Short Story Sunday 305: Suit

Short Story Sunday: "Suit" | Creative Writing | Flash Fiction | Short Story | Writing | RachelPoli.com

Jude stared at himself in the full-length mirror with disgust. In his 18 years of being alive, he had gotten out of wearing a suit with an almost 100-percent success rate.

Weddings? He’d wear sleek black jeans with a nice dress shirt. He’d the same thing for other special occasions or parents. The only time his parents truly forced him to wear a suit was when they had a funeral to attend and, lucky enough for him, he’d only gone to two in his life.

He fluffed out of the dress pants he was forced to wear. They were a bit baggy on him and they made a rustling sound when his thighs rubbed together as he walked. When he complained about it, all his mother had to say was that she told him to get the suit fitted before tonight. Apparently, he had no one to blame but himself. He supposed that was true. He didn’t get the suit fitted because he thought if he had “forgotten” to do it, he’d get out of wearing it.

The shirt fit just fine but the buttons at the end of the shirt were bothering him. The small plastic pieces rubbed against his wrists – not tightly, but just enough to be annoying. He tried to fold the button over, rolling his sleeves up a quarter of the way.

Whenever he did, his mother appeared by magic and “fixed” them for him. He tried to leave them unbuttoned but that didn’t work either. His mother wouldn’t stand for that because it looked too sloppy.

Jude didn’t even want to talk about the shoes. They fit him fine, but he must preferred his sneakers. He had half a mind to sneak his sneakers into his car so he could change without his mother’s knowledge. He was lucky she wasn’t chaperoning the senior prom. Otherwise he’d be in big trouble.

Looking at himself in the mirror, Jude realized something. He cleaned up nice. However, if he didn’t feel good in the suit, he didn’t care how good or bad he looked. He wanted to feel comfortable so that he was able to have the best time he could.

His father now entered Jude’s bedroom. Jude sighed knowing his mother had sent him into the room. He had most of the suit on so now they were arguing about the tie. It wasn’t fair that his mother didn’t feel fit enough to fight that battle. So she tagged her husband in to take her place. Jude didn’t have anyone to tag in, so what was he supposed to do?

“I brought three of them. You said your date is wearing a black dress, right?” his father asked.

Jude lifted one shoulder into a small shrug. “I think she said it was mostly black but it had silver specks in it. She said it looked like a starry night.”

“Oh,” his father chuckled holding up a tie. “So, I guess you don’t want to wear this one?”

Jude’s eyes widened at the tie his father presented to him. It was a crisp white with large, black polka dots all over. It looked like a cow and Jude didn’t want to be caught dead wearing that.

“That’s hideous,” he said.

His father continued to laugh as he tossed the tie onto the bed. “Alright then, you’ve narrowed it down to two.”

Two ties were held up in front of Jude’s face. One was a sleek black that seemed to be almost as shiny as his new dress shoes were. The other was another black tie with gray at the bottom. The gray dissolved as it climbed to the top of the tie allowed for small gray specks in the middle of the tie. Jude thought it looked as though someone had spilled something on the tie, but he thought it looked okay enough. He pointed to the black one with the gray specks.

“That one actually probably matches Paige’s dress.”

“Ah,” his father grinned, tossing the black one onto the bed. He stepped toward his son with the gray tie and tossed it around his neck. “So you do care that you match your date.”

“No, I do not,” Jude said firmly. “But I know girls tend to like this kind of stuff and can go overboard with the whole matching thing, so I guess I might as well try to make Paige happy about it.”

“Sure,”

Jude sighed. His father’s “sure” was always code for, “We both know I’m right so I’m not putting in the effort to argue.”

“Is Paige excited?” his father asked tightening the tie around his son’s neck.

Jude swallowed a lump in his throat hoping he’d be able to breath. Who invented ties, anyway? They were such a stupid way of being classy. There was no need to choke yourself in order to look good so you can have a nice time.

“I think she is. She hasn’t said too much about it, to be honest,” Jude explained. He put a hand on the knot in his tie trying to loosen it just ever so slightly as his father took a step back to admire his handy work.

“You look good, son,” his father said, a proud grin on his face.

Jude didn’t reply in fear he’d say something mean. He certainly didn’t feel good.

“Have you asked Paige much about tonight?” his father asked.

“Asked her what? I wanted to know about her dress because we need for match for some weird reason. I’m just glad she didn’t pick a bright pink or purple dress.” Jude rolled his eyes. He turned back to look at himself in the mirror dropping his hands down by his side. On the outside, he looked good. On the inside, he felt like a dope. Prom better go quick.

“Aside from making sure your tie matched her dress and asking her to the prom, have the two of you talked about it at all?” his father asked again.

“What else is there to talk about?”

His father let out a sigh.

“What?” Jude peeled his eyes off himself in the mirror and at his dad.

“Do we need to have a talk about woman?”

“God, Dad. No.”

“Alright, well, make sure you listen to her tonight, okay?”

Jude’s face twisted in confusion.

“Girls live for senior prom. Paige is probably way more excited than you’ll ever be about it. You want to make this night special for her, not for yourself.” His father sat down on the bed and patted the seat beside him, but Jude ignored the gesture.

“I need to make this night special for her by dressing up fancy even though I’m uncomfortable?”

“Yes.”

Jude’s face deadpanned. He didn’t know what else to say to his parents at this point. They didn’t know Paige, but if Jude thought about it, he didn’t know too much about Paige himself.

No, the two of them had never really talked about prom or anything else. He saw Paige across the room in math sophomore year when she moved to the area and he had wanted to talk to her ever since. They barely spoke a word to each other when he asked her to go to prom with him. They were working on a lab project together in science just two months ago and he blurted out, “Will you go to prom with me?” instead of a normal greeting such as saying hello.

Much to his surprise, she found it amusing and agreed.

Most girls Jude knew were going ga-ga for senior prom. It was true, he heard them talking about it ever since freshmen year. He didn’t doubt his father when he said some girls lived for senior prom. He wasn’t so sure one of those girls was Paige though.

In fact, the more Jude thought about it, the more he realized that when he asked Paige what color dress she was wearing so they could match, she didn’t seem too enthused about the idea. He got a weird tone from her voice over the phone when she described it. She only seemed to be excited about the starry night part of the dress.

