Sunday, April 24, 2011
Today's muse: Three Word Wednesday
This is an old prompt from TWW. The words then were: feign, imply, virtue
Some stories need to be told. Miranda's begins here.
And now, it continues...
* * *
Patience is a Virtue
“When you have a moment, Miranda, come into my office.” Rob McBride flicked his head toward the door. Miranda knew he meant now, not when she actually had a moment.
He had already turned away before she nodded her consent. Miranda eyed the reports waiting to be typed out. “I guess I’m working late. Again.”
She walked into Rob’s office.
“Close the door.”
This was serious. Rob seldom closed his door.
Miranda dropped into the leather chair across from his desk, crossed her legs, folded her hands in her lap.
“I’m sure you’ve noticed that I’ve had several meetings with Hamerston.”
Miranda nodded. Hamerston was the competition. She assumed Rob was just telling them to stop poaching.
“They made me a pretty sweet offer. The hire bonus is more than enticing and I’m guaranteed a retirement package. I’m not getting any younger, Miranda, I have to think about the future.”
Miranda felt sick. Rob was leaving. One of the few men she could trust, and he was leaving her.
“I gave notice a few weeks ago, so head office could find a temporary replacement. No one at this branch knows yet. Management is sending out a notice on Monday. I’ll be at Hamerston when you come back from vacation.”
Miranda departed tomorrow to spend two weeks with her girlfriends in Mexico. Wendy had called on Monday to announce that Sarah could get last-minute tickets for Manzanillo at a good price. Despite the short notice, Rob had insisted she go. Now she knew why.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” She wouldn’t cry. And to be sure, she clamped the inside of her bottom lip until she tasted rust. “Were you just going to leave without saying goodbye?”
“I’m telling you now, Miranda.”
She couldn’t look at him. She was angry and hurt. It was like being abandoned.
“It’s not going to be the same without you.”
“I was hoping you’d say that.”
“What else would I say? You taught me everything, took me into your home, treated me like family. Am I ever going to see you again?”
Rob cocked his lips in a crooked grin. “I prepared something for you.”
He pulled an envelope from his top drawer, slipped out a folded page. Miranda took it and read through the three short paragraphs, glanced down below the closing line.
“What the hell is this?”
“I need your signature.”
“This is a letter of resignation, Rob. My letter of resignation, to be specific.”
“Don’t make me fire you, Miranda.”
What the hell was going on? She was just finding her balance and now her world was being snatched out from under her.
“I thought you were happy with my work.”
Rob threw his head back and laughed his baritone bark.
“I’m taking you with me. Your vacation is your notice. I already talked to HR about it. They owe you at least three weeks—plus what you didn’t take last year—so I negotiated for you and they’re giving you your two weeks as vacation and paying you out the other weeks.”
Miranda stared at him, unaware her mouth had dropped open.
“And a good severance package, of course. The deposit will be in your account by the time you come back. Hamerston has agreed on your salary.” He named a figure that was much higher than her current salary. “Plus six weeks’ vacation.”
He waved his hand, cutting her off.
“Hamerston is opening a new division, under a different name. They want me to be President. I need my wing man.” Rob grinned as he corrected himself. “Wing girl . I was thinking VP.”
“You deserve it. You do all the reports now, it’ll mean you’ll have more control over what gets approved and not. I want you to decorate the new offices, too.”
Miranda’s smile was slow and wide as she chewed over the concept. The possibilities were endless. She knew at once it was the right choice.
“This is gonna be fun.” She jumped up and crossed his office, bent down and kissed his cheek. “Thanks, Rob. I won’t let you down.”
Rob blushed, waved his hand toward the door. “Get out of here. Go get tanned. I’ll see you when you get back.”
* * *
Miranda arrived at Hamerston on her first day wearing a wrap-around dress that snugged in at her waist; the dark Jersey clung, showing off more than her tan. When she'd glanced in the full-length mirror at home, she sent thanks to her trainer. Steve was a tyrant, but he was good. Oh, yeah, damn good.
As Miranda toured her new workplace, her smile was wide and easy, implying she was well-rested after vacation. Truth was, coming back from two glorious weeks of sun was not easy. She didn’t know how she was going to get through the day without several fruity drinks and a couple of siestas.
