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Romantic Monday – Side by Side

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She laid her forehead on his cool hand on the hospital bed. A monitor emitted a steady beep as multi-colored lines flowed across the screen in undulating waves. A multitude of tangled lines and tubes delivered or removed fluids – she didn’t even know what most of them were or did. She didn’t really want to know.  The hours since the phone call notifying her of his accident were a blur of tests and procedures, with doctors and nurses swarming detailing the verdict:  head, chest and lung injuries, various broken bones.  In the last hours his condition had stabilized and it was quiet at last.

She stood and leaned over him, her mouth next to his ear. “It’s Valentine’s Day” she whispered.

His finger, the one with the oxygen monitor, twitched once – barely noticeable.

“I’m going to stay tonight. I’ll sleep right here in the chair”.

His finger twitched twice.  The agreed upon sign for “no”.

“We’ve never been apart on Valentine’s Day. I’m staying. The chair will be fine.”

Again, his finger twitched twice.

“You want me to go?”

Two twitches.

“The chair, then?”

Again he signaled no.

She stared at his barely recognizable form – his bandaged head, the breathing tube protruding from his mouth. His body – the one she had loved for so many years – was covered with bruises, abrasions and bandages.  She remembered their first Valentine’s Day together so many years ago. It was the first time she had slept beside him on his narrow bed in his rented room. The monitor beeped.

Two twitches.

She slipped her shoes off and readjusted the tubes and wires. She slid onto the small bed beside him, perching perilously on the edge. She took his hand in hers.

“I love you,” she said. “Is this better?”

One twitch.

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This is yet another offering in “Romantic Monday” over at Edward Hotspur’s place.  Check it out.

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Lust – Post 1

All right, put the kids to bed (I don’t care if they just got up – it’s my blog and I get to make the rules).  Here is the first installment of submissions for the Lust Round of the Seven Deadly Sins Contest.  Enjoy.

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First, from Dave at 1pointperspective: (Visit here to see Dave’s illustration) and leave comments:

Crystal Light and the Look of Lust

Crystal was around 14 when she first noticed men giving her what she called “the look”.  Before she reached 16, she fully understood that the look was one of sexual desire.  By 32, it was a simple fact of life.

While giving her order at the deli counter in the Shoprite, the guy in the apron and paper hat would glaze over, no longer hearing her.  He was stripping her naked and doing freaky things to her in his deli-guy mind.  Crystal would smile at him, lean over the counter a little, and end up with a pound of imported soprasetta for the price of baloney.

One man hadn’t given her the look in years.  They say marriage does that.  She didn’t know whether it was the years or the fact that Mr. Light had doubled in size since their wedding.  Everyone, including Crystal, called him Mr. Light, out of respect and fear.

She’d gone to see a private eye to help her discover if Mister was off his diet, but wasn’t in his office two minutes when the guy started giving her the look.  She re-crossed her legs and tried to ice him back to reality.  She hoped he’d returned from his porno mind-vacation as she handed him the cash.  Now the detective wouldn’t even return her calls.

Crystal changed her strategy and tried to get a young guy named Nicky from the pool to hang out with Mr. Light.  Maybe a guy who could see his own feet without mirrors would snap her husband out of the habit of stuffing his face.  She was talking with him to see if he’d pal around with Mr. Light when Nicky got the look.  She knew his brain was busy pulling off her bathing suit, touching her in  places which the sun hadn’t browned.  He wasn’t listening anymore. How many guys today?  She broke it down as simply as she could for him.

“Could you just take him out?” she finally asked.

Nicky looked stunned.  She thought she’d gotten through.  Satisfied she’d made her point, Crystal got up from the chaise lounge and walked to the snack bar to find Mister.  She could feel Nicky’s eyes on her.  She swayed her caboose a little to thank him for finally paying attention.

Mr. Light had just finished talking to that creepy pool manager with the missing thumb.  The amputee looked a little pale as he shuffled past Crystal like a zombie.  She gave silent thanks to the patron saint of pervs, as the troll didn’t try to sneak a glimpse down the front of her bathing suit like he usually did.  Mister was giving her a look, but not the look the other men did.  Not a good one.

That all was two weeks ago and nothing had changed, except her bruises fading slowly toward yellow.

She went down the driveway to pick up the newspaper, and saw a gun under the bushes.  She wondered if it was time to find a safer home as she picked it up and quickly wrapped it in the Inquirer.  She glanced around the still street before heading inside.

Mr. Light was asleep, making those choking sounds like he did.  A smile crept across Crystal’s full lips at the thought of him choking.  As she glanced down at the bruises on her arm, her eyes traveled further to the newspaper with the pistol inside.  She touched the cool metal, wondering if the police could miss her bruises.  She thought about a horny cop giving her the look and what he might do to help her get away with something.