Jude paused in his thinking. Maybe she wasn’t actually excited to go to prom at all. Maybe he was forcing her to do something she didn’t want to do. Maybe she was too nice and didn’t want to say no to going to prom. That was possible, wasn’t it? Some girls actually didn’t care about the prom stuff. Or maybe she didn’t actually want to go with him but she had already made the commitment a few months ago that she’d feel bad going back on her word or feigning ill. He knew he had asked her too early!

“Uh, Jude? Are you okay? You’re making an awful lot of faces.” His father stood up holding his arms out as though he thought Jude was going to fall over and he needed to catch his son. “It’s okay to be nervous. I sometimes feel that way when I’m nervous too. Just head to the bathroom now and get it all out before you leave.”

Jude stared at his father horrified.

“Otherwise you’re in a long night of embarrassment in front of your entire school.”

“Dad, please stop talking,” Jude sighed. “I’m not nervous. Of course I want Paige to have a good time. It’s just…”

He stared at his father who patiently waited for an explanation. Except, Jude had no idea how to explain this to his father and he didn’t want to get into it just then. He knew he needed to pick up Paige in about ten minutes.

“I need to leave now,” Jude said.

“That’s the spirit!” his father cheered.

Jude left his bedroom with his father trailing behind. He didn’t know what his dad meant by his cheer, but he didn’t want to ask.
After saying a quick goodbye to his parents – well, it wasn’t as quick as he would have liked. He needed to take the corsage from his mother and take a couple of pictures first. Once that was out of the way, he got into his car and headed to Paige’s house, which was about ten minutes from his own house.

He had to do the same thing at her house. They took picture after picture. Individual pictures, pictures together (all in various poses), pictures putting on the corsages… Jude was seeing so many spots he wasn’t sure if he’d be able to drive to prom.

Throughout the picture taking, Jude grew more nervous. Paige seemed to be in an okay mood, but she didn’t seem to want her picture taken at all. She was flattered by the corsage and even his tie, but she wasn’t overly excited about any of it. Jude knew there had to be some other guy she wanted to go with or maybe she just wanted to go with her group of friends. Jude shouldn’t have asked her in the first place. How was he supposed to help her have a good time when it didn’t seem like she wanted to have a good time with him from the get-go?

They made it into the car and as Jude pulled away from her house with Paige waving goodbye to her parents, Paige let out a long groan which startled Jude.

“Um, are you okay?”

“My mother picked out the floofiest dress,” Paige said.

“Floofy…?”

“I hate wearing dresses. I just wanted to wear pants. I even tried to compromise with her and told her I’d wear dress pants instead of jeans. She didn’t budge, as you can tell.”

Jude took his eyes off the road for a moment to look at her. “Well, I think you look lovely.”

“Lovely? Really?”

“Great?”

Paige snickered. “Listen, you don’t need to feel like you have to make me feel good or pretty or anything tonight, okay? Let’s just have a good time.”

“Do you want to have a good time with me?” Jude asked. He didn’t know where the question came form and wanted to rewind the moment it came out of his mouth, but there was no going back now. He continued before Paige could answer. “I mean, you don’t seem all that excited for prom. I didn’t know if you agreed to go with me because you felt awkward saying no or maybe I asked you too early… I know we barely talked before I even asked you and it’s kind of a weird situation.”

“Dude, shut up,” Paige laughed. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you think I didn’t want to come with you or anything. I just don’t like getting dressed up. I want to experience prom but I also want to be able to move at prom.”

Jude let out a sigh of relief. “Oh, okay. Well, we’re in the same boat then. I didn’t want to wear a suit or even these shoes.”

“The shoes look good though. I brought an alternative.” Paige pulled a pair of sneakers from the floor in front of her.

Jude glanced at her. “Where did you pull those out from?”

“I told you, this is a floofy dress.”

“Yeah, but…?”

“I’m going to step on your feet at least eleven times tonight, would you rather I do so in heels?”

Jude shook his head. This was the most he had ever heard her speak. He didn’t mind it though.

“I’m sorry you need to wear those shoes all night,” Paige said.

“Nah,” Jude smirked, “My sneakers are in the trunk.”

Paige grinned. “I knew I liked you.”

I hope you enjoyed the story. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Please feel free to share this post.

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Time To Write: Title

Here’s this week’s prompt:

Time To Write: Title | Creative Writing Prompt | Creative Writing | Writing | Writing Prompt | RachelPoli.com

Write a creative piece such as a short story, flash fiction, poem, or something else based on the word, “title.”

If you use this prompt, please leave a link to your post in the comments below by 11:59 pm EST on Wednesday, May 20th and I’ll share it next week. Also, please be sure to link back to my blog so your readers know where you got the prompt! Thanks.

Happy writing! I look forward to reading your work. Please feel free to share this post.

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The Merry Writer Podcast: Episode 008 Out Now!

The Merry Writer Podcast: Episode 008 - What's Your Go-To Snack And Drink When Writing? | Creative Writing | Writing Community | Writers | Podcast | Creative Writing Podcast | RachelPoli.com

The Merry Writer Podcast

The Merry Writer started as a hashtag game on Twitter and Instagram. Hosted by Ari Meghlen and myself, The Merry Writer Podcast is a fun, friendly show about all things writing and bookish. Join us as we ask all the “write” questions.

Episode 008: What’s Your Go-To Snack And Drink When Writing?

In this week’s episode, Ari and I discuss the joys of food and drink while writing. (We also discover some differences between the UK and US!) Be sure to give it a listen through the YouTube video below or any of the links below.

New episodes are published every Wednesday at 10:00 am EST (2:00 pm BST). Please subscribe to the podcast so you can be notified when a new episode goes live. Also, give each episode a “like” wherever you enjoy tuning in. It’ll help the podcast grow and we’d really appreciate it!

Thanks for listening!

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Do you eat and drink while writing? Let me know in the comments below so we can chat! Please feel free to share this post.

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Short Story Sunday 304: Month

Short Story Sunday: "Month" | Creative Writing | Flash Fiction | Short Story | Writing | RachelPoli.com

It wasn’t the right time to ask questions. Ava knew something was going on but for some reason she couldn’t remember exactly what it was. Everyone kept mentioning the following month and even though she nodded and agreed with everyone she really had no idea what was going on.