Alone in her office, cheeks numb, hands sore from shaking so many palms, she dropped into her chair. Congratulating herself for not passing out from exhaustion and withdrawal, she allowed a small air punch.
This was it. She could feel it.
Miranda tapped away on her computer, making notes on the ideas that had come to her while she’d wandered the building: protocol she wanted to implement, concepts she thought she’d like to change. She’d have to set up some time to sit down with Rob, show him her proposal.
Out of habit, Miranda reached out, but felt nothing but empty air.
“Right. No coffee.” She pushed back from her desk and wandered down the hall to where she thought she saw the café, the aroma of brewed beans guiding her.
She opened cupboards until she found the mugs; each one stamped with the gold Hamerston logo. She pulled the carafe from the coffee machine and sniffed.
“It’s fresh. I just made it.”
Miranda froze. She recognized that voice. The deep timber shot right through her.
“It smells fresh. And strong.” She didn’t turn around while she poured, needing the time to regroup.
He came up behind her, just to her left and leaned up to open the cupboard, pulled down a mug.
“Pardon me.” His voice rumbled in her ear. God he smelled good.
He bumped his shoulder against hers and coffee sloshed over Miranda’s cup. She snatched a cloth from the sink to mop up the spill. His hand covered hers, immobilizing it.
“It’s my fault. Let me do it.”
Miranda met the dark eyes that had haunted her dreams for months. They crinkled as he smiled.
“Remember me? Craig Matthews.”
Miranda feigned indifference as she pulled her hand away. If she left it there, it would incinerate.
“Oh sure. You met with McBride once.” You wore a dark blazer and tan pants and you made my mouth water.
“You remember.” Craig did, too. The sight of her wearing that snug skirt, swinging that tight ass, would be forever burned in his mind. And when she’d bent over to dial the phone, her blouse had hung open revealing lavender lace.
Craig rinsed the cloth, folded it neatly over the tap. He turned back and held those chocolate orbs, wide like a doe and just as skittish. He picked up his coffee and took a sip, never releasing her gaze. He reached up and tucked a stray curl behind her ear, reminding himself that patience was not only a virtue, but also a reward. Somehow, he knew this one would be worth the wait.
“Welcome to the team, Miranda. It’s good to have you on board.”
Miranda stood alone in the café, gripping the counter for balance. Blood pounded in her ears as she wandered back to her office, trailing her hand on the wall for support.
She sat in her chair for ten minutes before she realized she’d left her coffee back in the café.
* * *
Miranda's story continues.
Friday, April 22, 2011
As Fate Would Have It
Silver glided across the lawn, trees undulated in a soft breeze. In the pale light of the waning moon, she beckoned the Crone. Skyclad, she wore no makeup, no jewellery; only the pentagram tattooed above her left buttock.
She considered performing this ritual last week, but chose to call on the Mother’s energy instead. Asking for anything during a full moon was asking for trouble, as far as she was concerned. Rather than feeling invigorated (as she normally did, when she drew down the moon) she was left with a yearning need—a sexual craving—she couldn’t expel.
It was time to be rid of it.
Without a formal ritual prepared, she relied on her heart, opened it up, pleaded with Hecate to hear her.
“I don’t ask for what I don’t deserve,” she said. “I leave it to you to decide what should be done. I only ask for guidance and strength.”
Hair spilled down her bare back like a raven waterfall as she bowed back, tipped her head to the sky, spread her arms in submission. Afraid to acknowledge what she truly wanted, what she desired most—what might make her happy—she left it to the Fates to rule. She pushed her soul out to the Universe, bared it for the Goddess. The questions she was afraid to have answered, the intense desire she couldn’t control, the lust that raged like a balefire. It all pulsed from her, rolled out in waves.
Twined with it all was her wish. A craving she didn’t understand; desire that filled her, made her lifeblood pound through her, woke her in the night.
She closed her circle, released her spiritual guides with thanks. Her voice wavered as she chanted the words she’d said so many times before. Tears threatened, but she fought them back. This was different. She wasn’t in control this time. Was she ever?
“As…you will, so mote it be.”
She didn’t know what made her say it, to relinquish her will, but it was done.
