My Merry Little Christmas #WeeklyWritingChallenge

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I’d had it with him! Blocking his number, I officially deleted my ex-boyfriend from my life. Sitting crossed legged and arms on the sofa, grumpily gazing at the TV but not taking the ten o’clock news in, I shoved my heartbreak away.

I wasn’t going to cry and feel sorry for myself. I hadn’t been the one sleeping around, getting drunk and kissing girls in nightclubs. We’d only been together six months, hardly anytime at all. And anyway, I’d hated his taste in music, movies, his dislike of books and his big ego. We’d had little in common from the beginning and it was only thanks to his interest in American sports we had started dating.

Still though, Christmas was around the corner and now I’d be spending it alone. Well, there was family to visit but I’d feel like the odd one out.

I looked at the Christmas decorations and the little fire burning in the fireplace. It needed stoking and more wood adding. I was in no mood to sleep now, so I got up and kneeling down, grabbed the poker. Jabbing it in, the flames woke from their doze. I put another two logs in and which the fire growing once more.

Back on the sofa, I wanted something to take my mind off things. The TV wasn’t helping, I didn’t have enough concentration to read a book and my house was all ready tidy. There were presents still to wrap, cards to write but I wasn’t feeling up to that. I needed an action plan, something to total focus on and forget about him for awhile.

I got my laptop out and went surfing the internet. There were lots of distractions out there. I clicked on link after link; reading blog posts, news, comic strips, finally I came to some Christmas craft website and scrolled through. There were lots of things I could make but my heart wasn’t in it.

Turning the TV off, I went on to a video website and listened to some live relaxing music. I made some hot chocolate and toast, curled up again and drifted into the sounds of the fire and the sad piano notes.

For some reason, that song about having having yourself a merry little Christmas popped into my head. I hummed it whilst hugging my warm mug and thought, yes, I’m going to have one of those this year and I’ll be happier and better for it.

 

(Inspired by; https://secretkeeper.net/2018/12/10/weekly-writing-challenge-171/ with thanks).

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Frame #TwitteringTales

I saw the small photo frame in a charity shop and decided it would do to put in the wedding gift box. I was determined not to spend the small fortune my sister was demanding people did on presents. I had my own wedding to save up for as well.

(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2018/11/05/twittering-tales-109-6-november-2018/ with thanks).

Restless

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The door of the box bedroom would not stay shut. Seconds after I’d closed it, the door would open again. If I was still nearby I would hear the handle turn and the door slowly moving open. I turned around to look but there never seemed a reason why this kept happening.

I would find my boyfriend, Reece, in another room of the house and start telling him about it for the hundredth time.

He would look at me with wide brown eyes, his face too quickly aged with worry lines and an expression that pleaded with me not to start anything. His short, dark brown hair always looked a mess and he seemed to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders. He was in his early twenties, same as me but both of us looked so much older.

I was younger by two years. My blonde hair cut boy-short, my dull blue eyes hollowed alongside my pale face and too thin body I gave the impression that I was a cancer victim. I had never been, it was just the way I’d always come across. I had been through a lot too. Different from Reece’s experience but it still amounted to the same out come.

‘We need to replace that door,’ I snapped.

‘We don’t have the money and there’s nothing wrong with it,’ he replied.

‘But it won’t close properly,’ I complained.

‘It’s an old house. A house we are lucky to have, Joanna,’ he remind me.

And that would be the end of the repeating argument before it had time to build because he was right. His grandparents had owned the house and they had passed it to him but left hardly any money for the upkeep.

Reece had been in and out of foster care until his grandparents had ‘rescued’ him when he was thirteen. He’d only told me bits and pieces, including how he’d never had a real home and had constantly been abused.

I disliked this house but I had nowhere else to go. Reece’s love had saved me from having to survive on the streets and I was about to throw that away. Maybe, if we were able to make the house ours it would be be different. We couldn’t offered to redecorate or get rid of all the furniture and it still felt like we were living with his grandparents.

I kept trying to let the door thing go but I just couldn’t. I had a niggly feeling about the bedroom door each time I saw it open and I would have try to close it.

Finally, I’d had enough. I saved some money to buy a lock and had a neighbour, Mr Duman, who was a local handyman, fit it for me whilst Reece was out playing in a football match on Saturday afternoon.