She sat on the couch in the corner of her friend’s living room, people surrounding her. The music playing in the background was a little too loud to be background music and there were so many people crammed into the small apartment that Ava couldn’t hear herself think let alone figure out what she had agreed to do for the following month.

It was her friend’s birthday party. Rose had turned 21-years-old over the week. Ava was the youngest in her group of friends and she didn’t turn 21 for another two months. Obviously she was there to celebrate her friend’s glorious day of birth, but Rose had invited a lot of her college buddies. Ava didn’t know anyone there. There were a handful of people who had tried to talk to her, but she couldn’t hear anything that was going on. She felt rude. Most people trying to talk to her probably thought she was being snobby, but she was just practically deaf that’s all. Despite being the youngest in her group, she acted the oldest. Her friends often called her an “old fart.”

So, there she sat in the corner of Rose’s living room in her tiny apartment. Ava wished she could whisk herself away to Rose’s bedroom just to try to get a moment’s peace. However, there were so many people standing in the hallway – because there weren’t enough seats for them all – that Ava felt awkward trying to shove her way through the crowd.

“I’m looking forward to next month. Rose said everyone is going to be there.”

Ava tuned in to a stranger’s words. She looked over her shoulder and there were two guys standing directly behind her. She was surprised she heard them at all, but she was certainly intrigued trying to figure out what they were talking about.

“Everyone? I thought there were a handful of people who couldn’t come. Or, I mean, they weren’t allowed to know about it.”

Ava narrowed her eyes. What was that supposed to mean? She didn’t remember Rose talking about any big event for next month and if everyone was supposedly invited, she should have heard about it. Right? Ava and Rose had been best friends since elementary school. Of course Rose would have told Ava about it.

“There are some people who can’t know about it because they won’t be old enough to attend,” One of the guy’s said.
Ava sunk in her chair. Maybe Rose didn’t talk to her about whatever was going on. She wasn’t going to turn 21 for another two months. What else could she not be old enough for? Whatever Rose had planned for the following month, it must have been some sort of party where only people 21 and older could attend.

That obviously didn’t include Rose’s best friend.

Ava stood from her chair not wanting to tune into the guys’ conversation anyway. Out of all the conversations to overhear, why did it have to be that one? She could have sworn she and Rose had talked about something for the following month and she couldn’t remember what it was. Now Ava figured she heard rumors of something happening in the next month and she must have been thinking about that.

Of course, now she didn’t know where to go from here. Ava wanted to get away from people and their conversations but there was no where for her to go. Ava spun in a circle as though she tried to look for a way out, but there were so many people. She didn’t even know where Rose had gone. She couldn’t sit back down in her chair because then she’d look silly.

Well, maybe it wouldn’t matter. There were so many people around and she wasn’t engaging in conversation with any of them, so who would notice Ava standing and then immediately sitting again?

She turned back around to take her seat again but one of the guys was sitting in it now with the other guy squatting on the floor. They were still engaged in a deep conversation though it appeared to be a different topic. Ava could have sworn she heard one of them mention a video game.

Now she was stuck. She stood in the middle of the floor of the living in a tiny apartment surrounded by a crowd of people, most of whom she didn’t know. What was she supposed to do?

Ava looked at the time on her cell phone. Another one of her and Rose’s friends were supposed to come, but they hadn’t arrived yet. (Unless they had and Ava just hadn’t noticed among all the people.)

“Hello!”

Ava jumped at the sudden voice coming behind her. It was so loud as though it was directly in her ear. When she turned around, sure enough, there was a woman standing right behind her, close enough that Ava could smell the beer on her breath.

Please don’t be drunk, Ava thought to herself. “Hi,” she said, forcing a small smile.

“My name is Kate. I’m was Rose’s roommate during our first semester of college. How do you know Ava?”

“Oh, hi Kate. I’m Ava. Rose and I have been best friends since elementary school,” Ava replied.

She sort of recognized Kate now that Ava knew her name. Rose used to talk about her a lot. Ava was actually quite jealous for a while because it seemed as though Rose suddenly liked Kate more than she did Ava. It was a tough first semester of college but they never really fell out of touch with each other. Rose had always wanted Ava to meet Kate and, well… here they were except Rose wasn’t there to witness it.

“Wait, are you the Ava?” Kate gasped.

“Sure?” How was Ava supposed to reply to that? As far as she knew Rose didn’t know any other people named Ava, but who was she to truly say?

“Rose has told me so many great things about you!” Kate shouted.

Ava took a step back attempting to get away from the horrid stench of Kate’s breath. She wasn’t sure if she had shouted because the music was too loud, she had too much alcohol, or if she was truly excited to meet her. Ava guessed it wasn’t the latter.

“I think it’s so cool you and Rose have been best friends for so long. No one can compete with that that kind of commitment,” Kate continued.

Ava grinned and nodded. While she didn’t like how Kate seemed to compare them to a couple in a relationship, she did agree. Rose and her had a special friendship bond like no other. She was lucky to have Rose, despite the fact that Ava wanted to kill Rose for ditching her in the middle of this party where she didn’t know anyone and couldn’t even join in enough to have just one sip.

“You must be so excited for next month!” Kate exclaimed.

Ava’s eyes grew. Was this her chance to figure out what was going on next month?

No, Ava didn’t want to know. It didn’t seem as though Rose wanted to invite her anyway.

Or, on the other hand, maybe Rose couldn’t invite her because Ava wasn’t old enough.

Still, Rose could have told Ava about it.

Then again, Rose might have told Ava about it and she just didn’t remember.

“The fact that Rose would do that for you is so cool!” Kate went on, a dreamy look in her eye.

Ava froze. “For me?”

Kate nodded, a goofy grin on her face.

“What are you talking about?” Ava asked. She didn’t want to know but her interest was piqued too much. It seemed as though everyone at the party knew what was going on next month except for Ava – and she wasn’t sure if she was supposed to know or not.

