Daily Prompt – Ready, Set, Done #6

Our ten-minute free-write is back for another round! Tap away on whatever comes to mind, no filters attached. (Feel free to edit later, or just publish as-is).

Sarah woke to the sound of the rain outside her window. She rolled over to her side to look through the droplet-covered pane of glass, staring at the gloomy grey morning outside. ‘great’, she thought to herself, ‘i really don’t want to have to go out into that’.

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Daily Prompt – Bad Signal

Someone’s left you a voicemail message, but all you can make out are the last words: “I’m sorry. I should’ve told you months ago. Bye.” Who is it from, and what is this about?

Abbey burst through the front door, her arms full of shopping bags, her sunglasses fallen down on her face, keys hanging in her hand. She stumbled down the hallway towards the kitchen, attempting to drop her keys into the bowl on the sideboard. ‘Fuck!’, she growled as the keys missed the bowl and landed on the ground.

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Daily Prompt – Just Another Day

Our days our organized around numerous small actions we repeat over and over. What’s your favorite daily ritual?

One of my weird daily rituals is when I get home from my second job, and it’s late at night and after dinner I finally get to have a shower. It’s the one point in the day when I (usually) get to be alone, which means that I get to sit down and just be alone with my thoughts. I do a lot of my thinking, sitting on the floor of the shower.

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Daily Prompt – Third Rate Romance

Tell us your funniest relationship disaster story.

I can’t believe that I’m about to write this…

I remember this one night I was out clubbing with a group of friends, and in true cliched form, I saw this guy across the floor. Our eyes met and it was electric. Now, we had never actually met before, but we had seen each other out at the same venue once or twice. Up until this moment, I’d never actually noticed him. I was still dancing with my friends and he threw a smile my way.

I had one of those moments where I just assumed that he was smiling at me, but then realised that I could actually be horribly wrong, and he’s smiling at somebody else behind me instead, and I’ve just made a fool of myself. Well done. So because of this insecurity, I actually stopped dancing to turn around and look at all the other guys behind me, to see if I was right… I didn’t see anybody looking, but I might have missed it. Besides, he was the kinda guy that seemed somewhat untouchable. Ruggedly handsome, a great physique. You know the type – the tall, really attractive guy, that only is ever seen with other guys who look exactly the same. (SIDENOTE: just recently a new internet phenomenon on Tumblr has surfaced called ‘Boyfriend Twin’… you can check it out here).

This was one of those guys, and I was the complete opposite.

So after standing around looking like a bit of a dork, I turned back at this guy who was just sitting at the bar with a drink, and by this stage he was having a little laugh. He then pointed in my direction.

Me?’ I mouthed the words and pointed at myself with an inquisitive head tilt. He smiled, nodded and mouthed ‘Yes! You!’.

Really?’

He nodded again.

…and then I kinda ‘fan-girled’ out a bit. I called the guys in for a little huddle in the middle of the dancefloor and told them what had just happened. I felt like the cheerleader who was just asked to the senior prom by the captain of the football team. The guys were a bit surprised as much as I was, but told me to go for it. I almost didn’t even want to go over there and talk to him, simply for the fact that it would just be feeding his ego even more, but then I kinda knew it would seem rude if I didn’t.

…but not wanting to give in to his ego won me over, so I stayed on the floor dancing with my mates for a while longer. Sure enough, he danced his way over to me, and almost instantly, I realised that my friends had completely deserted me, and were all watching from the sidelines. I was soooo nervous. We couldn’t really talk much over the loud music, but he tilted his head, gesturing for me to follow him, and stretched out his hand for me to grab and follow him.

He led me out from the dancefloor and into another one of the bars, where we were able to catch some fresh air and actually hear each other talk. He introduced himself, and I tried as best as I could to play it as cool as possible. There was no way I could fan-girl out in front of this guy. I simply refused to. We spoke for a while, until one of my friends came over and interrupted, and whisked me off to the dancefloor and demanded that I tell him absolutely everything that was said during our conversation.

Just as I was finishing the relay of information, this guy, (let’s just call him Steve*) came back up and squeezed his way inbetween my friend and I – basically telling my friend to leave so he could dance with me. My friend was slightly offended and behind his back mouthed out ‘RUDE MUCH?!’ and went off to find the others.

Turns out Steve had seen me here a couple of times before, and loved watching my friends and I dance the night away. He enjoyed just sitting back and watching the people, as we both knew it could actually be quite an entertaining experience.

We knew that the club was going to be closing soon, and he asked me where we were planning on going afterwards. I said I wasn’t sure, but I’d ask the boys what they were planning on doing as they were also my ride home. Without hesitation he grabbed my head and turned it to the side and spoke directly into my ear “hows about I take you home after a late breakfast at my place?”

Whhaaaaaattt?? Was he…? did he just…? Does that mean…? I was a bit taken aback by him being so straightforward. Truth be told, I was quite terrified. I’d never gone home with a guy from a club before because it was something that really scared me. I’d heard so many stories about guys being drugged, raped and / or attacked by a guy they’ve gone home with. You don’t know this person. You don’t know if they’re genuine or if they’re a complete psychopath. It was that uncertainty that scared me the most, but I threw caution to the wind and agreed. I went to tell my friends what was happening and the reaction I got from them was a mixture of happiness, excitement and concern. Being the good friends that they were, and knowing that I was quite nervous, they said they would actually follow us to his place, note down the address just as a safety precaution. If I got scared, I had to send them a blank SMS and they’d be on their way immediately. It sounded extreme, but I wasn’t taking any chances.

We decided to leave and we walked to his car. He held my hand and even opened my door for me… what a gentleman…?! and we headed off to his place.