Mr Duman was a nice man almost in his sixties and he had known Reece’s grandparents. He was tall, going grey and had a pot belly. He reminded me of images I had seen of Father Christmas.

‘This is the door,’ I pointed out to him, ‘can you please check it?’

He nodded and set to work.

‘Maybe, the hinges are loose?’ I suggested, ‘or the door frame misaligned? Does the carpet catch on the bottom of the door?’

‘No,’ Mr Duman replied, ‘that’s all fine.’

‘Then why doesn’t it stay closed?’ I pressed.

‘Could be a drift or a loose floorboard underneath?’ he said, ‘I could take a look for you, Joanna.’

‘No, it’s okay can you just fit the lock?’

‘No problems. Looks like there was once a lock here anyway. Makes the job easier,’ Mr Duman said.

‘Really?’ I asked and he showed me where an old lock had once been under the door handle.

Then he fitted the new lock and we tested it out.

‘Should be good now,’ Mr Duman spoke with a smile, ‘no more problems!’

That was true for two weeks. The box bedroom door stayed locked and shut. Reece wasn’t happy about it but he could see how much better I felt about it and that was good enough. Then I came home from my job at a supermarket early one afternoon and the door was wide open.

Forgetting everything else, I walked over and looked. The key, which was always left in the lock was on the floor next to the door, inside the room. Nothing seemed to have been disturbed, though there was only an old child’s bed under the square window and small, empty wardrobe on the opposite wall.

I picked up the key, closed and locked the door then went through the rest of the house. Everything looked fine. I tried to put it out of my mind but it was really bugging me. Why would someone do that?

‘Reece, did you leave the box bedroom door open?’ I asked him as soon as he come from work.

He was tried, covered in dust and plaster from his current builder job. He looked at me confused as he took his boots off at the front door.

‘What? No, Joanna,’ he replied.

‘It was open when I got home from work. Like all the way open and the key was on the floor inside the room,’ I explained.

Reece shook his head and dumped his boots under the coat rack, ‘I’ve not touched it.’

‘Then somebody broke in and did!’ I cried.

‘Is anything missing?’ Reece demanded.

‘No….It doesn’t seem like it, but someone must have unlocked the door!’

Reece gripped my shoulders and said firmly, ‘stop getting hysterical about it. It’s just a door, Jo. Just a door.’

I took a few deep breaths and nodded.

Reece took his clothes off so he wouldn’t get dirt everywhere and I took his things to the washing machine. Once he’d showered and dressed, he checked through the house and I made us something to eat.

‘Nothing’s been touched,’ Reece came back to tell me.

He kissed and hugged me, giving me the little bit of comfort he was able too.

We ate, watched TV and went to bed early. I had a dream where I could see the door in front of me and the key was turning in the lock by itself. The door opened, I went inside, the door closed and locked behind me. I tried to get out but couldn’t. I yelled, screamed, kicked and punched the door. Exhausted, I curled in a corner and cried.

I awoke up into darkness and heard the sound of a door slowly creaking open. Turning on the lamp, I woke up Reece and though he was grumpy, we both got up and went out into the hallway.

Reece turned on the light and we both saw the box bedroom door wide open.

‘Stay here,’ he said.

He walked down the hallway, turned the light on in the room then bent down to pick something up. Turning off the light, he pulled the door to and locked it. He came back and showed me the key between his fingers.

‘I’m keeping this,’ he said.

I nodded and watched as he put the key in the top draw of his bedside table.

Without saying anything, he walked passed me and went downstairs. I heard him trying all the doors and windows, making sure everything was locked.

I got back into bed, wondering about my dream whilst I glanced around the old fashioned decorated room. It had been his grandparents room and there was a pink ceiling, flowered wall paper and old brown furniture. At least the bed was all new. I had refused to sleep in the bed both his grandparents had died in.

Reece came back, announced everything was secure and we both tried to sleep again. However, it felt like I spent the night awake listening to a child crying and a door handle being rattled.

In the morning, the door was still locked and we went back to having believed we’d dealt with it. However, I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong and every night it seemed I could hear crying and rattling.

I didn’t believe in the supernatural and I’d never had much of an imagination, my strict Catholic parents had beaten that out of me. That’s how Reece and I had met and stuck together; both orphaned teenagers with lost childhoods.