Kate giggled and took another sip of… whatever was in her red cup. Ava forced herself not to roll her eyes. Kate was Rose’s best friend from college. Ava didn’t want to make a bad first impression. If Rose was friends with her, then Ava wanted to be friends with her. (Though not while she was drunk. In fact, maybe Ava could be rude to Kate and she wouldn’t remember it in the morning.)

“So, how exactly did you and Rose meet?” Kate asked after gulping down an amount of liquid that filled up both her cheeks.

Ava sighed. “Rose tripped and fell at recess in first grade. I helped her up.”

It was a stupid story, really. Ava was chasing after a ball and while she ran past Rose, Rose had tripped over her untied shoe. Ava forgot about the ball and walked over to help Rose up. The two of them started playing with each other and they ended up becoming the best of friends. They spoke with each other every day after that. It got to the point where, in the coming years following that moment, teachers would attempt to separate them and pair them with different peers. The teachers and their parents were afraid they weren’t socializing enough with other classmates. It didn’t help though. Rose and Ava continued to remain best friends. They stopped ignoring everyone else around them as they got older. Still, the two were peas in a pod.

“Wow, that’s such a beautiful story,” Kate said, a look of awe plastered on her face.

“Sure,” Ava agreed.

“Hey, you two found each other.” Rose appeared out of seemingly no where and put an arm around Ava’s shoulders and Kate’s shoulders.

Ava smiled. “Yeah, Kate seemed to have stumbled upon me.”

“I’m so happy you guys are finally getting a chance to meet. I’ve wanted you to be able to put a face to the name for such a long a long time.” Rose explained.

“Yeah, me too,” Ava lied. Well, it wasn’t too much of a lie. She had been wanting to meet Kate for quite some time as well but she didn’t expect it to happen in the middle of this party where she could barely hear. She also didn’t fancy talking to people much when they were drunk.

Kate tried to take another sip from her cup, but Rose took it out of her hand. “Hey, why don’t you go ahead and lay down in my bed for a minute?” she suggested.

“Okay.” Kate shrugged and walked away.

Rose sheepishly grinned at Ava. “She just turned 21 the week before I did. She’s a little excited about it.”

“Oh, you guys almost have the same birthday? What a shame, I didn’t get a chance to wish her a happy one,” Ava said trying not to sound as sarcastic as she felt.

Rose then frowned a bit. “I’m sorry this party is a bit much. We haven’t had a chance to see each other all night and it’s way more crowded than I thought it would be. People keeping asking me if they could bring their boyfriends or girlfriends and I didn’t think it’d be an issue.”

Ava genuinely shook her head. “No worries at all. It’s not a problem. Your apartment just isn’t… well, it’s small.”

Rose chuckled. “Right, I know.”

There was a moment of silence before Ava cleared her throat and broke the ice. “Hey, what’s going on next month?”

Rose’s eyes grew twice the size of what they normally were. “What do you mean?”

“I’m sorry, but so many people have mentioned something grand that’s happening next month that you’re apparently throwing. Is it some sort of party that I’m not invited to because I’m not 21 yet?” Ava asked. She felt like a jerk for bringing it up at all, let alone in the middle of her birthday party.

Rose furrowed her brows. Ava couldn’t tell if she was becoming annoyed or not, so she continued.

“But then Kate mentioned that there was something going on for me? I don’t think she was thinking straight anyway, but I’ve just gotten curious. Maybe it’s none of my business anyway. Or maybe you told me about it and I forgot and if so, I’m sorry.”

At that moment, Ava realized that she and Rose had never fought in all their years of being friends. Yes, they’ve bickered and argued as though they were sisters, but they never had a huge blowout with each other or stopped talking to each other for a long period of time.

They were always close. They did everything together and told each other everything. Ava knew everything they needed to know about Rose and vice versa. Ava didn’t want to get into an argument over something that may or may not be going on next month. She also didn’t want the two of them to drift apart simply because Rose was going to experience being 21 for an entire month before Ava would get the chance.

After a brief moment, Rose let out a sigh though her lips were curled into a smile. When she looked Ava in the eye, she shook her head. “I didn’t tell you anything about next month. I was going to tell you about it next week. It never occurred to me that you would hear about it through the grapevine so I definitely should have told you sooner. Especially since it seems as though people are playing telephone and wires keep getting crossed.”

Ava nodded not knowing what else to say. She wanted Rose to continue talking.

“I’m not throwing some elaborate party next month that’s only for people who are 21. I have no idea who started that one. Kate, despite her being a bit tipsy, is the one who’s on the right track,” Rose clarified.

Ava tilted her head to the side. She still didn’t know what to say.

Rose jerked her head to the side taking Ava by the hand. She squeezed past the crowd, Ava trying to stick as close to her as possible. It was though they were at some sort of club and not a tiny apartment. The bathroom was only a few feet away, but it seemed to take a bit for them to get there. When they did, Rose pushed her into the small room and shut the door behind them.
The music was still loud, but Ava could at least hear herself think. She didn’t need to speak loud either in order to make sure Rose could hear her. She wondered why she hadn’t thought to head into the bathroom and stay there for most of the night a while ago.

“I had something special planned for the two of us next month. I didn’t want to tell you right away because I wanted it to be a surprise. As I said before, I was going to tell you next week,” Rose explained. “Your parents already know about it and have known about it for a while. That’s why they’re so adamant on you staying for your family reunion the third weekend of next month.”

Ava rolled her eyes. “Oh, right… I forgot about the stupid family reunion. Maybe that’s what I was thinking of when I thought you told me something I forgot it.”

Rose chuckled. “They didn’t want you to make any plans for that weekend which is why they told you a lie.”

Ava’s face flat-lined.

“There is no family reunion, lucky you.” Rose laughed.

“No, lucky you. I was going to drag you with me,” Ava said chuckling herself. “But what do you mean there’s no family reunion?”

“It was lie your parents and I cooked up together because we wanted you keep that weekend free. In reality, you and I are going on our very first vacation just the two of us!” Rose grabbed both of Ava’s hands in hers and jumped up excitedly.

Ava stared at her open mouthed. “You mean…?”

“Happy early birthday to the two of us!” Rose exclaimed. “I wanted to do something special since we’re both 21 this year. I know you won’t be quite 21 yet so no drinking – your parents made me pinky-swear – but pretty much all the other weekends were booked at the hotel. So I had to grab it while I could.”