The in-car conversation was rather awkward. It was different seeing this guy in more adequate lighting – he looked rather different to the dark mysterious guy from the bar. If anything he was actually more attractive outside the club. We got the basics out of the way, what our names were and what we did for work, where we lived and what tv shows we were currently into. When we arrived in his driveway, I got a txt saying ‘ADDRESS CONFIRMED’ and I turned around to see my friends car drive past. I felt a sense of relief and he took my had and led me up the path to his front door.

He opened the door, which opened up to an open plan kitchen / dining / living area. A few dim lamps were already on to provide some mood lighting, and there was music softly playing in the background. I instantly cringed at this guys arrogance. He clearly left all this on in anticipation of brining somebody home. I guess it didn’t matter who it wAs. It was such an instant turn off, and my opinion of him began to begin dropping . He offered me a drink, and I just asked for water, the whole time watching him like a hawk just to make sure he didn’t slip something into my drink.

I’ve seen my fair share of horror movies. This is usually how it begins before you wake up in a bathtub full of ice and missing a kidney. For somebody so cynical, even I was amazed that I was standing in this guys kitchen!

We adjourned to his couch and just talked for a while. He could tell that I was nervous and I told him that I was nervous and quite intimidated because he was so attractive… But knowing that that would just inflate his ego too much, I quickly countered with a couple of remarks about how arrogant he seems to be… Using all these terrible cheesy ‘pickup lines’; leaving lights and music on to create ambiance for when he brought his trade home etc. He was quite taken aback by my honesty and started laughing. He told me that no guy has ever spoken to him like that before, and without hesitation I told him that I’m not like every other guy. He laughed again and started to stroke my arm telling me that he could tell I was different.

Conversation soon turned into kissing, and kissing soon led to clothes being removed. Soon enough he pulled back, stood up and led me down the hallway to a bedroom. He pulled me in close and we fell onto the bed and well… y’know… One thing led to another… But after a few minutes of heavy passionate kissing and hands going everywhere I noticed that, well, little Steve wasn’t too interested in saying hello.

Having never encountered this before, I really didn’t know what to do. There was an elephant in the room (and yes, pun definitely intended) that was being completely ignored. I couldn’t ignore it and asked him whether he was enjoying himself. He said he was and didn’t want me to stop kissing me. I kinda drew focus onto the deflated elephant and asked if he wanted me to leave. I wouldn’t be offended if he wasn’t interested. He exhaled loudly and it became immediately clear that I’d just humiliated him. He admitted that he had a bit of a problem, but he just took a little while to… Um… ‘Get the party started’. He said he didn’t need Viagra or anything like that, instead he asked me if I was into dirty talk. Having never tried it, it was kinda not the best situation to try it for the first time. I think I was just as embarrassed having to ask him to demonstrate, and when he did, I started giggling uncontrollably.

“You have got to be kidding me, right?!” Nope. He was serious. So I tried and felt so stupid, but then I saw how into it he was getting. Each to their own, I suppose! I took this as a sign to really get creative, and it certainly had the desired effect. Turns out Big Steve should really come with a warning sign. Just the sight of it was extremely intimidating and terrifying at the same time. Immediately I knew that this ‘experience’ was going to be quite limited as there was no fucking way that thing was coming anywhere near me.

We spent a while fooling around, and then he suggested we have a shower, as we both smelt quite bad from being at the club, so we moved into the shower. The water went on, and the steam swirled around our naked bodies before steaming up the mirror. He quickly washed himself and then excused himself to go to the bathroom. I took my time and wrapped a towel around me before returning to the bedroom.

I walked through the door and was stopped in my tracks. There, in front of me, was a very naked and ripped hottie laying out a black plastic sheet on the bed, with a lovely collection of accessories dumped on the floor beside the bed. In the dim light I couldn’t quite see what it was, and must have been staring at it looking rather puzzled.

The smell of amyl began to fill the air and he bent down to pick up a leather mask and a gimp mask.

The wave of pure terror that instantly washed over me was just too much to deal with. I couldn’t stay here. I needed to leave. This was most definitely NOT what I had anticipated.

‘What’s all this?’ I asked, curious, nervous and scared all at once. ‘Oh, I thought you might like to play with some toys and stuff and, y’know, have some fun!’

‘Oh, um, I thought we could have just done that by ourselves… I’m not into toys or role play… and definitely not leather or masks or any of that kind of stuff…’

He walked over to me, and put his arms around me. I thought he was going to kiss me, but when he fumbled with my wrists, I realised that he was trying to handcuff me. That was the deal breaker right there… in that moment I knew I needed to leave.

I broke away from him and explained that I don’t do any of this stuff, especially handcuffs!! I walked over to my clothes on the floor, and purposefully grabbed my phone out of the pockets of my pants. I quickly turned my back to him and sent a blank SMS to my mate, knowing that they would be about fifteen to twenty minutes away (providing they came straight away).

Good ol’ Don Juan could see that I was somewhat distressed by his… um… enthusiasm into our night together, and quickly backtracked as much as he could. I was quite surprised that he was so quick to pack everything up and push it aside, but as he was doing so, I was getting dressed and planning my exit strategy – just in case things went sour.

He came up behind me to spin me around, and began apologising profusely. He said that he was far too presumptuous, and he shouldn’t have been; but was surprised because most guys he brings home seem to just go with it.. I reminded him again, that I’m not one of those guys – I’m different.

“But I really want to fuck you. You’re so hot! I know what guys like you are like in bed, and it’s so fucking hot. And let’s face it, you wanna fuck me too!”

I could have vomited right then and there. GOD! The ego of this guy. If anything, that last little outburst made me want to leave even faster. I thanked him for an unforgettable evening, and made my way through the house to the front door. He asked me one last time not to go, and I replied saying that I just simply couldn’t spend any more time with somebody who was so completely full of themselves.