The noise was getting to me and I starting to hear it during the day when I was home alone. So, one afternoon I took the key from the draw and unlocked the door.

‘There now, stop crying,’ I spoke into the empty room, ‘go out, whatever you are, be free and let us be in peace.’

Leaving the door open, I went back downstairs and made some Chamomile tea. I felt better after that and waited for Reece to come home.

‘Why is that door open?’ he asked from the hallway.

‘Because, I want whatever is trapped in there to leave,’ I replied back.

He muttered something then came into the living room doorway, carrying his football kit bag. He looked flushed and tired, still damp from the shower he had before coming home. He reminded me of a child, exhausted after a hard practice session and long day at school.

‘Do you want something to eat?’ I asked to change the subject, ‘there’s pizza.’

He nodded and without saying anything else went upstairs.

I thought he would come back down but later after calling him twice that food was ready, I went up to find him.

The upstairs lights were all off except for the one in the box bedroom. I went slowly up and along in the dark, my mind turning over all kinds of things. I peered around the door and saw him sitting on the bare mattress of the bed.

‘Reece?’ I whispered softly, ‘what is it?’

He took a sobbing breathe and turned to me.

‘Are you crying?’

I went in and hugged him. He grabbed me, wrapping his arms around me and burying his face into my stomach. He broke into a hard crying which affected his whole body.

‘What’s wrong?’ I asked in a soft voice, ‘whatever it is you can tell me.’

‘It’s me!’ he broke out through the heaving, ‘I’ve been causing this!’ he waved at the door.

I stroked his hair, trying to figure out what he meant. I sat down on the bed next to him, the old springs squeaking and we held each other until he’d calmed down.

‘This was my bedroom when I first came here,’ Reece began, ‘My grandparents didn’t hurt me and they convinced me I was finally safe. For sometime though I would have these angry rages. I would destroy whatever I could, I would scare my grandma and my grandpa. It was his idea to lock me in here to keep them and myself safe.’

‘I see…’ I trailed off.

‘I got over it, I guess’ Reece continued, ‘and they let me have the bigger bedroom next to their’s. I’ve hated this room ever since. Things were better afterwards, until they…’ he stopped and took a gasping breath.

‘It’s okay,’ I said gently, ‘I won’t complain about it anymore. We won’t lock or shut this door ever again. It’ll always be open and you don’t have to worry anymore.’

He nodded and snuggled into me as best he could. I felt his crying stop and his body relaxing. I stroked his face, waiting till he was calm again.

‘We have to make this place a proper home now,’ I whispered into his hair.

‘Why?’ he mumbled back.

I took his hand, placed it over my stomach and left my hand on top of his, my fingers rubbed his knuckles.

‘Because we are going to have a baby.’

What Really Happened #WeeklyWritingChallenge

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This story isn’t about them, it’s about you. Though everyone is going to try and make you believe that isn’t true but at the end of the day what does anyone else actually know? You were there and they were there but everyone else wasn’t and they’ve heard the story second hand and not the first account like you have it in your head.

It was raining in the park and you were walking under your umbrella. You had no busy there and were just out because you were bored at home. You had thought about going to the library but it was shut today. You went into the tree lined way, your favorite area.

Here, the trees reminded you of giant soldiers, lined in welcome and you could day dream about being someone special as you went by. You came to the bench you always like to sit on but today there was a note left there.

The paper was wet but you picked it up anyway and read it. It was a letter to a girl from a boy which started off sweet but then turned sour. The boy was breaking up with the girl, not through any fault but because her parents had told him to.

You felt sad. Why did this have to happen? You wonder about the girl, she’ll feel worse and what would that make her do? Fall out with her parents? Harm herself? And the poor boy! He’d be just the same.

You decide this can’t let this happen, so you take the letter. Why should the young couple be parted? You go to leave, the rain patting off your umbrella and the trees, the letter curled up in your hand. A voice calls out to you, starling you and making you look all around.

A young man comes out from behind a tree where he was been waiting and watching. He demands the letter back. You refused to give it him but he was persistent and says the letter isn’t your’s.

You give the soggy paper back to him. He tells you to go. You watch him place the note back on the bench. You tell him that it’s unfair, there must be another way, two people shouldn’t be heartbroken.