Ava didn’t know what to say. She felt like she wanted to cry. All She had gotten Rose for her birthday was a cool wine glass, she didn’t think of surprising Rose with some elaborate gift such as a weekend getaway!

“Are you happy?” Rose asked shyly.

Ava nodded. “I just don’t know what to say.”

“Don’t say anything. Just jump with me and be excited!”

The two laughed and cheered in the small bathroom, holding hands and jumping. When they finally stopped to catch their breaths, Ava held up a finger.

“Okay, since this is for both of our birthdays, I call doing something special for you while we’re away. Let me pay for breakfast and dinner one day… or something.” Ava realized how lame that sounded compared to planning a secret weekend getaway trip. She’d think of something special to do for Rose. A good idea was going to come to her soon enough.

Rose shook her head. “We’ll work out all the details later, but this isn’t a competition. Besides, I’m doing it just as much for your birthday as I am mine.”

Ava snickered. “Okay, that’s fair. Where are we going, anyway?”

Rose grinned as though she was cooking up some mastermind plan. She opened the bathroom door and began to head back out to the party.

“Wait,” Ava said taking her by the arm. “Where are we going?”

“I’m not spoiling all the surprises. I said I’d tell you next week.” Rose winked.

I hope you enjoyed the story. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Please feel free to share this post.

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Time To Write: Set The Scene 18

Here’s this week’s prompt:

Time To Write: Set the Scene | Creative Writing Prompt | Creative Writing | Writing | Writing Prompt | RachelPoli.com

Write a creative piece such as a short story, flash fiction, poem, or something else based on the setting, “in a castle.”

If you use this prompt, please leave a link to your post in the comments below by 11:59 pm EST on Wednesday, May 13th and I’ll share it next week. Also, please be sure to link back to my blog so your readers know where you got the prompt! Thanks.

Happy writing! I look forward to reading your work. Please feel free to share this post.

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The Merry Writer Podcast: Episode 007 Out Now!

The Merry Writer Podcast: Episode 007 | Do you prefer paperbacks, hardcovers, ebooks, or audiobooks? | Podcast | Creative Writing | Writing Podcast | RachelPoli.com

The Merry Writer Podcast

The Merry Writer started as a hashtag game on Twitter and Instagram. Hosted by Ari Meghlen and myself, The Merry Writer Podcast is a fun, friendly show about all things writing and bookish. Join us as we ask all the “write” questions.

Episode 007: Do you prefer hardbacks, paperbacks, ebooks, or audiobooks?

In this week’s episode, Ari and I are discussing the differences between hardcovers, paperbacks, ebooks, and audiobooks. Be sure to give it a listen through the YouTube video below or any of the links below.

New episodes are published every Wednesday at 10:00 am EST (2:00 pm BST). Please subscribe to the podcast so you can be notified when a new episode goes live. Also, give each episode a “like” wherever you enjoy tuning in. It’ll help the podcast grow and we’d really appreciate it!

Thanks for listening!

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Short Story Sunday 303: Charismatic

Short Story Sunday: "Charismatic" | Creative Writing | Flash Fiction | Short Story | Writing | RachelPoli.com

Lily always had a way with words. She easily out out of anything she didn’t want to do or something she forgot to do and didn’t want to get in trouble. For example, if she didn’t do her homework, she always had some elaborate speech cooked up. It wasn’t an excuse as to why she didn’t get her homework done. It was a reason why she didn’t get her homework done. It often inspired the teacher in some weird way and the class she performed in front of cheered in excitement.

She was also able to get herself into something she wanted to do. If she was too young, it suddenly wasn’t an issue anymore. If there was no more room in the group or the tickets were sold out, an exception could easily be made.

One day, though, her charm was bound to run out. Asher was sure of it.

He couldn’t wrap his head around the idea that someone could be so manipulative. That someone could have everyone wrapped around their finger. Asher hoped – no, he knew – she would cross paths with someone soon enough who would see right through it.

Her charisma skills worked all throughout high school with teachers and peers. They also worked at her retail job. Surely a college professor would see through it all, right?

Asher pulled into the parking lot on their first day of college. He had separate classes from her and was disappointed he wouldn’t get the chance to see her crash and burn in front of her new peers. Then again, it was only the first day so Asher didn’t think there’d be anything for Lily to crash and burn about.

He already had homework though. Last week when he checked his school email, he noticed a message from one of his professors who assigned something due for the first day of class. He wasn’t sure if it was legal to begin the class before the semester officially started, but he did it anyway. Asher couldn’t come up with a well-told story like his sister could. He couldn’t lie and he didn’t want to lie. Lily was always the mastermind behind their twin shenanigans when they were young. They almost never got caught and, on the few occasions they did, Lily managed to get them out of trouble with her fancy words.

Lily hopped out of the car and drew in a deep breath. “Just smell that brand new air!”

Asher turned the car off. He got out of the driver side and opened the backseat to grab his backpack. “You mean the college smell of smokers and drinkers?” he closed the door and made his way around the front of the car.

Lily gently whacked him on the arm with a flick of her wrist. “Come on, be excited, will you?”

“I’m nervous.”

“Don’t be, you’ll do great. You’re the smartest guy I know,” Lily said. She started walking across the parking lot, Asher remaining by the car, watching her.

He didn’t think he was the smartest guy. She had always been smarter than him. Aside from the charm and her way with words, she always had straights A’s in school somehow. He didn’t understand it when she didn’t do her homework most of the time, but she somehow managed to get through life the easy way. He wasn’t so sure this would be the case for her now that they were in college.

“Hey,” he called after her, jogging to catch up. She didn’t reply, didn’t even look back over her shoulder at him, but he managed to get beside her anyway. “Where’s your bag?”

Lily held up her arm where her beige purse was hanging from.

“No, I mean your backpack,” Asher said exasperated. “Where are your books? Notebooks? Pens?”

“I have a pen in my purse if I need it,” Lily replied.

Asher couldn’t help but roll his eyes. It was their big day. They had both been waiting for college their whole lives and she couldn’t even come prepared. Sure, a pen was great to have but it didn’t do much when you didn’t have paper to go along with it. Though he supposed she figured she could worm her way into getting the supplies she needed for free.