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From K.L Richardson over at Closing Time: (Visit here to see her post) or to leave comments

Lust For Life…

“I’ve looked on many women with lust. I’ve committed adultery in my heart many times. God knows I will do this and forgives me.”~~ Jimmy Carter

It was supposed to be a once in a lifetime trip – Paris, the city of love!  Elaine would never have a chance like this again; a discounted trip courtesy of the senior class.  She and her husband Henry, were going as extra chaperones; Elaine was beyond giddy.  She always had an expressive, romantic soul- perfect foil (she thought) to Henrys more staid demeanor.  While he was not given to displays of affection Elaine thought Paris might change his mind and put a little spunk in him.  One could always hope!

Just a week before they were to leave he started acting funny.  Not thinking much of it Elaine blithely went about packing and arranging what needed to be done.  Then she got “that call” informing her that there was someone else in her husbands life and it wasn’t his golden retriever.  However, the trip was paid for-no refunds, so on they went.  Obviously a volatile situation, Elaine tried to make the best of it.

The flight over was uneventful if a bit tense.  On the surface Elaine looked calm but her mind was boiling with the years of deceit that had come to the surface at this inopportune time. Her romantic  side warred with her scorned, hurt side making her quiet and morose.  Being a school tour nearly everything was arranged in groups, check in at the hotel, trip to the Louvre, “typical” French restaurant.  All orderly and scheduled with no room for error.

“This isn’t the way to see Paris,” she thought, “I should be on the back of a motorcycle, zipping through traffic, arms around the waist of a hot hunk.”  She intended that to be her husband until plans changed.

One day they got a “free day” to explore as they wanted.  Being motorcycle enthusiasts they and another couple went to the Paris Harley Davidson. The strain must have showed on her face because as the others were browsing the clerk approached Elaine, making pleasant small talk.  She wasn’t used to the accent but she tried to keep up with the conversation.  Suddenly she thought she heard him say “Would you like me to arrange that for you?”.  ”I’m sorry, what did you say?”  ”Mademoiselle, does she like zee French boys?”  ”B-b-but you do see that I’m here with my husband?”, she finally managed to stammer out. “Zoot alors! What does that have to do with Paris and fun?!”, was his pragmatic reply.  Joining the others she returned to the hotel.  Elaine sadly reflected on the irony of the proposition presented earlier in the day.

In the middle of the night she realized that Henry was no longer in bed. Dressing quickly she hurried downstairs to find him whispering sweet nothings into a lobby phone, apologizing for not bringing “her”.  Quietly slipping back to their room Elaine started packing her bags; they were to board the plane tomorrow.

Early next morning as everyone stood groggily in line for the airport bus Henry’s eyes searched for Elaine.  ”She has to be here.”, he mused since she had already packed, leaving the room before he was awake.  Unable to find her they checked the American embassy to no avail.  Henry returned home.

That afternoon, zipping through the cobbled streets, a smiling blonde perched behind a lusty Frenchman.  Her arms encircled his waist as she surveyed her future.

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And from Lorna – from over at Lorna’s Voice (Visit here to see Lorna’s Lush Lust post) :

I Want You, I Need You, I Love You

The occasional static and crackles caused by obsessive listening was no match for Elvis’ satin voice. She played the record again, swaying her shapely hips to the music and mouthing the words as she watched herself in her full-length mirror. She knew the words as well as she knew her reflection. Both felt as hollow as a grave before the casket was lowered into it.

Hold me close, hold me tight.
Make me thrill with delight.
Let me know where I stand from the start.
I want you, I need you, I love you
With all my heart.

How many times had men fantasized about her while listening to this song?

She made a career out of making men want the seductive woman they saw when she put on her mask. And she was the best in the business. Desire is what she sold and men bought it up with reckless abandon—men who never knew her, only her act. Nameless men offered her just about anything she wanted from them in exchange for a chance at devouring her body. All she wanted was their undying love and an unbreakable promise never to leave her alone. But they weren’t able to offer her those things, even in for a chance to fondle her breasts and feel her shapely legs wrapped around their torsos.

Ev’ry time that you’re near
All my cares disappear.
Darling, you’re all that I’m living for.
I want you, I need you, I love you
More and more.

“I want you, I need you, I love you.” Elvis crooned. She felt that way about a man once. He was really just a boy and it was so long ago that it hardly counted as this lifetime. But she ached for him with something inside so strong that she knew she would love that man to death…or she would die trying.

I thought I could live without romance
Before you came to me.
But now I know that
I will go on loving you eternally.

But he didn’t give her the chance to give her life to him. He up and left while she was still young and innocent. So she made herself into a woman no other man would ever up and leave. Not and live to tell about it.