He says it’s none of your business.

You go to snatch the letter but he is closer and faster. He runs off into the trees. You decided because you have nothing else to do that you will wait and see if the girl turns up. You sit on the bench, listening to the rain and waiting.

The girl does come sometime later and before the boy can appear, you call the girl over and tell her all. She is most upset and doesn’t understand why you, a stranger is telling her all of this. You try to comfort her, but she doesn’t want to know.

The boy appears and you watch them arguing under a tree, both sometimes pointing to you. Deciding, you get up and go over, you want to fix things. The couple won’t listen though, they demand to be left alone but you can’t, you are involved now. Though you’ll wish for the rest of your life you weren’t.

You make suggestions about how they can stay together, drawing on experience and fiction. The teenagers are not interested though, they see you as a busy-body and want you to stay out of their business. You explain why you can’t and why you feel the need to help them.

They don’t want your help.

You insist in telling them of a way to escape though. You and a lover once a loped from the island and the young couple can do that to. Though when they question you about that lover, you blank over it – things didn’t work out but why do they need to know?- You tell them to buy tickets for the eleven o’clock ferry and go to the other side to start a new life together.

You pled with them not to let their young love die and to try decided what others tell them. Isn’t first love so innocent? So pure? They need to hold on to that! You try to explain it as best you can but they don’t understand. You give them some money for the boat tickets and tell them to go.

The rain starts to come down more heavily, they look at you then each other. They hold hands and walk away, you watch them go. You head home with a heavy heart and an over questioning mind. Was it the right thing to do? Will they be okay?

You won’t know for days afterwards. Then you see the first TV report. Everyone says it was a tragic accident, the young couple fell over board because the rough sea. Then, that it was murder by one of their parents, a relative, a friend, a hired hit person. Lastly, it was suicide.

It’s never proven what really happened to them. But you know.

(Inspired by; https://secretkeeper.net/2018/07/02/weekly-writing-challenge-148/ with thanks).

Ancient Circles #WeeklyWritingPrompt

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Not much can stop a werewolf. Sliver bullets traditional can but that’s about all. Werewolves don’t fear religion or other supernatural creatures. Perhaps, a daemon could stop a werewolf but why would they want to as they are often on the same side? Maybe, an angel could help then? But I’ve never meet a full one which is saying a lot for me.

Placing the moldering book back on the library desk, I wonder what to do. The sounds around me had long become background noises; people walking, coughing, whispering, the flickering of paper, the sliding of books, the harpy librarians flying at anyone whom they disliked. I put my head down into my arms and tried to collected myself.

‘Neona?’

I looked up and turned at the person who had said my name. Ransom, my boyfriend was standing there, looking ruggedly handsome as ever. His black hair was long down his back, his dark brown eyes deep set and his proud jaw strained with tension. He was dressed in dark blue jeans, a black Iron Maiden t-shirt and a studded leather biker jacket.

‘Any luck?’ he asked.

I turned back to the three hundred year old book that was laying open at a page showing drawings of over lapping circles with squiggly symbols depicted around and in them.

‘This Ancient Circles of Holding and Constricting could work,’ I responded, pointing it out to him.

Ransom lent over to look and I breathed deeply, he smelt of leather and his motorbike’s oil but underneath that was the scent of summer nights and nature; earth, trees, water. I could feel the wild, pure power surrounding him. It was what had first attracted me to him at the Academy and I had known he was a werewolf. It had taken a whole year after we started dating, for him to tell me and now he wanted my help controlling the change.

‘Can you make this?’ Ransom asked.

I glanced down at the drawing and shrugged, ‘it doesn’t look too hard but it’s powerful old magic. I’m not sure I could get it totally right. Some of the symbols look hard to draw.’

Ransom took in a deep breath, ‘I trust you, Neona, we are bonded together,’ he said quietly.

I nodded and closed the book. I checked it out, though the harpy at the desk was reluctant to let me have it, then we went to Ransom’s house.

We made space in the basement for me to draw big enough Circles. I avoided looking at the remains of a twisted iron cage in the far corner. Last full moon, Ransom had escaped from it. The rampage had been bad and taken awhile for the Academy to clean up.