I walked through the door into the crisp night air, and he told me that I was missing out on a fantastic experience, and I’ll never get the privilege ever again. That stopped me in my tracks. I turned 180 on my heels and stormed back up to his front porch and told him right to his face that the only reason he is so full of himself and exudes so much revolting bravado is because he finds temporary comfort in making himself out to be something more than he actually is. Perhaps if he wasn’t such an egotistical wanker, then he’d actually be able to have a normal conversation with somebody and meet a normal guy and fall in love, instead of trying to fill the sadness and emptiness within himself with constant anonymous hookups. THAT is the privilege that he would never experience unless he changed and stopped being such a wanker.

He stood there, staring at me, completely speechless, and I turned around and walked off down the street. As I turned the corner, I called my friends who were a few minutes away. I told them where to meet me and soon enough the eery silence of the suburban streets was interrupted by the sound of my friends car. I hopped in the car and we headed off to McDonalds for a completely play-by-play of the entire experience.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/third-rate-romance/

Daily Prompt – Have You Never Been Mellow?

After a long day at work or school, what are your favorite ways to wind down and decompress?

If I truly had my way with this, there are a couple of different approaches I would absolutely love to take (and used to take when I was single). Now, for the sake of the post, let’s just go ahead and assume that it’s been an incredibly long and exhausting day…

Option 1
I would come home, have a very small and quick / easy dinner by about 6:30pm, have a long hot shower, jump straight into my pj’s, crawl into bed and then watch like four or five episodes back-to-back of one of my favourite tv shows.

Option 2
I would come home, collapse on the bed and fall asleep. I would then probably wake up around midnight, 1am with my bag still on my back, roll off the bed and stumble around in the dark, only to get naked and crawl into bed. I’d find the warm spot where I’d previously been laying, and position myself for maximum warmth exposure, and then go back to sleep.

Option 3
If I’d had a particularly shitty day at work, and was so unbearably bubbling with pure rage, I’d take myself down to the gym for a BODYPUMP™ class and channel all my rage into a weights class. I’d be the one towards the back of the class with rather light weights (well, compared to all the hardcore women in the class), and sweat my hole out for an hour. Breathing heavily through clenched teeth, totally regretting the decision to even come to the gym. Afterwards, I’d drag my sweaty self home for a nice hot shower, and then completely stuff my face with cheese and spinach sausage rolls, followed by either ice-cream or chocolate.

Nowadays, I live a life full of late nights, late dinner and early mornings. I’m a bit over it. I’m finding that Option 2 is regularly becoming something I wish I could do several times per week. Unfortunately, my husband doesn’t support such an idea.

Just thinking about it is starting to make me feel a bit sleepy….

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/have-you-never-been-mellow/

Daily Prompt: Let’s Go Crazy

Sometimes, we act on impulse: it could be something as small as ordering that special dessert on the menu, maybe asking out that cute boy or girl, or as large quitting your job and selling everything you own to become a shepherd in New Zealand. What’s the most crazy, outrageously impulsive thing you’ve ever done? If you’ve never succumbed to temptation, dream a little. If you gave yourself permission to go a little crazy, what would you do?

I walk a conflicting path in life. Part of me wants to be impulsive and spontaneous, but the other part of me is the logical / rational part that considers all the ‘what-ifs’ of being impulsive and spontaneous; weighing up all the pros and cons. I’m my own contradiction, and it’s fucking exhausting.

I find that I tend to be more impulsive with Hulk, however he’s the one who usually says ‘No’. But to be fair, I also have my moments of saying no to things as well. I think when I was younger (and single) I was much more impulsive. I was only responsible for myself, and that worked for me.

I remember one of the most impulsive things I did was jump in a car with a mate of mine, and we drove around to pick up a couple of other friends and then went to go check out the Christmas Lights in a particular suburb. Then my friend (who was driving) simply decided to do a roadtrip. It was about 10:30pm and we decided to just go for a drive to Geelong.

Once we got to Geelong, we decided to go to Torquay, and then before we knew it, we were on the Great Ocean Road. It was the middle of the night and after a very, very long drive we found ourselves in Port Campbell. By this stage it was about 3am. I remember that it was cold and foggy. We drove past the Twelve Apostles, and we couldn’t see them because of the fog. We pulled up in Port Campbell for a toilet break, and because nothing was open, we turned around and came home – except we came home the inland way, as it was much quicker.

As we were driving, I remember we pulled over in the middle of nowhere (literally!) just so we could stop and watch the sunrise. We were deep in farming area, so all the ground was vast and flat, and the sunrise put an incredible glow on all the different coloured crops surrounding us. And for the first time the whole trip, everybody was completely silent. It was just a beautiful moment.

Breakfast was at a McDonalds at a service station on the highway back to Melbourne, and not long after that, we approached the outer suburbs of Melbourne. We then hit the morning traffic… (did I forget to mention that it was a weekday? I think it was a Thursday!) which meant dropping everybody off took soooo much longer than we had anticipated. By the time I got back to my place, it was about 10:30am… a full 24hrs after we’d set off on our journey.

I remember getting home, having a shower (and subsequently falling asleep temporarily in the bath under the running water!), then crawling into bed and completely crashing. When I woke up, it was almost midnight. I made myself some 2-minute noodles, checked all the messages on my phone (Sorry, no interest in going out tonight! too exhuasted!) then went back to bed, and slept for another eleven hours. I was wrecked, but it was a fun little adventure.

Now that I’m older, I don’t get to do anything like that anymore. However, my plans of being a bit impulsive have changed somewhat…

For about 18months now, I’ve been slowly building up my frequent flyer points. I realised a while ago that I could get a one-way ticket to L.A. or N.Y. and I’d just have to save up enough cash for accommodation etc, and all I’d need to do is pack a bag and go.

