Write Edit Publish: Romance

I haven't participated in WEP for such a long time. This month's theme is Romance, not one of my stronger genres, so I thought I'd give it a try.



Last year I got an idea for a novel, and the following scene was inspired by that novel idea. Hopefully I'll get the rest of the novel written for NaNoWriMo in November. I wrote it kind of last minute so it's not brilliant, and it's not your typical romance either. I hope you enjoy it!



Conflicted

The door creaked loudly as I opened it, echoing around the small dark room. She was sat rigid on the mattress, wide eyes fixed on the door, but when she realised it was me, she relaxed and lay back on the mattress, smiling slightly. I edged inside, locking the door behind me, and crossed the concrete floor to sit beside her. I held out the brown paper bag in my hand, and grinned.

“Guess what I brought?”

She sat up, her eyes fixed longingly on the bag. Then they flicked to the door.

“Don’t worry, he’s not home. He’s out for the night.” I said, reaching into the bag and handing her a cheeseburger and fries.

Relief flooded her face and she took the food eagerly. She bit into a fry and groaned, her eyes closed as she chewed. “This is possibly the best thing I’ve ever tasted.”

“I thought you’d like it,” I said, leaning back against the brick wall.

“So, what’s the occasion?” she asked, taking a bite of her burger.

“I just figured you’d be getting sick of noodles.”

“You’re right,” she said, rolling her eyes.

“Sorry,” I said, reaching over and grabbing a fry. “They’re pretty much all Steve buys.”

She stiffened at the sound of his name.

“He won’t hurt you, you know,” I said.

“Oh yeah?” She said, raising an eyebrow. “He already hurt me once.”

I reached out and traced the fading yellow of the bruise under her eye. “But I wasn’t there then. I won’t let him hurt you.”

A sad smile appeared on her lips, and she put a hand over mine. “You wouldn’t be able to stop him.”

I took her hand in mine, marveling at how small it was. “I promise you,” I said, looking her straight in the eye. “I promise you I won’t let him hurt you, ever again.”

She smiled properly then, but I could tell she didn’t believe me. I released her hand and picked up her fries, discarded on the worn blanket covering the mattress. “Here, finish your feast.”

She took the fries and began eating them slowly, as though she was savouring every one.

“I’ll have a word with Steve about feeding you better,” I said, running a hand through my hair.

She paused, a fry halfway to her mouth. “It doesn’t matter, the noodles are fine.”

This time I rolled my eyes. “How can the noodles be fine? They probably have zero nutrients in them.”

“I just…I don’t want you to make him angry.” She looked at me, her eyes wide. “I don’t like it when he gets angry.”

“Look, he isn’t going to get angry just because I suggest a change in your diet. Anyway, it doesn’t have anything to do with him. I can buy all the food, and cook it. He doesn’t even have to know. If it makes you feel better, you can have noodles when he’s in and when he’s not, I’ll cook you something.”

She smiled. “I can’t imagine you cooking.”

I shrugged. “Well, to be honest I’ve never really tried. But it can’t be that hard, right?”

She giggled, and I gave myself a mental high five; it was so hard to make her laugh. She put the food wrappers back in the paper bag and handed it to me. “Thanks,” she said, her cheeks turning pink. “I appreciate it.” She looked up at me and instead of the smile I was expecting, I could see tears in her eyes.

I put the bag on the blanket and took her hands. “What is it?”

“Couldn’t you…couldn’t you just let me go?” she asked, a tear sliding down her cheek. “When he goes out one day, you could just let me go and say I escaped. Please?”

I stroked her lank hair off her face, wanting her to stop crying but not knowing how to stop it. I bit my lip. “I can’t, you know I can’t.”

“I won’t tell anyone, I promise,” she said, tears streaming down her face now.

“How could you not?” I asked. “I would, if I were you.”

“Because,” she whispered. “Because it would get you in trouble, too. And I wouldn’t want that.”

My heart leapt, but I pushed my feelings down. “He knows where you live. Even if I did let you go, he would just hunt you down and…”

“And what?” she asked, her voice shrill. “Do something worse than this?”

My face was inches from hers now; I was desperate for her to understand. “Yes! He might hurt you then, he might do something unthinkable! He brought you here just because he panicked, not because he was thinking clearly! If I wasn’t here, he might have already…”

Her eyes widened, and her face paled.

“Why don’t you come with me?” she asked. “Then we’d both be free.”

“You know I can’t do that. He’s my brother; he’s the only family I’ve got.”

She looked down at her feet and I nudged her face up gently so she was looking at me. “It’s safer for you, if you stay here,” I said, wiping away her tears. “I can look after you here. I won’t let him touch you.”

I was so close to her now we were breathing in the same air. “You’ll look after me?” she whispered.

“Always,” I breathed.

She leaned forwards and our lips met; it was the single happiest moment of my life, and one of the worst.

It was true; it would be extremely difficult to let her go, but not just because of Steve.

I just couldn’t bear the thought of letting her go.

I loved her.



Words: 946

Comments

  1. I love this! Buy me a cheeseburger! I am definitely not conflicted. Publish this! So not the typical romance and needs to be shared. Pretty please.

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  2. Well Done Miss Laura . . . . . .

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  3. This is a spooky story. I don't think I would classify it as a romance. Romance is an expression of freedom. Holding someone hostage is evil and even if you are a benevolent jailer, it's still evil. Love would be to conspire to set the object of your love free, no matter the cost. Nevertheless, it is an interesting, well-told story in itself. I'm just not going to settle for a cheeseburger when it comes to romance.

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  4. This is creepy, even with the love of one brother, who tries to soften the truth. Unlawful confinement is never okay. The story evokes emotions and that's a good thing for a writer. How you handle the rest of it would determine how it comes across as a novel.

    A unique twist to remind us that all love isn't sweet and nice, some love is the type that controls, confines, and abuses.

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  5. Ouuuuu I knew this was where it was going!!!! Awesome build up. I could picture the whole scene and felt the sickness of it because you wrote with such a light but steady hand, insinuating instead of being blatant. Very well done!

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  6. Laura, I'm so glad you shared this. It reminded me of Room...have you read it ? Where a mother and child are locked in a small room...
    You wrote this so well. I love stories told mainly in dialogue. In this case it worked.
    I see a romantic element here, and romance blossoms in all sorts of situations. Maybe this guy will release her...depends how your story goes.

    An horrific, but realistic story. It happens. Those who write about it are perhaps giving victims a voice.

    Thanks for posting for WEP . I hope you continue with this story.

    Denise

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  7. Very well done. This is my kind of romance; sick, twisted, and characters that suck you into their story. The characters, the pacing, the voice, all work well to engage the reader. I loved this.

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  8. Saturday June 28th, 2014
    Dear Laura,
    Thank you for your kind words about my WEP-post. I seem to have left comment on the wrong post! Glad I finally found your story for WEP. This is a mixture of romance and terror. Interesting experiment. I was trying to mix romance and sci-fi!
    Glad you are with us on WEP!
    Best wishes,
    Anna

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  9. Hi Laura. Loved your story. Back for a second reading seeing I'm offering a prize this month. Will do a wrap up post on Wednesday at WEP. D

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