I took some chalk from a new box, opened the old book to the right page and began drawing on the floor. I had together my black witch’s dress about me to make sure I didn’t smear the three overlapping circles as I went. Then, almost pressing the book to my face, I began to draw each squiggly symbol, chatting as I did so to awake the magic.

Finally it was done. I sat back on my legs and looked down at the now shimmering three circles before me. I could feel the ancient magic in the air just waiting to be used. From my bag, I took out a few things and placed them at different points; crystals for more energy, candles for the fire element, silver coins for more power over the curse, holy water to keep evil beings away, sage for purity and my wand, in case I had to use my magic to defend myself.

I stepped away and looked at the time, the night of the full moon would be here soon.

‘It’s done. Get in,’ I told Ransom.

With a nod, he did so and I noticed how hard he was trying to control himself. He was shaking and balling his fists, his shoulders were heaving and his body seemed racked with pain already.

‘Leave,’ Ransom forced out of his chattering mouth.

‘I have to close it around you now,’ I said with a quick look at the book.

‘After get out. I don’t want to risk you,’ he explained.

I nodded and using my wand to help channel my magic through, I closed the Ancient Circles of Holding and Constricting around him. A three cylinder barrier now surround him, glowing faintly red. The runes on the floor glowed either blue or green and I sensed the old magic taking hold and gathering to the height of it’s power.

Ransom let out a painful scream and I stumbled away, thinking I had hurt him. I saw though, his body began to twist and shift into the beast that lay underneath.

A part of me wanted to stay but another part knew there was nothing I could do. I hurried out, closing and magically sealing the new steel door behind me. Hoping that the Ancient Circles held, I raced back to the Academy which was the only safe place to be on full moon nights.

 

(Inspired by; https://secretkeeper.net/2018/06/04/weekly-writing-prompt-144/ with thanks).

Yes #3linetales

three line tales, week 121: together for yes

The nightclub was called Yes and I wasn’t sure why but the story of having to say ‘yes’ to everything that my best friend spun was wrong.

I mean, I was fine with strange men buying me drinks on my big three-one birthday but I wasn’t about to let any of them take me back to their beds!

I knew how to have a good time but not to over do it, as we left I decided that Yes wasn’t really my scene, Satan’s Halo was more my place and the men were much more to my taste there.

(Inspired by; https://only100words.xyz/2018/05/24/three-line-tales-week-121/ with thanks).

Light #TaleWeaver

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Mum died when I was a baby and every since then I’ve seen the light orbs. No one told me they were ghosts, it was just something I’ve always known. I didn’t really speak about them because it was so normal I thought everyone could see the orbs.

They were white and yellow in colour but sometimes I saw lights in blue or green. They came in different sizes; from pin points, to coin size to the biggest being like plates. The lights drifted around everything wherever I went. Sometimes they would vanish then return so it was hard to tell how many where around me at once. I had no real feelings about them, just that sometimes I felt loved and safe.

I learned in high school though that I was the only one to see the ghosts. I told maybe three or four friends one morning and by the end of the day the whole school knew. I become known as a weirdo and had to hang around with the other rejected teens. They though didn’t seemed to mind my ‘gift.’

‘Can you talk to the ghost lights?’

‘No. I just see them all the time.’

‘Doesn’t that get distracting?’

‘How bright are they?’

‘Not that bright during the day at night they can get like a light bulb. I’m use to them so they don’t really distract me.’

‘What if they aren’t ghosts?’

‘What if it’s like something to do with your vision?’

‘Yeah, my brother is colourblind, maybe it’s something like that?’

‘I don’t know….The lights are always moving around, they don’t effect the way I see.’

Despite all the suggests, I know they were ghosts, though I wasn’t sure how I know. It just was. Then, I decided I didn’t want to answer the questions anymore for what further more could it prove? So what if only I could see the lights? I didn’t need anyone else to believe in them to make them any more real to me.

I just got on with life as normal then. I did my exams, I went to college, had my first love and heartbreak then went to university. I found a part-time job in a small bookshop. I was happy and still surrounded by the lights. I never told anyone again about the ghost lights until the man who would become my husband.

It would have been easy enough not to tell him of course but why should I hide from someone who truly loved me? So, soon after he had proposed to me whilst we were laying in the heat of a summer night unable to sleep, I turned to him and said, ‘I have to tell you something…secret about me.’

