Thursday, 2 June 2011

4th Challenge/Blogfest Romantic Friday Writers

For anyone dropping by and has yet to hear of Romantic Friday Writers, well, it's a fun-time Internet based romance writer club. Each week themed challenges are set, and members post up a piece of poetry, a snippet from WIP,  or write a piece especially for the challenge. The maximum word count is always 400. Believe me, it's tough keeping within the word count.

For this week's theme the added angst: "must be written from first person POV!

How bizarre, Special Murder Mystery trip. Raffle ticket? Where's Poirot when you need him. 
        Table eight, I’m table eight. Two  . . . Four . . . Six.
        One more and . . . No, no, why would he? Just turn-a-round, and walk away.
        Hand to wrist and no escape.
        Avoid eye contact.
        “Kate, please. Sit down. We need to talk.”
        Oh so familiar Swiss-French lilt and deep timbre. Damn you, Jean Paul. 
      Sit down? How dare he presume to sit at my table and talk to me as though nothing ever happened?
        “Go to hell.”
              * * *
The compartment door refused to budge, Jean Paul’s shoulder wedging it. It was all so unfair, so unfair. Why now, why come and taunt with his closeness, his eyes searching for what? Flesh searing flesh and I stupid in hungering his touch. "Go away."
       “Kate, what happened, happened. I had no control over it. I didn’t walk away from you, if that’s what you’ve thought all this time. If I had, do you think I’d be here now?”
       “Funny that, because on our so-called special trip to Venice, I remember your stepping off the train at Innsbruck and your last words, I’ll be no more than ten minutes. And there I was left on the train, wondering why you’d bailed."
       “Believe me I’ve never stopped loving you.” His fingers to throat utter torture in loving intimacy of familiar caress. “I tried your cell phone as soon as I could, but you never returned my calls.”
       “You quit our relationship, why would I?”
       “I tried writing you and received no replies. I knew then you thought the worst, hence the ticket for this murder mystery trip with reference to a raffle. I know you pay for raffle tickets then forget all about them.”
       “So what happened that day at Innsbruck?”
       “I keeled over. Simple as that.  Heart failure according to the specialist. Overworked and stressed out.”
       “But I thought . . .”
       “Am I forgiven for deserting you that day?”
       “There’s nothing to forgive.”
       “Even after what’s happened?”
       “Yes. I love you, damn it, I love you.”
       “Then you might want this. Delivered by courier that day, and the reason why I left the train at Innsbruck.”
       “Oh my God, a rock.”
       “But of course. Now can I come in or shall we take dinner first?"
       "Come here, then . . ."

396 words – YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As you've probably guessed this is a scenario enacted on the Orient Express, the scenic image below of the Swiss Alps, the other inside a private compartment.  

If you would like to read more offerings by other members, go here for list of today's participants. Once there, perhaps you'll feel inclined to join with us at Romantic Friday Writers. 


li said...

Crap! how did I miss 1st person POV? Rewrite in order. Sigh. I'll be late posting then.

Francine Howarth said...

Hi Li,

Real bummer, that! ;) See you later.


L'Aussie said...

Li: Whoops! Well, 'I remember...'

Francine: This is a little different from your usual historical. Love the sharpness. Great flash fiction feel. Hmm. Steamy too, tho' no punk!

Great work!


Andy said...

Francine, I love this!
I love the mystic and aura of the Orient wife and I are suckers for Poirot!

How clever of Jean-Paul to come up with the raffle ticket idea to get Kate's attention. It's evident he never stopped loving her, nor her him. There's still a lot of chemistry between them. I especially like "His fingers to throat utter torture in loving intimacy of familiar caress".

His persistence and love paid off in the end. They probably missed dinner:)

Very nicely done!

RaShelle said...

Lots of fun! Sass and saucy. =D

Empty Nest Insider said...

A very good read! You delivered everything as promised! Julie

Margo Benson said...

The pace of this is fantastic. I like her voice, too - I was drawn in to her anger and frustration, then her bewilderment. I love the raffle ticket idea....he really wanted to make it better.

Anne Gallagher said...

Interesting. Love the train /Orient Express angle. No place like getting stuck without a man in the Swiss Alps.

Beverly Diehl said...

I like this - but it feels a bit bare to me. Usually less is more, but I think in paring it down to meet the word count, it's lost a little of the sensuality.

@Li, I did not see anything about 1st person POV in the original prompt either, so don't feel bad.

Liz Fichera said...

Fun! Love the witty dialogue too.

N. R. Williams said... lost and found again. Nice touch. We'd all think what she did.
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium

Francine Howarth said...

Hi everyone, thanks for stopping by to comment.

Li & Bev: don't blame me for first person POV. I hate it, I hate writing it! It wasn't my call.

Madeleine said...

Poor Jean Paul. I wonder what he sees in Kate? She says she loves him but didn't check to see if he was ok before jumping to conclusions. He's a star for forgiving her, methink :O)

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Great evocative piece. The Orient Express, huh? I always wanted to ride that. But I would want Marlene Dietrich as a companion! I am always yearning for the impossible. LOL. Roland

Francine Howarth said...

Hi Mads,

Yes, I felt for Jean-Paul, too. But, I did forgive Kate in that she had no idea what had happened and not answering his calls and presumably binning the letters unread she nevertheless still loved him. The fact he was there shoulder in door kind of suggested he was OK. ;)

Hi Roland,

Ah yes, Marlene! Good few years too late for that treat, but you could always dream her there. Switzerland is my fav place next to where I live. It's so beautiful with mountains and lakes and cozy chalet', and mountain railways. Gives me a buzz on memories alone. ;)


li said...

Forgot to leave a comment earlier - I love the romance of trains, and I'm glad there was a happy ending!

J.L. Campbell said...

Could it be that because you write historical fiction, I thought this was set in the past?

Anyway, I like it. It smacked of romance and drama. Kate has a lot of attitude, but I suppose it's natural if she thought she was left in a lurch.


My heart started racing when Jean Paul's shoulder wedged the door and didn't stop until the very end. The romance genre used to be my read of choice, but I've been taking a break for awhile, reading mystery and suspense...however, nothing gets the blood going like miscommunication between lovers, sexual tension and good old fashioned love scenes.

Romance, I think I'm back for good!

Francine Howarth said...

Hi Joy,

Thanks for stopping by.

Yeah, I wish I'd dropped the cellphone and authenticity of a period piece would have worked!


Welcome back to romance! ;)


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Looking forward to your game picks for Monday's blogfest!

Donna Hole said...

That was fun. Angsty, and neatly wrapped up. My mind instantly filled in the next scene as a love scene. Steamy.


Ms. Queenly said...

I read your piece yesterday and read it again today. I love the second chance that is presented here as love steps in , as I said at Lisa's as well. I had enough heartbreak today, lol.

Thank you, Francine,


Francine Howarth said...

Hi Alex,

Timely reminder! ;) Thanks, though I hadn't forgotten. It's in draft!

Donna: Thanks for stopping by to comment, and welcome to RFW. :)

Ms Queenly: I do quite like this piece and I'm almost tempted into turning it into a novella! ;)