Won’t you please be my own?
Never leave me alone
‘Cause I die ev’ry time we’re apart.
I want you, I need you, I love you
With all my heart.

“Yes, Elvis. I know how that feels,” she said to her reflection, which was the most real thing about her anymore. “But no matter how much you beg and plead, they always leave you alone, don’t they? It’s best to leave before you get there, don’t you think?”

She zipped up her dress and adjusted her ample breasts to make sure the cleavage looked just risqué enough for the crowd she wanted, needed, loved to please.

The doorbell rang. She appraised her reflection from glamorous head to spike-heeled toe. Blowing herself a kiss over her shoulder, she grabbed her purse and headed toward the door.

On the dressing table were two empty champagne bottles and one glass smothered in lipstick kisses.

Elvis was silent now. The needle on the stereo was stuck, so she exited to the faint sound of kerrrr…chrrr…kerrrr…chrrr…kerrrr.

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Listen Up All You Lustful Lotharios, Lovers, Loose Ladies and Lunatics

The submission box is up for the next round of the Seven Deadly Sins writing series…Lust. Have at it.

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Sloth – Post 4

Looks like MJ is hanging out here alone, today…

Here is the final entry in the Seven Deadly Sins Series:

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Inertia
By MJ Monaghan

Jason sped down the busy street as he ran his normal 10-mile route through the small beach town. The salt air refreshed and invigorated him. Back in the apartment his roommate Paul was debating what to do. His head churned with lists full of things to do, and unfinished projects waiting for completion.

Paul continued to be amazed by Jason’s perseverance. He had way more on his plate than Paul, but he still managed to get almost everything done on a daily basis. And Jason didn’t just “do things.” He did them all successfully. He ran 10 marathons in a year, each time bettering the last. College was completed in three and a half years. The 1968 Mustang “project car” his dad gave him – he restored it in a summer.

This of course drove Paul totally crazy, wondering why he couldn’t get anything accomplished.

***
Paul stayed up past 2 am every night, and slept through the entire morning.

His day started slowly between 12:30 and 1 in the afternoon. Paul would flip on the television and just “catch a quick half hour of news.” That was followed by watching an hour of Law and Order. Before he knew it, it was 4 pm.

Paul continued to beat himself up. He pondered:

How many stones could the Egyptians have moved in the time I’ve wasted? How far would Hannibal have marched?

What if Leonardo Da Vinci or Michelangelo cruised through life without any dedication to making the most of their time? What would we have? Utter rubbish.

***

Momentum, inertia – two words Paul kept hearing in his stuck mind. He needed a push, an event that could get him out of this funk. But days turned into weeks, and then months. Paul built up piles of wasted time.

It was an act of desperation.

Jason didn’t know what hit him. Didn’t know that his words …

As Jason finished up his afternoon run, he entered the apartment, and explained to Paul how great he felt, and what he would be doing that afternoon.

Muscles twitched as Paul picked up the frame holding Jason’s college diploma. Blood erupted from Jason’s head as he fell to the ground.

No pulse. Jason was dead.

***

In a way, Paul was finally happy. He would have 25 years-to-life to think about what he would do each day, and not have to worry about whether he got it done, or not.

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Whew…This was a bloody round, for the most part.

My stalwart judges will get back to you with the list of finalists.  Stay tuned.

 

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Sloth – Post 3

Pieter Bruegel the Elder: The Seven Deadly Sin...

Pieter Bruegel the Elder: The Seven Deadly Sins or the Seven Vices – Sloth (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Last day to submit your entry!

Here are some more entries for your enjoyment:

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From shalvika :

The Beautiful Bride

She was old and battered by the difficult life she’d had. After all, bringing a child all by herself was not an easy deal. Now that her son was all grown up, she’d decided to finally live for herself. She’d decided to get married. Not for romance or making kids or going on vacations. Just for companionship.

She knew she needed to look a little better for W-day, 10th June. She looked fat and old and ugly right now. The advertisement on TeleBrands looked luring. No workouts, no diets. “Pop some tabs and lose your flab”, the ad went. She was too lazy to do anything anyway.

Her first visit to the doctor was a little disappointing. She felt he was too uninterested in her. She needed results, needed to look good, pronto. She tried to convince him of the same and he kept telling her he knew what he was doing.

The treatment began. She was supposed to take a pill every three hours. She started feeling better in the first couple of days itself. She looked better and her dream of finally fitting into the white wedding dress seemed quite achievable. In her ecstasy, she overlooked the fact that she was taking a pill every two hours. The pills just made her feel better, alive, young. She felt her days were more eventful. More than anything else, for the first time in years, she felt comfortable with what she was. And she wanted that feel to last, she wanted it to sustain. She kept on thinking that more pills would make her look better quickly. And she didn’t even realize that she was popping one pill an hour.