‘That you are the most wonderful thing in the world?’ he answered.

‘No,’ I answered and snuggled closer to him, ‘there are these lights and they are ghosts and I can see them. I’ve always been able too. They don’t speak to me and they’ve never done me any harm. They are just there and I think they are watching over me and protecting me. I think my mum caused it when she died. Perhaps, she’s one of them or all of them. I don’t know.’

He was silent for awhile and I thought at first he was thinking of how to call everything off or else, as my heart beat so loudly, had fallen asleep suddenly and missed what I’d said?

‘Are they here now?’ he asked in whisper.

‘Yes. I see them all the time.’

He hummed as if he was trying to think of what to say.

I didn’t want to hear what was coming so tried to move off the bed. His grip tightened on me though, making me pause. He drew me into a hug and held me tightly, breathing into my hair.

‘I knew you were special from the moment I saw you,’ he muttered.

‘So, you don’t mind the lights?’ I asked into his chest.

‘No. Because I can see them too,’ he replied.

 

(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2018/05/17/tale-weaver-171-may-17th-light/ with thanks).

Avenue #writephoto

It was too late to go back, Saly realised. She had meandering around the park without thinking. Now, she was at the far side where park met meadows and farming fields. Casting around, she spotting a bench and slipping the headphones off, she went and sat down.

Curling her fingers over the bench lip, Saly looked at the canopy walk away created by the two rows of closely planted trees who’s branches arched and touched high above. When she had been younger, she had believed such structures were tunnels into other lands filled with magic and wonder.

Taking in a very deep breaths, Saly smelt the ting of smoke over the fresh air and earthy scents. There were no signs of flames though, so the gently breeze must be carrying it. She sniffed, thinking maybe it was her partly blocked nose that was causing her to think she was smelling the smoke. Saly had been over the last few days, sensing things that weren’t really there.

Looking down at her knees, she wondered if things would ever be the same again. Of course, they wouldn’t be, not now that he had gone and she was alone again. But that had been one love and surely there’d be another? There’d always been before. It was hard though, Saly told herself, the death of a relationship seemed the end of everything.

Noticing that she was very much alone, Saly let the silent tears she had been holding in all day finally fall. Her auntie had always told her it was stupid to cry over men and a sure sign of weakness. Saly had agreed but how could she stop all these emotions when they were constantly consuming her like an over flowing bathtub?

There’s someone better out there for you, she chatted in her head, this is just another trial run for the real thing. 

Wiping away hot tears, Saly sat up straight and become determined not to cry over him anymore. Staring at the canopy walk of trees, she got up and went over to the entrance. Shadows were playing across the ground and there was feeling of protection within the sheltered area.

‘When you walk out the other side,’ Saly said aloud, ‘you’ll have left your past behind you and take your first steps into your future.’

Slowly, she walked underneath the trees, trying to stay true to her words. For the last few steps she held her breath then taking the first step out, let everything go. She smelt flowers and the coming hot summers. The endless possibilities of her future stretched before her. Saly walked away, her heart lighter.

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/05/17/thursday-photo-prompt-avenue-writephoto with thanks).

Zenosyne #atozchallenge

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Zenosyne; the sense that time keeps going faster. 

I opened the envelope without even realising it was an early birthday card, due to being distracted by the phone call I was dealing with. I stared at the brightly coloured drawing of two half-full champagne glasses with bubbles raising around them then at the fancy pink writing above; Happy 30th Birthday! 

The phone slipped slightly away from my ear, I ignored the still speaking voice from the other end. I glanced around the office, expecting everyone to suddenly burst into singing happy birthday, shoving cards and presents at me. However, there was just the usual chatter and background noises of the office room. No one was looking at me.

I opened the card and a bunch of people had wrote short messages and signed it. I recognised a few of the names from other floors and colleagues from my old role before I’d moved into this one.

‘I’m sorry,’ I said into the phone, talking over the caller’s voice, ‘something’s just come up and I need to go. Can you email that information and I’ll get right back to you. I’m so sorry,’ I added and hung up.

