Friday Flash Fiction: “The Wait”

She waits for him outside the bar. It feels longer this time, a slow crawl up a steeper slope. Above her, the neon sign glows like a halo she doesn’t deserve—an interrogation lamp under which she omits something, as easily as “Cocktails” flickers on, off, on… It’s a faint buzz trying to be there, but not quite. Another man asks her for a smoke; she shakes her head, because she can hardly see him.

It’s hard to see anything when she waits for him.

Photo of a neon cocktails sign against black sky

The bouncer nods at her, mouths, Coming in? She isn’t ready. Not yet. They’ve been here one thousand times before. Everybody knows them, their laughs together. They talk secrets of the world, and anecdotes from here to the galaxy over so many drinks and smiles. Those smiles she always sees: in her dreams, in the songs she writes. In her heart.

She can’t quite get him out of her heart.

This, she knows, is the problem. It’s the reason she stands here now, though there’s so much more to it—the way he speaks to her, often, or answers the phone to be sure she’s all right. It’s how he looks at her like she’s his comfort and the answer at the end of a hard day. Like she’s the one he’s been waiting for this long.

Too long.

The air feels colder tonight, but it often does before he comes. It’s not right that he can warm her through with the sound of his laugh, or the bite of his lip while he ponders a response to some moralistic question in the middle of their third round. She thinks of this now, the bite of the lip, how he does it without realizing the catch of her breath, and she crosses her arms over her stomach, waiting. Waiting. Why is nothing more important than him?


He’s behind her, fingers sliding through the strands of her hair in a gentle caress over her neck. She wonders if he sees the flutter of her eyes when his skin meets hers, if he hears her sharp inhalation as he leans into her ear. His is an aura of confidence and love, and that scent he always wears, making her wish she could tilt her nose against his chin to breathe him in, feel the stroke of his fingertips up her thighs or over her naked back like she used to. His body is firm and protective. Close—before he remembers maybe he’s not supposed to touch her like this. His fingers slip from her skin, taking with them everything that makes her heart skip.

The “Cocktails” sign flashes on again. It lights their faces, and the ring on a finger almost tucked in his pocket when he comes around to face her.

“Have you been waiting long?” He gestures toward the door, and she shakes her head.

“Nope. Not long.” She smiles. He smiles.

Bites his lip.

Once they go inside, their bodies are close.


The above flash story was inspired by lovely F. Leonora Solomon’s “Friday Flash—Cocktails” meme. Click on the badge below to read other stories inspired by her fabulous photo!

Friday Flash meme image

couple embracing in window with sun glaring in; Arturkurjan ©

Erotic Fiction: This is Love

I can remember, sometimes, how we used to kiss. The look in your eyes when you stared down at me, your fingertips sliding around my neck, and up into my hair. Pulling. That I remember well. There was a tension at the base of my skull, almost as hot and heavy as the pound of my heart, the throb of my cunt. Then the way you’d pitch toward me—slow, slow, tiny, quiet ticks of the clock passing by faster than we ever could, because all that mattered to us was this. The weight of the air around us, the press of our lips to come. Sometimes, you whispered my name. Others, you held me, still. But always, I felt it: me, bound to you. Then. Now. Forever.

It felt like this because I loved you.

Couple holding each other as morning light streams in window

Arturkurjan ©

When we moved together, it was the shock of waves, tectonic plates shifting in violent bursts, ruining the surface of everything around us. We were the only force that mattered. We were the lightning, the storm, the crest of fire blazing across the distant horizon.

We were one.

Mouth to mouth, we lingered. Breathing fast. Bodies close. When our lips parted, I let you in, let your tongue find mine, dance with me. And we swayed like this, hungry and lost, but as easily found in that electricity between us, in the clutch of our bodies, in the gentle hum bursting out to silence anything, everything.

Everything that wasn’t us.

I’d say it was longing, but it wouldn’t be enough. If I called it lust, that wouldn’t be right, either. We were the joining of cells, the collision of atoms, the combustion of two solutions that never quite fit. We were amazing, too. Planets, stars, comets, sun—we were all of it, a galaxy of feeling swirling round us, enveloping us in the way we kissed. In the hold of you to me, and me to you, chests heaving in the blackest night before the rustle of morning wind blew us all apart.

But I know why.

And so do you.

It was all because you loved me, too.


Dark toned image of woman sitting with one leg crossed over another

You Got Turned Out

Well over a year ago, a close friend used a term that struck me as profound—so much so it’s been simmering in the back of my head ever since. The truth is that it was said in reference to a relationship I’d experienced, but eventually, I realized how wide the scope of it was, and how very much I needed to write about it.