Granted, this was something I’ve decided that I’d do if I ever happened to breakup with my partner. It’s not something that I anticipate happening, but it was something that I brought to his attention last year around my birthday, when I said I would disappear overseas if he tried to throw me a surprise party…. that’s how much I dislike them!!

Now, my recent statement has shown me that I have accrued enough points for a return flight to either London, LA or NY… which I’m LOVING!! It’s not everyday somebody like me has an opportunity to travel overseas on a whim. I’d love to be able to do it, but I’d want to make sure that Hulk can come with me… so it might need some further planning. A holiday in New York… yaaaaasss!!

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/daily-prompt-lets-go-crazy/

Daily Prompt: Back on the Chain Gang

We all have jobs, tasks, and chores that we dislike doing. Tell us all about the least favorite job/task/chore that you get stuck doing routinely. What is it about this duty that you can’t stand?

 

I think that one of the jobs I absolutely hate doing at home is probably cleaning the shower / bath. We don’t clean it nearly as often as we should – don’t get me wrong, it certainly doesn’t look like it’s starting to grow anything hairy, but slowly you begin to notice soap scum marks on the edges and on the glass, and it’s one of those chores that always goes in the ‘I’ll get to that later’ or ‘on my list of things to do’ pile… but you still don’t actually get around to doing it.

Sometimes I have these completely obscure moments where I’ll clean one thing, and it’ll be about 11pm, and then all of a sudden it’s 1am and I’ve done two loads of washing, stacked the dishwasher, wiped down the benches, tidied the lounge room, and cleaned the bathroom sinks and I have that momentary lapse in judgement where I actually consider cleaning the shower…

…then I realise how much of a pain in the arse it is, and I stop my cleaning efforts then and there. I just wish that it wasn’t such a labour-intense job. I wish there was some kind of cleaning solution that I could just spray on, leave, and then rinse off, and all the soap scum would magically dissolve, and take all the dirt with it… There’s stuff on the market that claim to do this, but I’ve tried them, and they don’t work.

Other than that, I actually secretly enjoy other household chores. I really enjoy vacuuming, I find some kind of twisted pleasure in doing the laundry which I will never understand, and I really enjoy stacking the dishwasher… I guess I’m weird like that.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/01/prompt-chain-gang/

Daily Prompt: Those Dishes Won’t Do Themselves (Unfortunately)

What’s the household task you most dislike doing? Why do you think that is — is it the task itself, or something more?

Without a doubt, the thing I hate the most, is having to clean the damn shower / bath. It’s one of those tasks that I just keep putting off and putting off week after week until I can’t handle it anymore and I completely snap and go on a cleaning frenzy.

Oh god, how I wish it was simpler. In saying that, I wish that I either had a shower with one of those detachable arms so I could rinse down the shower walls easily without getting water everywhere; or alternatively, get a steam wand so I could do everything just using steam and not have to deal with gassing myself from the cleaning chemicals.

I think that I hate it so much is because it’s such a messy job to get it all clean. But it’s also because we let the bath get to such a state that it requires a lot of elbow grease to get the soap scum off. I’m sure by now you’re all imagining that my bath looks a little something like this:

I can assure you that it doesn’t, nor would I ever allow it to get to that state. The reality is, that you can’t really see how dirty it is, unless you look really closely… but I can see it, and it drives me crazy. Hulk has only ever cleaned it a couple of times, and lets just say he should stick to cooking. Cleaning something like the bath is most certainly not his forte. Bless him for getting in there and giving it a go, but I like things to actually end up being clean not… well, still dirty.

Needless to say, cleaning the bath is my job. There’s something quite satisfying about scrubbing the crap out of the bath to make it all bright and squeaky-clean before filling it up and actually having a bath.

It’s just the cleaning process that’s the worst. But it’s also due to the configuration of our shower / bath. It’s not a great set up, and in the end I have to strip off and get in the bath to scrub every square inch of porcelain and glass, so I end up covered in chemicals all over my feet, and then get completely drenched rinsing it all away because I have to stand there and manually move the shower head around. It’s time consuming, it’s exhausting and it’s just the worst!

However, the satisfaction once it’s all done and it’s so nice and clean again is great, and makes all the process worth it.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/06/daily-prompt-home-2/

Daily Prompt: A Source of Anxiety

Write about a noise — or even a silence — that won’t go away. (We’ll let you interpret this in different ways…)

Dear Brain,

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, WILL YOU PLEASE SHUT UP!!

All you ever do is ramble on and on and on

Sometimes, all I want to do is just switch off, but even when I try, you’re always there. Always thinking. Always questioning. Always distracting!

It doesn’t stop. Like, EVER. As soon as I wake up. Whilst I’m in the toilet. When I’m showering. When I’m commuting. Listening to music. Reading. Talking to people. Working. Werqing. It’s just relentless.

Sometimes there will be multiple thoughts racing through my head. Sometimes I see them as sentences – as if they’re floating across a screen like an old Windows screensaver. Sometimes I see them as videos. Or hear them as voices. Sometimes, they happen all at the same time, and it’s hard to focus on just one of them.

And sometimes, I can completely tune out. My eyes glaze over, and the sound starts to fade and I wind up with a blank expression on my face. This is usually when somebody tells me something important that I’m supposed to pay attention to, or remember.

…but I don’t.

It happens a lot. Almost too frequently. I just wish I was able to write down or verbalise every single random thought that goes through my mind as it happens, so I could really try and make sense of it.

But also so I can take it to some kind of therapist and scare them a little. I imagine that they would look at the paper covered in manic scribbled words and be like

And then after a couple of further sessions, all they’d tell me is something along the lines of

Awesome.