I looked down at the birthday card again in wonder then I picked up the discarded envelope. There were my initials and surname at the top followed by my office floor and address on a printed label. There was no stamp, so it had been sent inside the company. Looking at the card again, I opened it and read a few names inside, just to be sure but there was no doubt that someone had found out and sent this card around.

Putting the card back into the envelope, I locked the draw in the bottom of my desk and opened it. Inside my handbag was safely tugged away. I took the birthday card and shoved into my bag then locked the draw again.

How had they found out? I had be keeping my up and coming ‘big’ birthday a secret from everyone. I pressed my lips together and looked around again, as if the answer was out there. I looked in my in-tray where I had picked the card up with the rest of the post. There were just a few opened letters and papers in there now, waiting to be dealt with.

My phone rang, starling me out of my thoughts. I grabbed for the phone and pressed it to my ear but it was just someone else from another office asking for information on a client. I sighed and went back to work.

I had forgotten about the birthday card, until I got home and was getting stuff out of my handbag. Opening the envelope again, I looked at the card closely, but there were no further clues, expect that only ten people had signed it and I thought more people would have done. I put the card on my bookcase.

‘It’s just a number,’ I muttered to myself, ‘it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t change you.’

I went to bed but couldn’t sleep. It was four days away now and I wanted time just to stop. Could I not be twenty-nine forever?

My hopes weren’t answered and four days seemed to rush by. Before I knew it, I was awaking up and it was my birthday. It was a Saturday, so thankfully no work. Throughout the day, a few people sent me happy birthday messages online and text. I opened all the cards I’d gotten and decorated my bookcase with them.

In the evening, I meet with my family and friends for a nice restaurant meal as planned. Then I went home and to bed. Laying there, I tried not to reflected on how old I was now and what I’d not yet achieved with my life. I blamed my ninety-odd year grandma for asking again when I was going to get married and have children.

‘She broke up with her boyfriend a few months back,’ my mum had hissed at her, ‘remember? I told you. She’s single again now.’

I growled into my pillows and tossed and turned. Typical grandma and mum! It wasn’t that I didn’t want that fairy tale ending, it was just…it was a lot harder to get then the movies made it out to be! I had a flash were I missed my Ex but then I told myself he was more toad then prince and pushed him out of my mind again.

When I got to work on Monday, there were some birthday card envelopes in my in-tray. I opened them and saw that they were from a few different people; my manager, team leader, colleagues and a few other people I knew.

‘It’s you birthday today?’ a voice came behind me and making me jump.

I spun and saw one of my colleagues looking at the birthday card in my hand.

‘It was on Saturday,’ I answered.

‘Why didn’t you say?’ she asked.

I shrugged and swept all the cards into my top draw.

‘Not into celebrating, hey?’

‘Something like that….I’m sorry, I’ve got some clients to phone now,’ I said as an excuse.

The next month flew by and I was grateful for that as most people suddenly knew it had been my big three-oh birthday and had been sending my birthday cards and small presents. I wasn’t ungrateful but I’d rather it was done with now.

The rest of the year just seemed to pass so quickly. Work was busy and I got prompted for my hard work with a difficult client. In autumn, I started dating again and I met this really nice man, who definitely was more prince then toad! Then it was Halloween and soon after Christmas, I couldn’t believe how fast things were going. Time had felt slow before in the led up to my birthday but now I’d put that all behind me things were better.

Toothsome #atozchallenge

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Toothsome; pleasing to the taste. 

It was a guilty pleasure of summer; ice cream on the beach. After months of being on a diet to fit perfectly into my bikini. The cold, sweet ice cream hit my tongue and I moaned quietly in pleasure. For a few seconds, I wondered if it was too sweet but then I swallowed and could only think about eating more.

I heard my boyfriend chuckling next to me and I glanced over at him as I went for another mouthful.

‘Diet broken?’ he asked, grinning at me.

All I could do was nod, my tongue sticky with ice cream.

‘I don’t mind you being a bit chubby,’ he added.

Shooting him a disgruntled look, I got back to enjoying my ice cream. There was nothing that could bet this cooling, sugar rush in my mouth. I shut my eyes and enjoyed the feeling in my mouth.

What was it about ice cream that made you feel so happy? And ice cream by the summer sea just made it more special. Maybe it was the sweet memories of childhood holidays? That small treat on a hot day?

Well whatever it was, it was worth breaking any diet for!