The Writing Wenches have released an anthology of short stories. The stories reflect each other’s style, and the genre they write. When we set out to write the anthology, we had one condition: it had to have a happy ending; you can write about aliens in love, or Vikings falling in love while marauding but every body much have their happily ever after (or happily ever after for now). What resulted is a mix of stories from authors with very different writing styles. Some stories are funny, some have a bit of angst while others are sweet.
My contribution is titled Always Never. I love my characters: Bree and Rowan, are best friends since they were in kindergarten. A series of notes, and later, text messages reveal stages, milestones, heartaches and joys in a lifetime of friendship between these two beautiful souls. Bree, as typical of female characters I write, is a strong, independent woman who loves deeply and is fiercely loyal. With a serious, introspective personality, Rowan’s lighter, happier disposition provides a balance to Bree’s. I hope you enjoy reading their story as much as I enjoyed writing it. Here’s a sneak peek.
Rowan jumped out of the car even before his mom put the SUV’s gear in park. He didn’t bother knocking. He pushed the door open, and bounded up the stairs, taking them two at a time. He didn’t notice the stunned silence that greeted him when he barged into the clean but dilapidated home, or the teary look from Bree’s mom that followed his steps.
When Rowan pushed her bedroom door open, he thought she was asleep. She was facing the window, her body curled into a fetal position. The window was open, the old, faded teddy bear curtains waved in silence against the frigid October winds. When she turned to him, her face almost broke his heart. There was so much pain in those eyes. Too much for someone so young. A sobbed escaped her lips, so loud and so forlorn as if she was holding it all in until he came. For the first time since they were six, Bree allowed Rowan to hug her. And how he hugged her. It was a hug that said he loved her, that she was the best thing in his life, that he was sorry her dad died, that her heart was breaking. It was a hug that made up for all the bad jokes he made, when he teased her, when he wasn’t the best friend he could be. It was a hug that made up for the years she didn’t allow a hug. It was a hug meant to span the years to come, when he knew in his young mind that he would probably do something stupid to annoy, anger or even hurt her, but never intentionally. It was a hug that tried to carry some of her pain away, even though he knew he wouldn’t be able to. It was a hug that tethered her. It was a hug that meant to give her the best part of him—his heart.
When they finally pulled apart, they didn’t really. They still circled each other. She laid back down on her bed. Her old mattress sat in the corner of the room, her two sisters shared a bunk bed on the other side of the wall. Rowan didn’t let her go. And neither did she. She cried. The cries of a thirteen-year old that just lost a piece of her heart, whose knowledge of the world as fair and good was gone, whose security in her universe was now laid six feet underground. Her father, gone. Forever. Irrevocably.
She let out loud, angry, ugly cries. The kind that seared one’s soul at any age. The kind that wracked her small, young body. The kind that broke her heart, and his too over and over again.
All the while holding on to Rowan. When Bree’s mother found them later, asleep, face to face, she covered them with a blanket and closed the window, glad that her daughter had a friend who cared deeply for her.
Rowan: I’m here. Forever. Always.
Bree: Don’t ever leave me.