Meanwhile, I would be having thoughts about how my brain activity is so strange and unique and I should be used for some kind of psychiatric study. They could map my brainwaves and hook me up to some kind of fancy colander helmet covered with wires. We’d play word association games and do some Rorschach testsThey’d make me sleep and give me different substances to alter my mental and emotional state, and then they’d leave me in a room by myself for a couple of days, whilst they watched via security camera.

And at the end of it all, they’d be like, ‘Well, turns out there’s nothing wrong with you after all. We thought you might be a one-in-a-million kind of case study, but we were wrong’.

I’d protest and ask them why I am the way I am, and why I feel the way I feel, and ask them to figure out what’s wrong with me.

But they’d just tell me that nothing is wrong. I just need to increase my intake of B-Vitamins and get some sleep. There’s nothing wrong with me. The reality is that I’m just tired and cranky.

I’d develop the term Yeezy Syndrome. Where, just like Yeezyyou become so full of yourself and think your so much more, but in actual fact, you’re not. I would have already alienated all my friends with my self-centred bullshit. And just like the rest of the world responds to anything Kanye has to say, my friends would tell me the same.

And then at the end of the day, I’d go home and make myself a cup of tea, before crawling into the bath, underneath the shower and curl up into the foetal position under the hot water…

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/source-of-anxiety/

Daily Prompt: The Perfect Game

So, this took a REALLY unexpected turn as I was writing. Me, being me and getting too involved into details and tangents wanted to at least develop some character bio’s for the 4 people in the story. What I didn’t anticipate was the background stories that developed as well. But I thought rather than just ignore it, run with it and get all these ideas out. It might not necessarily answer the prompt as well as I would have liked, but hey, it’s something. And something is better than nothing. I know there’s some unresolved details in there, but when I get some more time I might work on it a bit more to develop the story further.

 

You’re set to play poker (or Scrabble or something else . . .) with a group of four. Write a story set during this game. Or, describe the ideal match: the players, the relationships — and the hidden rivalries.

 

 

BACKGROUND: Nick & Adrian

Both Nick and Adrian joined the same banking company roughly around the same time and have both worked their way up the corporate ladder to their current roles. At various points they had even applied for the same role, so although they’re work colleagues, they are also both fiercely competitive. Having both previously worked in sales, they both have a tendency to become quite ruthless, and have, on occasion, even sabotaged each other’s attempts in order to further their own achievement.

After working together for approximately two years when they first joined the company, they, along with the rest of their teams, were sent interstate for a national conference. On the very last night of the week-long conference, all the staff attended a gala dinner in support of a major charity their organisation sponsors. Nick and Adrian were sitting on opposite tables and had both had a few drinks and were enjoying their night. Both had won an award each during the night – Nick for Most Valuable Portfolio – Junior Team and Adrian for Junior Investor of the Year – Mid-Tier. Despite them both achieving such excellence in such a short time, they always maintained a healthy banter between each other.

After all the speeches, they decided to sneak off outside for some fresh air. Despite his award, Nick was still pining for his (then) ex-girlfriend who broke up with him a few months earlier. (He was too career-driven and she felt neglected and didn’t want to play second-fiddle to Nick’s career, so one day when he got home from a business trip, he found the apartment, minus all of Sarah’s belongings. He told her that he’d change but she told him it was over. He was devastated.)

Adrian tried to console and comfort Nick as friends do; delivering those standard lines like “It’s okay. You’ll be fine. You’ll meet somebody else and fall in love and forget Sarah ever existed”… blah blah blah. He hugged Nick and kissed him on the lips.

what the fuck are you doing?’ Nick said, pulling himself away from Adrian’s warm face, ‘I’m not a fucking fag!’

Adrian, wiped his mouth, his eyes wide open. Uncertain of what he’d just done. ‘I… ah… I…. I don’t know what happened. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean it. I’m just used to kissing my gay mates like that’.

fucking, WHAT? you go around trying to pash all your mates? What the fuck is wrong with you?’

No, it’s just… it’s hard to explain. You wouldn’t understand. I’m really sorry. It’ll never happen again. I think I’ll just go. I’m sorry…’.

Adrian walked off feeling utterly humiliated. Why did he do that? He went back inside to his table and began chatting to others to distract his mind and ignore what just happened.

20 minutes later, a cold, wet Nick plonked himself down on the chair next to Adrian. 

Shit! Nick, you’re fucking drenched…’

Yeah, it’s been raining.’

Well why didn’t you come inside? dickhead. Why would you stay out in the rain?’

Ads, can we talk for a sec?’. Nick was feeling really confused, and didn’t know what to make of what had happened between them.

Um, why don’t you just go upstairs and have a shower and go to bed. I’ll organise a wake-up call for you in the morning before we leave.’

But, Ads, mate, just for 5 minutes…?’

Nick, look, I’m sorry for what I did. We’ve both had too much to drink. I think it’s best if you just go up to your room and sleep it off. We can talk tomorrow if you still remember.’

Nick sat there for a moment staring at the back of Adrian’s jacket and then left the table. He got up to his room, and stood in the doorway. The sound of the water dripping off his clothes onto the tiled floor filled the silence. Without thinking, he walked into the double shower, turned on the water and slumped onto the floor. His mind was racing. Completely fixated on that kiss.

What does it mean? Does this make me gay? Surely not, I like chicks? I’ve fucked heaps of girls. No, I’m not gay. He had such soft lips! Kinda like a girl. It was just like kissing a girl. And he’s gay, so he’s pretty much a girl anyway, so it’s no big deal. No, it’s fine. Nick, stop being a dickhead. It’s not like you haven’t kissed a guy before! Remember last years Grand Final when Deano gave you a bear hug and planted one on ya? But he was doing that to everyone. Come to think of it, he kept smacking my arse? Actually, he smacks all boys on the arse? Fuck, maybe Deano’s gay? FUCK!! That cunt’s seen me naked and everything. Oh my god, what if he’s fully gay for me or something? Mental note: avoid Deano!! But I’ve seen him naked too… but that’s not gay, right? RIGHT? we all shower together after every game? That’s what guys do, don’t they? Nothing gay about it? Right? What if I am? What if I don’t like girls at all? Well, that’s stupid, you’ve had a number of girlfriends, so you can’t be gay! Remember Amber? Best fucking sex of your LIFE. She’s a chick. And that was almost every day. You’re not gay, you like girls. Stop being a dickhead.

