by Molly Jo Realy @MollyJoRealy

This is another Writer’s Digest Community Writing Prompt from last year.

SONGS: Take two of your favorite songs, and match up a line from the chorus of one with a line from the chorus of the other. Then, write a scene that starts with the first lyric, and ends with the second.

“What are you doing New Year’s Eve?” he asked with a smile; his smile.

“It’s too early to think about that right now.” I tried hard not to fall under his spell. I was certain, however, that my clumsy efforts to avoid his gaze made me look like a fish out of water. A giant, washed-ashore, debilitated, practically dying, fish out of water.

He chuckled as if I were a cute toddler learning to walk. Emotionally, he wasn’t too far off. But I was planets away from letting him discover my reserves. And so I played it off by opening my datebook for evidence.

Datebook. How much more oxymoronic could it be. It was a personal jab, how these bound leather-jacketed pages screamed to be opened to reveal nothing of what they promised. Grocery lists. Doctor appointments. Work assignments. Contact information. Anything and everything. Except dates.

“Here,” I poked. “See? Today’s only – ”

He refused to let me finish. He gently wrapped his strong manhand around my accusatory finger. I’m pretty sure we lit the place up all by ourselves. It was painfully enjoyable.

He sat across from me, playing with my hand atop the café table. Gently pushing and pulling information. So easily, I didn’t even realize I was giving up bits and pieces. So earnestly, I forgot to lie.

“Wait,” I breathed, gripping the table for stability. Wait, I commanded myself.

“What’s wrong?” he leaned forward in his concern.

“You’re making it worse!” I edged my chair back.

“What?” he mock-gasped; knowing full well what I meant. I looked anywhere but at him. If I let go of the table, I would certainly float beyond the neon stars above us in my bliss.

He took my hand again, tethering me to himself. I would not fly away.

“Let’s walk.” It was a gentle command; for he was already rising from his seat, taking his coat and coffee with him. I followed numbly, playing his grown-up game of Simon Says.

He led me over the concrete path, through the intermittent crowds, under the trees raining color upon us. I shivered from the all-consuming experience and he quickly pulled me to the side of the path. Under a dim yellow lamppost, he brought his coat behind me and pulled it around me. I was surrounded by the scent of him. His warm hands soothed the collar around my neck and I shivered all the more, embarrassed that such gentlemanly care could turn me to Jell-O. I knew better than to try to speak.

A red-golden leaf fell between us, startling us both into chuckles. My pent-up, heightened awareness took advantage of my fallen guard; and my body convulsed into a loud symphony of laughter, letting go of all that was in me.

He joined with me, his baritone sound in harmony with my soprano.

A tear of relief sprang to life on my cold cheeks. Still laughing, still holding me close by the collar of his own coat, he raised one hand to tenderly thumb it away. I closed my eyes to avoid showing him inside me; but I felt his presence, his touch. He was not going anywhere.

“Hey.” He whispered. I hesitantly opened my lids to see his breath on the air. He placed a gentle kiss on my lips, and the warmth flooded me, staying even after he withdrew to look at me again.

His smile was new. It was mine. “So, what does your datebook say about tonight?”

I smiled back. “It’s Autumn.” With all it’s joyously colorful experiences. “Autumn in New York.”

And Frankly, My Dear… that’s all she wrote!

Keep Your Head Up
Recipe: Slow Cooker Ratatouille
Sweeten my tea and share: