to leave.
Dawson watched, as she ate several mouthfuls, before speaking again. “Do you remember the first time I brought you here?”
Vanessa placed her fork onto her plate as an angry heat crept into her cheeks. “Let’s quit beating round the bush, shall we? I arrived home two hours earlier than usual yesterday.”
She watched as the color drained from Dawson’s face. “Yes, well imagine my surprise when I found two wineglasses on the table. One bearing red lipstick. Then as I approached the bedroom, I distinctly heard female giggles.” She watched his face for further reaction.
“Vanessa, I… It didn’t…”
Vanessa raised her hand to stop him. “Don’t say it.” She rose from her seat.
“Where are you going?” Dawson rose to follow her as she headed to her car. “Vanessa!”
She turned to face him. “When you return home, you will find my things gone. I have moved out. You will also find that I took half the money from our savings account and all but $1000 from our checking account. If you want to entertain other women, do it with your own money … not mine.”
This time color rose in Dawson’s face—the color red. “Vanessa, this is crazy! We can work this out.”
She shook her head. “No Dawson. I’m afraid we cannot work this out. You had another woman in the bed you shared with me. That is not something I will tolerate nor is it something we can work out.” Her voice had risen with the last sentence. She had gritted her teeth on the last five words, and she heaved with anger.
Dawson turned and started back toward the café. He took about four steps, then turned back to face her and their eyes locked.
“Goodbye Dawson. I hope she was worth it.”
“I can’t believe you took the money.” His face turned cold and his eyes hardened.
A shiver slithered up Vanessa’s spine. If looks could kill, she’d need a body bag.