Why the fuck are you wearing a suit in the shower?? WAKE UP TO YA SELF!! GO THE FUCK TO BED!!’

And with that, he turned off the water, took off his suit and left it on the floor of the shower, wrapped himself in a robe and walked out to his bed.

He looked at his phone. Half a dozen missed calls and a couple of text messages. Adrian.

12:49am: Nick, really sorry bout b4. r u ok?

12:51am: Hope ur ok. r u bk in ur room?

12:51am: I’ve ordered your wake up call 4 5:45am, and another one for 6:00 just in case

12:54am: Let’s just forget about it, and pretend it never happened. c u tomoz.

Nick layed down on the bed, staring at the ceiling.

R u awake?

Yeah. u ok?

Not sure.

u wnna tlk?

Maybe.

Within minutes there was a soft knock on Nicks door. There was Adrian, in a pair of trackpants and a t-shirt with some small rips around the collar. They both stood there in silence for what felt like hours, looking everywhere except at each other, before Adrian asked if he could come in.

‘Oh, sure, yeah, of course, sorry.’

As Adrian walked into Nicks hotel room, he could feel the tension building. It was already uncomfortable enough, but he and Nick needed to talk things out and get past this.

‘Do you want a tea, or coffee or something?’ offered Nick, as he began to fill the kettle. ‘I’m gonna have a coffee. I need something to wake me up’.

‘Oh, thanks, yeah, I’ll have a coffee as well. White. 1 sugar.’

They sat at the small table in an uncomfortable silence listening to the kettle boil. Just as Nick got up to make their coffees, Adrian excused himself to go to the bathroom. He walked back out with a puzzled expression on his face as he looked over at Nick, sitting at the table with two steaming cups of coffee in front of him.

Um, Nick… why… why is your suit on the floor in the shower?’

 

…….

 

It was 5:45am. The phone was ringing.

‘ugh… hello’, Nick struggled to get the words out as he tried to clear his throat.

Yes, good morning, this is your wake up call…’. Nick groaned and squinted as he looked at the mess in his hotel room. He needed to be packed and ready to go in the lobby by 7:30.

Can you confirm if you still need your six a.m. wake up call as well?… Sir? Sir? Are you there?’

‘Um, err, no. No, I don’t think that will be necessary’, Nick replied. He slowly put the phone back on the hook and turned to see Adrian in the bed next to him. He lifted the sheet.

Just as he feared.

Naked.

Both of them.

 

BACKGROUND: Jemma & Scott

it was 2003, and the uni semester had just finished. Jemma and Scott were both studying their Exercise Science degrees. Jemma had aspirations of becoming a physiotherapist and focusing on sports rehabilitation; whilst Scott was wanting to become a Personal Trainer and from there become a functional strength coach and work with some high-profile football teams. 

Until this point they hadn’t exchanged any more than half a dozen words to each other in the three-and-a-half years they had been studying the same course. She always sat down the front with those who were eager to learn, whilst he sat down the back with all the other jocks, making fart noises and looking pornography on their iPhones.

They were both invited to an end of semester party at Brad Richardson’s parent’s beach house. They had already gone away and left Brad home by himself. Like any twenty-something, he lied to his parents about staying home, and instead, planned a big beach party instead. They weren’t home – they’ll never find out.

The party was a typical uni-student party. Loud music, alcohol, vomit. Except this was on the beach, so there was also a bonfire. Steve and a couple of his mates were sitting down by the fire chatting to a couple of girls from another uni. They were all really attractive, tall, slender. Steve and his mates found them to be rather intimidating. One of his friends, Ryan, was at this party with one goal in mind: taking home the hottest chick at the party. He wasn’t going to let these girls intimidate him, like they did the others. He quickly determined which one was the leader and went in to work his magic.

“Well, you’ve gotta be the ring leader of this lot, because you’re the most beautiful’, he said with an air of confidence in his voice.

you have GOT to be fucking kidding me. Is that the best you’ve got?’. Stacey was beside herself at his self-assurance.

No, not kidding, but we CAN be fucking later if you’re lucky. My name’s Ryan, but you can call me Ryno, y’know cause i’ve got giant hor...’

Wow. You’re disgusting. And I’m leaving. *ugh* pig!‘, Stacey interrupted as she stood up and brushed the sand off the back of her legs. ‘Girls, I’m going to get a drink. Coming?’, and off she walked towards the house. The other 2 girls looked nervously at each other and the other boys, and then stood up and quickly followed Stacey along the sand.

‘DUUUUUUDE, that was smooth. I can’t understand why she didn’t give you her number straight away. You’re SUCH a catch!!’, joked Steve. ‘Better luck next time, eh!’

Whaddya mean? She fucking WANTED me. It was written all over her face. She wanted the Ryno BAAAD!! Just wait, she’ll be back. They always come back!”

Sure. uh-huh.’ said Steven, turning to the boys and rolling his eyes, ‘she must want you so bad, hence why she ran off. Probably to go vomit because you’re such a charmer, hehehe’.

Oh, fuck off. More than I can say for you. Who are you fucking tonight? Your hand? At least I’ve got game. You just watch!!’

Ryan left the boys sitting at the fire to go find Stacey up at the house. Steve and the boys waited until he was out of earshot to start making fun of him, laughing and carrying on about his vulgar performance earlier. Their laughs were soon interrupted by an eerie silence.

‘SSHHH. Do you hear that?‘ Steve sounded concerned. ‘What happened to the music? I can’t hear anybody. I’m gonna go check it out. Anybody wanna come with me? None of the others offered to join him, so he set off across the sand. As he approached the path through the bushes up to the house, the music started blaring into the darkness again. He felt a slight sense of relief, as he had started visioning all different possible scenarios of what he would find when he got to the house.

Would they all be dead? Would they have all disappeared? Maybe there’s a serial killer on the loose and he’s the only survivor? Maybe the house had been attacked by aliens? Maybe everybody had been arrested and taken away for being too loud and disruptive?

It was at this moment, Steve realised he had watched too many movies. He climbed the stairs leading to the outside deck and said hello to a couple of people he recognised from his class, and went to go find the drinks fridge. In a quiet corner, Steve could see Ryan leaning into a different attractive girl. He was mentally undressing her, and she was playing with her hair, ‘What’s the best she’s pregnant by tomorrow?’ chuckled Steve to himself as he kept walking.

He found the drinks fridge, grabbed a couple of bottles, and turned to go back to the beach. As he walked into the lounge room, four guys walked through the front door. These guys were big. I mean B-I-G. They were all at least six-foot five and completely solid build. They were all from the university rugby team. As soon as Steve saw them, he knew why those girls on the beach had looked familiar… they were the girlfriends of these guys.

Feeling quite nervous, he quickly left the room and went to go find Ryan. He’d gone. The girl he’d been talking to was now talking to Jemma and another friend of theirs. ‘‘Scuse me, but have you guys seen Ryan?’ Steve asked with an axious quiver in his tone.

Is he your friend? He’s fucking disgusting. Last I saw him, he was going to talk to Stacey’.

‘…fuck. Okay, ah, do you know where he went, I kinda need to talk to him!’. There was a sense of urgency in his voice. If he didn’t get Ryan away from Stacey, and Stacey’s boyfriend saw them, he’d be visiting Ryan in hospital. They just needed to leave the party and go home. Or go out. Just go ANYWHERE. Anywhere but here.

Steve left the girls and set off searching through the house in an attempt to find Ryan, whilst also trying to avoid bumping into the Rugby Boys. Room after room, door after door. Nothing. They can’t have gone far. Maybe they went back to the beach?? Of course, the beach!

Steve raced down the stairs, out across the back deck, and down the stairs to the beach path.

THUD!

Steve went flying backwards onto the sand. As he opened his eyes, he looked up to see Brett Mossop and the Rugby Boys standing over him. “Whadda we got here, fellas? Look, it’s little Miss Stephanie. Didn’t recognise you without your tampon, fag.”

Steve winced as he tried to sit up, ‘ahhh, fuck Brett, that fucking hurt. What’s your problem?’

‘ooOOOOoohhhh, look out, Stephanie’s a bit cranky. Must be that time of the month. You on your rags, Stephanie? Got a bit of sand in your vagina?’

‘Fuck off Brett. Why don’t you go find Stacey’. Steve stood up to leave, but Brett grabbed the back of his shirt. ‘Not so fast, cunt rag. What do you know about Stacey? Where is she? She told me she’d be here, but I can’t see her. WHERE IS SHE?’

‘How would I know, I just went to get some drinks. The boys and I are just chilling out down on the beach. You’re welcome to join us, if you want?‘ he said, in some vain attempt to ease the situation and hopefully get Brett off his case.

‘Ya hear that boys, Stephanie wants to take me down to the beach. You wanna get me drunk, or something? Huh? Faggot! Fuck off. You see Stacey, you tell her I’m lookin’ for her!’

Steve quickly took off down the path. As he cleared the bushes and headed towards the fire. The boys were there, talking to the girls from earlier. He raced over to the group, ‘Holy shit. Brett’s here. And he’s pissed. And he’s looking for Stacey. Where is Stacey? And where the fuck is Ryan. If Ryan’s with Stacey and Brett see’s them, he’s gonna fucking kill him. We need to find them. NOW!! NOW!!

The conversation stopped and they all jumped on their phones. Jemma called Stacey whilst Steve called Ryan.

Down the beach, in the darkness, the sound of two phones could be heard ringing amidst the sound of the crashing waves on the beach.

oh. fuck.’ Steve slowly gasped.

‘I swear to god, if he and her… oh god, just the thought of it makes me want to vomit‘ added Jemma, full of disgust.

Do we go down there? Do we wait here? I don’t know…‘ questioned Steve.

Jemma, put her drink down and stormed past the boys. ‘I’m so sick of her BULLSHIT!! I’m gonna fucking kill the bitch, myself!

As Jemma stomped her way across the beach, she, and the others heard a scream that stopped her in her tracks.

And then another.

OH MY FUCKING GOD, STACEY?? STACEY, ARE YOU OKAY? STACEY?!! WHERE ARE YOU!?’ Jemma screamed into the darkness. Behind her, the rest of the group were running to catch up to her. Something was wrong.

All she heard were the waves on the shore. 

Steve caught up to Jemma. She grabbed his arm as tight as she possibly could. She was terrified. She was shaking. So was he.

They heard a rumbling in the bushes and a dark figure emerged. Jemma let out a squeal and turned into Steve’s chest.

‘AAAAAAAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! You should see the fucking look on your face right now!!’, chuckled Ryan as he walked down towards them. ‘Yeah, what a bunch of fucking girls. My cat’s got more balls than you do!!’ added Stacey, following behind.

They had planned this whole scenario. 

‘Are you kidding me? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!??’, Jemma was fuming. ‘I’m gonna kill her. For real! Let me go, Steve.’