In fact, now that Asher thought about it, he wasn’t sure she had even gotten her textbooks. He let out a sigh.

“Are you okay?” Lily asked as they reached the door to the main building. “Do you need a minute?”

“What? No, I’m fine.” Asher shook his head.

She stared at him softly. “You will be okay, you know. College is just another school. You’re smart and know what you’re doing. You’re going to kick ass in all your classes.”

Asher chuckled, looking at the ground sheepishly. He didn’t expect such a compliment to come from his sister. They were close when they were younger, but they sort of drifted apart as they got older. Despite being twins, Asher had a hard time relating to her on many different levels.

Lily leaned in class and gave him a tight hug. “Today is going to be a great day!”

She didn’t wait for him to reply. She opened the door and disappeared into the building not even holding the door open for him. Asher remained outside for another moments. He didn’t think his sister had it in her to give such a compliment. Then again, he wondered if she was using her charm on him? He couldn’t tell anymore.

He wanted to heed her words though. Today was going to be great day and he needed to focus on the three classes he had. He wasn’t Lily to have a great day as well. He wanted her to succeeded.

On the other hand, he wanted her to have a rude wake-up call. Though, maybe she had somehow matured overnight. He couldn’t be too sure.

“Yo, are you going in there or what?”

Asher was startled by the unfamiliar voice behind him. He looked over his shoulder to see two girls and three guys standing behind him. He laughed nervously and entered the building, holding the door and allowing them to go in first. They all ambled in as though they were a train. The caboose stopped beside Asher and smiled at him.

“First day?” he asked.

Asher shrugged. “Nah, I’ve been here for years.” He let out an unwanted snort and fake-coughed to cover it up.

The guy replied with a sympathetic smile and a quick nod. “Well, good luck today.” He walked inside the building.

Asher sighed. If Lily were here, that conversation would have gone smoother. In fact, he might have even made a new friend. Now he probably seemed like a freak to that guy and the rest of the group. There was no point in standing there calling himself an idiot. He walked inside the building and headed to his first class.

When Asher made it back to his car, Lily was already standing there waiting for him. It had been a long morning – at least for him – and he wasn’t sure if he was ready to hear about Lily’s day. He only had three out of his five classes and he already had so much homework and hated one of his professors. (The professor being the one who gave homework due the first day, of course.)

Asher unlocked the car and made his way to the driver’s side without bothering to even look at his sister, who was leaning against the passenger side door. She was suspiciously quiet and Asher had a feeling that, if she had a good day, then she’d be talking nonstop.

Once they were both sitting in the car, Asher stared absentmindedly at the dashboard. He dared to cast a side glance at his sister who seemed to have the same expression on her face. He drew in a deep breath.

“So… how was your day?”

Lily turned her head in slow motion to gaze at him sadly. “College is hard. They yell at you if you don’t have paper. It didn’t matter what I said or didn’t say. My professor has officially put me on his shit list.”

Asher was shocked. “He didn’t actually say that, did he?”

“No, but his face said it all.” Lily leaned her head back against the headrest.

Asher thought he’d be happy that she got a rude awakening. However, he felt bad for her. College was supposed to be a fun experience and both of them had nasty first impressions.

“My other professor was fine. He didn’t care about anything. In fact, he barely looked at me. I don’t know if he knew I was even in the class. Still, he told us point blank that he doesn’t care if we bring our materials. He doesn’t even care if we bring ourselves. He said he gets paid regardless of whether we pass or fail,” Lily explained.

Asher nodded as he listened. That all made sense. He had heard mixed messages about college. His high school teachers all told him college was going to be crazy hard and the professors were strict. They wouldn’t let certain things fly like the high school teachers did. On the other hand, he talked to many people who had already gone to college or were still in college – such as cousins and friends of the family – and they all said that more professors don’t care. They said every once in a while he’d get that professor that everyone hates but college, for the most part, is pretty laid back. High school teachers use college as a way to scare their students into doing better.

“I don’t get it. I’ve never had to follow the rules,” Lily said.

Asher didn’t know what to say. He put the key in the ignition and turned the car on. He always wondered whether Lily knew what she was doing or not. He didn’t know if she was constantly trying to get out of doing things or trying to get people to bend at her will. Or maybe it was just her personality and for some reason those things always seemed to work in her favor. Now it was clear to Asher that she knew what she was doing. She knew most people gave her whatever she wanted and she was using her powers for evil.

“Put your seatbelt on,” he said as he pulled out of their parking spot. He saw Lily obey out of the corner of his eye.

“Did you have a good day at least?” Lily asked quietly.

Asher shook his head, keeping his eyes on the road.

“I’m sorry.”

Asher glanced at her. She genuinely sounded sorry which was unusual for her. She normally talked about everything that was going on in her own life, mostly about the good stuff. She never really asked how he day went or what as going on in his life – not as they got older anyway.

“College is going to be rough, huh?” Lily asked.

Asher nodded. “Most likely.”

There was a brief silence before Lily drew in a sharp breath. “Can we drive to the store so I can get some stuff for school?”

Asher felt as though he were about to have a heart attack. “You want to buy school supplies?”

“Apparently I need notebooks and stuff.”

“That’s not breaking news,” Asher chuckled.

Lily shrugged. “I know our old teachers used to say college was hard but so many other people told us that it would be laid back.

Well, mostly. So, I figured it’d be the same as high school. But I guess maybe I’ll actually give it a try.”

“You mean you haven’t been trying all these years?”

Lily snickered. “I didn’t have to. People like to listen to me talk.”

Asher rolled his eyes.

“Don’t give me that,” she warned. “It worked out in both our favor when we were kids.”

“Unfortunately,” Asher began, “we’re not kids anymore.”

I hope you enjoyed the story. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Please feel free to share this post.

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Time To Write: Random Words 18

Last week, our writing prompt was a set the scene prompt. Check out some of the writers who participated:

Here’s this week’s prompt:

Time To Write: Random Words | Creative Writing | Creative Writing Prompt | Writing Prompt | Writing Community | Writing | RachelPoli.com

Write a creative piece such as a short story, flash fiction, poem, or something else using the three words, “formal, crystal, and peach.”