In the silvered yard, she hung her head in shame, wrapped her arms around her bare breasts. She didn’t know what the outcome would be. She only hoped it would be right.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Today's muse: Three Word Wednesday
Today's words: cleanse, knead, melt.
Well, there's only one thing to write about with those words. Not to mention I'm a little focused right now...I've hit a love scene in Madison's Avenue. First detailed one I've written and far too racy to publish on this blog.
* * *
Cookies and Cream
Lined along the counter like sentries were the ingredients for her prized oatmeal-raisin cookies; a family recipe passed from grandmother to daughter to granddaughter. A light dusting of flour covered the marble countertop. Cooling on the metal rack were five dozen cookies for Nathan’s pre-school bake sale. The last batch was in the oven.
Humming a little off-key, Emily washed mixing bowls, wooden spoons and measuring cups in scalding, sudsy water. Baking was cathartic. Energy coursed through her, spinning her into hyper-mode. While the cookies baked, she scrubbed the counter, cleaned out the refrigerator, and re-organized the cereal cupboard. Did she really have four different kinds of Cheerios?
Not only did the kitchen sparkle, but Emily was no longer angry with Sam. Well, not as much. She knew it was petty, but she wasn’t one to forgive easily. Sometimes she needed to stay mad for a while. The argument was ridiculous, but she wasn’t about to let it go. She’d spent hours preparing a romantic dinner for their five-year anniversary and he’d come home late. Hadn’t even called to tell her he was stuck in a meeting. How hard was it to pick up the damn phone and make a quick call? Or send a text?
Emily slammed a bamboo spoon into the sink, sending up a geyser of suds. Maybe she was still a little angry. She leaned against the counter and closed her eyes. She inhaled a deep, cleansing breath through her nose, pushed it out through her mouth. In again. Out again. Once more. In. Out.
The timer on the oven rang.
Emily wiped her hands on a dish towel, scooped up a pair of mitts. She pulled down the oven door, leaned back to avoid the rush of steam; made a mental note to call the spa and make an appointment for a facial. She leaned into the heat to pull the clay baking sheet from the oven.
This glorious sight is what greeted Sam when he came home. Cut-off jeans that revealed a firm heart-shaped bottom. God bless yoga. He let Emily set the hot tray on the counter before he crossed the kitchen, reaching her in three long strides.
Pressing against her back, he wrapped an arm around her waist, brought the other in front of her to present the flowers he bought.
“I’m sorry.” Thick with emotion, his voice caught and he pulled her closer.
Emily melted into him, forgiveness offered but unspoken.
Sam tossed the bouquet onto the counter as he swept her long curls off to one side. He kneaded her shoulders, pressed his thumbs into the hard knots, shamed with the knowledge they were his doing. Intimately familiar with her trigger points, he nuzzled into the back of her neck, whispered detailed promises. Her feral groan shot through him and he thrust against her.
“When is Nathan coming home from school?”
“What?” Her brain was fogged, blood pounded in her ears.
“Nathan.” Sam trailed his tongue behind her ear, suckled on the lobe. “Our son. Nathan. Home. When?”
“Oh. Um. He’s not.” A coherent word wasn’t possible while Sam’s hands explored, possessed. “Playdate. Until four.”
“Perfect.” Sam spun her around, cupped her ass and pulled her up so she could wrap her legs around him. “We’ve got an hour.” And he carried her up to the bedroom.
Forgotten on the counter, the bake sale cookies cooled next to the mercy flowers, while passion delivered forgiveness upstairs.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Today's muse: The One Minute Writer
* * *
They all said the trek would be worth it; a journey to liberate her soul. There was no question the view was spectacular. She was sure she could touch the clouds. Emerald carpet sprawled beneath a cobalt sea. Serenity embraced her, washed away the burden she shouldered. Why, then, did she still want to jump?
Monday, April 4, 2011
Today's muse: The Dark Place
* * *
The pirouettes are feeble now, my delicate porcelain arms are chipped. Parasites have chewed my tutu, leaving me exposed.
It is bright and shrill when the cover is lifted. I want to dance again, but the music won’t play. Painted eyes streak down sallow cheeks, splash onto the pedestal below. Brackish waste wraps around the coils, halting movement, corroding life.
The blessed darkness is what I yearn, and I succumb to its will when the lid closes down on me.