She knew she was spending too much on the pills. But, what the hell, she had to look better. She didn’t do anything except watch TV, dream of looking good and pop the pills. She was growing better looking, she knew. And she was ecstatic. She would look at herself in the mirror for hours together picturing herself in the white dress and make-up. She knew she was gonna look beautiful.

She stopped eating, she stopped stepping out of the house, she stopped talking to her son or her fiancé on the phone. All she did all day long was dream of being beautiful and pop the pills. She would sometimes talk to herself for hours, sometimes explain to her dead husband why she had to look beautiful and sometimes just go back to being sixteen in her father’s home. No one knew what was going on with her.

And finally, the W-day arrived. She woke up early. Took a long shower. Took her time with the makeup, her dress. She put on the finest perfume she had. And just sat there, staring at the beautiful bride. And she knew then that her dream had come true.

News article in the Times, 11th June:  Woman dies of drug overdose

A 56-year-old woman was found dead yesterday by her son in her apartment due to drug overdose. It was her wedding day yesterday. When her son went to pick her up, she was lying on the dresser, with excessive red makeup and a filthy white wedding dress. An excessive supply of  the banned drug XXX was found in her apartment. The source of the large amount of narcotic is still unknown. According to a police report, the woman must have been an addict for a long time now. Source: Reuters.

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From Pete at breakitdownpete:

You want some fries with that order! Shit what am I doing? Why was stricken with the deadly sin of SLOTH! Mom, Dad did you have to be so lazy, sluggish of mind? Why did you allow me to become so complacent. 23 and flipping burgers and I cant see ahead 6 months into my future for I am infested with Sloth. I needed you to push me, to instill some discipline, not to be my friend. I needed you to kick me out of bed and not kiss me on the forehead and believe my I’m sick story. Day after day I missed school and day after day you offered me money with out teaching me how to handle it or work for it, how to manage it. Day after day you cooked my meals, did my laundry and forgave my chorse while Sloth raced through my heart, mind and soul. Now I Ha….. I’m sorry sir that was a large fry right sir! Man I can’t wait to get off from work I have to get home micro wave that tv dinner finish that battle on xbox and take a nap! THANKS MOM AND DAD!

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And from Audrey at Dangerously Daydreaming:

The Big Kid

Joey woke up sore, feeling like he’d been run over by a dump truck.  Falling off a jet-ski at 25 mph can do that to you.  He felt a tinge of guilt about running the jet-ski into the dock but only the fiberglass edge was damaged really.  And besides, the jet-skis belonged to a friend with WAY more money than he would ever have.  “It was fine.”

Splayed across his bed, Joey could hear his grandma calling for him.  It was almost noon.  He remembered when her health first started failing years ago.  It started with a bad fall and broken femur, and just went downhill from there.  Now she required constant care around the clock and Joey had stepped in to do it, partly because he couldn’t seem to hold down a regular job and partly because it freed him to go out a play more.  More time on dirt bikes, more time grinding rails on his skateboard, and now that summer was here more time to jet-ski on the lake.  He was free with few responsibilities, plenty of time to goof off.  But grandma was yelling for him to come downstairs again.  Another moment of waiting wouldn’t kill her he thought as he rolled to his side.

For a while he had tried to work and attend college, but it was just too hard, everything was hard.  Nevermind that most of his classmates managed to do it, he just ended up too distracted by awesome things to do.  The one job he’d kept for more than a year had fired him after a few months of showing up an hour late each shift.  He’d seen it coming.  But it was so hard to get up in the mornings.  He moved back in with his parents.  His mom said he was lazy, but she welcomed him back with open arms.  There was grandma calling again, and he couldn’t imagine what her rush was this morning.

Anway, not long after that job went down the tube, Joey started caring for his grandmother.  His grades in college plummeted.  Again, he didn’t have enough time in the day to get his epic play time in, watch out for his grandma, and study.  “It’s just harder for me than it is for other people.”  Thankfully, taking care of grandma was an easy gig.  She slept in until the afternoon which worked great for him, they would watch tv all day, and once his mom came home from her job, he would hand grandma off to her and play for the rest of the day.  It was a good deal.  One day grandma would pass away and leave him a hefty inheritance anyway, so who needed a job?  The old lady probably had millions saved away.  Which reminded him, he’d probably better get out of bed now and see what she wanted.

As he padded down the stairs he noticed the stillness of the house.  Even the dogs hadn’t come running up to greet him.  “Gram…” he yelled unfinished as he opened her bedroom door.  Her still form lay awkwardly prone on the floor just beyond the bathroom entry.

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