If you use this prompt, please leave a link to your post in the comments below by 11:59 pm EST on Wednesday, May 6th and I’ll share it next week. Also, please be sure to link back to my blog so your readers know where you got the prompt! Thanks.

Happy writing! I look forward to reading your work. Please feel free to share this post.

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Short Story Sunday 302: Cellar

Short Story Sunday: "Cellar" | Creative Writing | Flash Fiction | Short Story | Writing | RachelPoli.com

Emily followed Jasper down to the cellar. At first glance, she didn’t like the looks of it. He opened the door and the stairs looked as though they lead to a bottomless pit. She could have sworn she saw a bat fly out the door, but Jasper called her dramatic before heading down the steps. Reluctantly, she followed.

The two had just recently married. They were both fresh out of college and couldn’t afford anything. Between their student loans, they had a small wedding and no honeymoon. Maybe for their fifth or tenth anniversary they’d be able to splurge on a vacation out of the country, but Emily and Jasper were just as happy to be together no matter where they were.

The problem was, Emily still lived with her parents. They loved Jasper but thought the two of them rushed into their marriage. Since both of them had just graduated, neither one of them had set careers yet. Jasper hated his job and it was an entry level position in his field so he wasn’t making much money. All Emily had found, so far, was an unpaid internship. She figured some experience was better than nothing though she was still looking for a job.

Emily still lived with her parents, but they told her now that she was married, she needed to grow up and figure things out with her husband. Jasper had a studio apartment which was far too small for the two them. Emily couldn’t move most of her things into it because it was so cramped. Jasper even got rid of some of his things for her and Emily’s parents were being nice enough to let her keep some things at their house until they figured things out.

So, they were looking for a house. Emily wasn’t sure it was the right decision since neither of them had much money. She didn’t know what made Jasper believe they could afford a mortgage among all the other bills and headaches that came with owning a house. They had just paid for a wedding (small, yes, but it was still a rather hefty expense) and they both had student loans they needed to make monthly payments to.

Jasper thought it wouldn’t hurt to look at some houses especially since most rent for apartments were the same as a mortgage. Emily understood his reasoning, but there were more bills that came with a house than an apartment. She wasn’t too sure which would be the right decision for them.

When he found a fixer-upper home that was in their price-range, Emily had to humor him and take a look at it. He was so excited and Emily knew he truly thought they would end up with the house.

Jasper called the real estate agent and she gave him the code to the lock box for them to check out the house themselves. Emily found it strange they were allowed to tour the house themselves. She wondered how many other people had the code to the lock box. Would they walk in on another couple looking at the house? Will someone walk in on them while they toured around?

The house was certainly in bad shape and Emily wondered if some people who knew the code had come in to vandalize it to knock the price lower. The price was low enough, especially to be in their range. However, Emily knew they would have to put quite a bit of money back into it to make it a livable space which would mean it’d be out of their price range soon enough.

“I can’t find the light,” Jasper said.

“Don’t joke,” Emily warned.

“I’m not joking.” Jasper’s face lit up as he turned the flashlight app on his phone. He moved it around the room taking a closer look at the walls.

Emily stood on the final step of the staircase ready to turn and run if need be.

“Oh, here.” Jasper reached over to a switch behind him. He flicked it upward but nothing happened. He hummed to himself. “Maybe the bulb is dead.”

“I think there’s something more that’s dead down here,” Emily whispered.

Jasper smirked, holding out his hand to her. “Stop being dramatic. Everything is fine.”

Emily took his hand and stepped off the final stair. She still didn’t like the idea of being in the basement. “What is it that we have to see down here?”

“Well, apparently, we need to make sure no dead bodies are hidden down here.”

Emily froze.

Jasper sighed, gently tugging her along. “I’m joking. You seem to think this place was used as a torture chamber. It’s just a regular basement though. See?” he moved his flashlight back and forth in slow motions trying to get a picture for the whole room.

“It’s small,” Emily observed. She didn’t dare let go of his hand.

“It is, but I think this would make a fun hangout space for us and whenever we have friends over,” Jasper suggested.

Emily nodded in agreement. There wasn’t much to the basement at all. Looking up at the ceiling, there was only one light fixture and the bulb was missing. A small armchair sat in the far corner of the room though it looked run-down and old. She assumed the previous owners took the other furniture and left that one behind for certain reasons. There was a spot where it looked like a TV used to be. There were cable cords sticking out the wall lying uselessly on the ground. On the other side of the room, there were folding doors – one open and one closed that seemed to reveal the washer and dryer behind it. Emily shrugged to herself. That was something. Of course, who knew what condition they were in seeing as they were left behind.

The carpet was dull and dirty. Emily was sure it wasn’t supposed to be a murky brown color. She was glad to be wearing her sneakers because the whole atmosphere of not just the cellar, but the house as a whole, was dirty. She cast her gaze to the ceiling and noticed a few cobwebs in the crevasses.

“What do you think?” Jasper asked.

Emily turned to him with a harsh frown on her face. He frowned in return.

“You saw the dust and spiders? I was hoping you wouldn’t notice. Those are easy to get rid of though.”

Emily sighed. “I know. It’s just… it’s hard to picture this place as livable space. It seems so sad down here.”

Jasper nodded in agreement. “It needs a lot of work, for sure. I feel bad the place hasn’t been taken care of either. So, maybe this is an opportunity for us to help the house out.”

Emily didn’t answer. She knew Jasper was right. She felt bad for the house and she wanted to take care of it. However, the two of them had a hard time taking care of themselves, how would the be able to help out this house?

“We don’t need to decide right now,” Jasper reminded her. “But it might be something to think about. It’s a little under our budget and we can slowly renovate and update things as we get the money to do so.”

Emily nodded still not answering. She was too busy staring at the cobwebs in the ceiling.

Jasper turned her around so she couldn’t stare at them anymore. “Let’s go back upstairs where there are windows and it’s light.”

As soon as Emily turned around, she screamed. Jasper jumped a mile startled at her sudden outburst. Emily leaped behind Jasper and he turned his flashlight in the direction of the stairs where Emily screamed.