‘Jemma, just calm dow…’

‘I SAID LET ME GO!’. Jemma elbowed Steve in the ribs and marched up towards Stacey. SMACK! Jemma slapped Stacey right against the face. ‘WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU? YOU THINK THAT’S FUNNY? I ALMOST HAD A FUCKING HEART ATTACK THINKING SOMETHING HAD HAPPENED TO YOU!! THINKING YOU’D BEEN RAPED OR WORSE, MURDERED, AND YOU THINK IT’S A FUCKING JOKE?!? ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?’

‘OW! You fucking BITCH! Fuck, it’s just a joke. We were just having some fun, no big deal.’ Stacey held her hand on her cheek. Even in the moonlight, you could make out the faint outline of Jemma’s hand on her face.

Steve interrupted, ‘Well done guys. Jokes over. It wasn’t funny. Ryan, mate, you need to leave. Brett’s here. Oh, and Stacey, Brett’s here. He’s looking for you. Have fun explaining that mark on your face when he finds you with Ryan! C’mon Jemma, let’s go back to the house’.

Steve, Jemma, and the others turned around to leave and go back to the house, just as Brett and co. were walking down towards them. Without saying a word, they walked right past Brett, and continued on to the house.

Steve took Jemma into the bathroom, ‘Are you okay? You really lost your shit back there. I thought you two were besties, or whatever’.

Well, we are, or were. I’m not sure. She pulls this kind of shit regularly. Typical. Mum and dad’s little angel is secretly the bad girl. Please. What a fucking cliche!’

So, then why are you friends with her, if she’s such a bitch?‘, queried Steve.

‘Why are you friends with Ryan who, lets be honest, is practically a rapist?

‘Point taken‘. Steve let out a small laugh at the irony of their friendships.

‘Hey Steve, thanks for before. I know that we’re not friends or anything, but, well, thanks. Nice to know you had my back.’

‘Well, kinda. You’re a bit of a crazy bitch when you wanna be. At least I know you’re not a complete nerd.

Jemma, playfully punched Steve in the arm, and they both looked at the floor of the bathroom. Slowly they both looked up and locked eyes. 

KNOCK-KNOCK. ‘Is anybody in there?’, came a voice from behind the bathroom door.

‘OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE, I’LL BE OUT IN A MINUTE!!’, shouted Jemma at the door. ‘God, you’re so moody. You must really have a short fuse!’, giggled Steve.

‘No, I just have no patience for bullshit and wasting my time’, said Jemma just before she grabbed Steve by the collar and pulled him in for a kiss. Steve suddenly knew where this was going.

…back to his place!

 

GAME NIGHT

Games Night in the Hudson-Holt household started the way it always had. 

Nick Hudson (31) and his, now, fiancee Jemma Holt (30) had spent the afternoon making platters, cleaning the house and preparing a couple of tonight’s meals. The Hudson-Holt were The Entertainers. They always hosted Games Night, and when they weren’t, they were entertaining clients, or having business dinners. Their weeks were go, go, go from Monday to Friday, and yet there were two things that they always made time for that were not negotiable: Date Night, and Games Night.

This particular night, they had invited a new couple to join them for Games Night. Adrian Anderson (36) was an Investments Manager at the same bank as Nick. He was bringing his current boyfriend, Steve (29) who was a Person Trainer at the local gym. 

Ding-dong.

Shit, I’m still drying myself’ whispered Nick. ‘Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!’

Nick, just don’t worry about it, just answer the door… I’ve still gotta fill these tart shells and get them in the oven, and THEN go and change… SHIT… um… you get the door while I go change. Just don’t go into the kitchen!’

Jemma, still in her pyjamas, raced across the hall to the bedroom.

Ding-dong.

NICK!! THE DOOR!’ 

‘Jemma, I’m still not dressed. I’m NOT answering the door in my jocks. I need to put a top on!

Stop being so precious!’, Jemma snarled. ‘Hurry up!! Don’t keep them waiting, it’s rude!!

KNOCK-KNOCK? ANYBODY HOME?

JUST A SECOND!!‘ shouted Nick, doing up the fly of his jeans as he ran down the hall, sliding across the floorboards in his socks as he reached the front door.

Nick unlocked the front door, and standing on the other side of the flyscreen was  Adrian and Steve, both wearing jeans and well-fitted checkered shirts that showed off their muscle definition.

Guys! So glad you made it, welcome! Come on in. Jem’s just getting changed and will be out briefly‘. Nick extended his arm to shake Steve’s hand. ‘You must be Steve, Adrian’s told us nothing but great things about you‘. Nick led them down the hallway which opened up to their open-plan kitchen / dining / living area. They sat down on the couch whilst Nick went to the kitchen to get some drinks.

Jemma stumbled out of the bedroom whilst doing up the zip in her dress, walking straight past Adrian and Steve and into the kitchen. ‘I thought I told you not to be in here, I’ve got tarts to finish!‘ 

Babe, I’m just getting some drinks for our guests. Perhaps you might like to say hello?‘, Nick said is soft, but smug tone.

Jemma slowly turned around with a big grin on her face, ‘Sorry. Hi. Adrian, so nice to see you again.

Adrian Stood up and walked over to give her a hug and a kiss on the cheek. ‘Jemma, I’d like you to meet Steve. Steve, this is Jemma.

Steve leant forward to put his drink back on the table before he stood up and walked over to greet Jemma. As they locked eyes, a chill ran down their spines. 

This wasn’t the first time they’d met.

Steve, so nice to finally, ah, meet you. I’ve heard so many great things about you… I feel as though I already know you.’

Jems, would you like a dri…‘, Nick called out.

Jemma interrupted, ‘YES PLEASE!!’

 

This was going to be a long night.

 

 

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