A man stood at the bottom of the steps, shielding his eyes with his hand from the light. “Could you please put that thing down?”
Jasper lowered it a tad. “Who are you?”

“My name is Henry, I’m the owner of this house,” he replied.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Jasper said.

Emily narrowed her eyes at him from behind. She felt his tense shoulders relax and she wasn’t so sure they could trust this Henry guy. He probably waited for people to head to the basement and then killed them. Maybe, for whatever reason, he didn’t want people to buy the house. Maybe he really was the owner of the house but was a ghost and didn’t want people moving into his space.

She gripped Jasper’s shoulders tighter causing him to wince, attempting to pry her fingernails out of his skin. She suddenly felt faint.

“No, I’m sorry to have surprised you,” Henry said. “The realtor didn’t tell me there was anyone looking at the house today.”

“She gave us the code to the lock box to get the key and said we could come look at it any time we wanted,” Jasper explained.

Henry scoffed. “Yeah, right. I don’t know why she doesn’t come with people to look at the houses. I came here the other day to grab my TV down here and it was gone. The people who had looked at the house before said they weren’t interested and, ironically enough, disappeared,” He said sarcastically.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Jasper said. He took Emily by the hand again, her knuckles turning white. “Shall we move the conversation upstairs?”

“Of course,” Henry said. He turned around and began walking up the stairs.

Jasper tugged Emily along, whispering to her. “Everything is okay. There’s nothing to worry about.”

“He could have murdered us,” Emily snapped.

“Alright, no more crime shows before bed.”

When they made it to the top of the stairs, Henry was waiting for them in the kitchen. There wasn’t any furniture left and Henry apologized for not being able to offer them a seat. He apologized for not even being able to offer them a beverage.

“So, are you interested in the house?” Henry asked bluntly. “I know it doesn’t look like much so we’ve been having a hard time selling.”

“We’re not entirely sure yet,” Jasper replied. “We’ve both just graduated college and don’t have a whole lot of money. This house is in our budget but there’s a lot to fix and update.”

Henry nodded. “No, you’re right. That’s what a lot of people have been saying. The house is cheap, but they don’t want to put in the extra work to fix it up. Or, as in your case, they don’t have the extra money to fix it up.”

“How did it get to be like this?” Emily asked.

Henry shrugged. “Honestly, I don’t know. Both my parents lived here their whole marriage. They soon got to be too old and sick to clean or take care of anything. When something broke, it never got fixed and they learned to do without it. I admit, I’m a horrible son and didn’t check in with them as often as I should have.”

Emily frowned. “I’m sorry for your losses then.”

Henry chuckled. “Oh, no. They’re both alive and living with me now. Karma is a bitch.”

Emily couldn’t help but smile as well. She couldn’t imagine if both her parents had to move in with her after so many years. Her parents were tough nuts to crack anyway, she couldn’t bear the thought of having to be responsible for both of them. She figured she’d rather Jasper’s parents over her own if someone had to move in with them.

“They keep sending me here to grab something for them. They’re not too happy I’m selling the house,” Henry explained.

Jasper nodded. “I can understand that. I’m sure if my home was being sold without my wanting it to, I’d be pretty upset as well. It’s tough to root the elderly from their normal day to day living style.”

“You’re absolutely right,” Henry agreed.

Emily bit her lower lip. She looked up at Jasper and leaned in close. “We’ll take it.”

Jasper’s eyes grew as he looked down at her. “What?”

“I want the house.”

“You were terrified of it a minute ago.”

“But think of Henry’s parents. I’d rather us live here knowing we’ll take great care of the house rather than people coming in to steal stuff only pretending they’re interested in the house.” Emily softened her tone. “Look at the house, Jasper… it’s begging to be loved.”

Jasper turned to Henry open-mouthed. Henry put his hands up in surrender.

“Hey, it took me two marriages to learn my lesson and know not to mess with women. This is a conversation between you two and possibly the realtor,” He said.

Jasper chuckled though Emily narrowed her eyes not sure whether that comment about women was an insult to her or not. Jasper looked back at her.

“You want the house even with the creepy cellar?”

She nodded. “All we need to do is add more lights down there.”

Henry laughed out loud. “I never went down there as a kid.”

Jasper sighed, though he still smiled. “Alright, then… I guess we’ll head back to my apartment and take a look at our finances.”

Emily clapped her hands together in excitement. She didn’t think she’d be the one to have to convince Jasper in the end, but it seemed as though they were finally on their way to be an actual married couple with adult responsibilities.

The three walked out together and right as Jasper was about to shake Henry’s hand, Henry backed away and dipped his head in goodbye. He turned and walked away as though he was headed back into the house.

Jasper opened the passenger side door of his car for Emily to get in.

“I guess I shouldn’t complain,” she muttered, “but don’t you think it’s odd he wouldn’t shake your hand?”

Jasper shrugged. “Maybe he doesn’t like germs.”

“And he can stand to be in that house?”

“Emily, just get in the car. We’re going to look into the house, aren’t you pleased with that?”

“I am, but…” Emily looked over her shoulder at the front door. She narrowed her eyes. “Where did he go?”

Jasper looked in the general direction she was staring. “I think he went into the house.”

She shook her head. “No, we would have heard him go into the house.”

“I mean… yeah, but…” Jasper’s voice trailed away.

Emily shivered. “Did we just agree to buy a house from a ghost?”

“No,” Jasper replied quickly. He stared at her in confusion. “No?”

“You’re not making me feel any better.”

Jasper hesitated to reply. “Get in car and let’s get out of here!”

I hope you enjoyed the story. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Please feel free to share this post.

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Time To Write: Sentence Starter 53

Here’s this week’s prompt:

Time To Write: Sentence Starter | Creative Writing Prompt | Creative Writing | Writing Prompt | Writing Community | RachelPoli.com

Write a creative piece such as a short story, flash fiction, poem, or something else beginning with the dialogue. “It’ll be here before we know it.”

If you use this prompt, please leave a link to your post in the comments below by 11:59 pm EST on Wednesday, April 29th and I’ll share it next week. Also, please be sure to link back to my blog so your readers know where you got the prompt! Thanks.

Happy writing! I look forward to reading your work. Please feel free to share this post.

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