See, at the time of our conversation, I was wrapping up one of the most painful breakups of my life. I’ve had many relationships in two decades—some of them waking me in one way or another, others serious enough we nearly ended up engaged, and still others breaking me in ways that required many years of lightness to heal—but this was different. It was heavier somehow, more real, more intense. If I were to describe my past relationships as watercolor paintings, this one was made of oil—dense with color, small details, and texture, and labored over not just with brushes, but with rags and carving tools that molded the canvas of us. It started as a casual fling that should have meant practically nothing, but in the mere nine months we lasted—including four breakups, three standoffs, and two attempted months of silence—the impact still coursed through my blood and transformed me.

So on the night we chatted, this friend of mine listened while I cried to him for probably the third or fourth time, dragging myself in circles over this new kind of hurt, and this strange feeling of having had my heart and soul wrenched open in ways I couldn’t understand. And in the midst of it, he said, very sweetly, “Honey, don’t you see? You got turned out.”Dark toned image of woman sitting with one leg crossed over another

This friend has long been special to me for a variety of reasons, but his frankness—paired with his somewhat uncanny understanding of women—has always captivated me. Having never heard the term, I sniffled a few times and asked what the hell he was talking about. I’ll take the liberty of paraphrasing his response, but the basic concept is this: getting “turned out” means someone has fully broken through to you—turned you upside down, cracked you open, and unraveled you completely. Sure, you may have had sex and love before—hell, you could have had endless sex and love, and believed you’d felt the magic—but this experience is not common, and when it happens, you know. It’s more powerful than any love or good fuck or orgasm you’ve had before; it’s like you’ve found that person who can sink right into your soul, delve into your pores, and bring you out into the world as an entirely altered, more phenomenal version of you.

When he said this, it clicked. I’d known love, lust, empathy, closeness, hurt, passion, and all of the feelings that connect us with one another—but this thing, even as short as it was, had me lost in an emotional and sexual haze all the way through and well after it ended. Truth be told, it’s one of the most complicated things I’ve ever experienced, so uplifting and murky and amazing and excruciatingly painful, charging me even beyond the time it took to heal. This is why I strongly believe the last part of what my friend said in that phone call, too—that this type of experience will inevitably end in one of two ways: ideally, you and the person seize the magic and end up together for life, exploring this brilliance discovered together; or, you and the person call it quits, she who got turned out is hurt for a long, long time, and then—once all the pain dissipates and she can see straight again—she’s essentially reborn with so much more sense, emotional power, and feeling than she’d ever dreamed of before.

A phoenix rising from the ash, if you will.

That’s a big concept to pin on a relationship, I know, but I’d venture to guess a few of you know exactly what I’m talking about. Maybe while you’re reading this, your hearts are thumping in your chests, your heads lifting and falling as you whistle to yourselves because you remember what this felt like. It’s that feeling of putting your heart, your love, your soul, your very essence in someone else’s grasp like you could never have fathomed before—and still being unbelievably okay with it.

Sometimes, it works out. Sometimes, it doesn’t. But no matter what, you will never be who you were before.

So, that’s what’s been churning in my head for a while now, seeping into my work, my stories. I don’t mean to do it, and then suddenly I do. The first time I saw it was in the last book I wrote—I’d drafted it early last year and then came back a month later to edit, following my character through her adventure in love and sex while I made my scribbles on the page…and then WHAM. I actually saw it in her character arc, and said it out loud:

“Oh, look at you. You got turned out, baby girl.”

I thought it was just a one-time thing. Then the feelings kept resurfacing in other stories I wrote, essays I penned, and poems I posted, without me ever intending it. It was like in finding myself, my characters had to, as well. Even in the book I’m editing now, I saw it happening all over again—the protagonist shedding her old skin, embracing this new life and awareness she finds with the one who broke through to who she honestly was. It wasn’t that she wasn’t whole or happy before—only that, in a way, she had to set fire to who she was to leap into this vivid new self. In doing so, she’s become richer, more powerful, and eager for every sensation and experience yet to be had.

She’s been turned out.

Sometimes, I wonder if the intersection of my own experience happening shortly after I sent my first erotica story into the world was a coincidence, or if it was the Universe trying to give me a message. That in embracing my writing, I’d opened up a personal door. Or that in releasing the erotica I’d kept quiet for years, I was finally able to bare my heart and soul, even if it was going to hurt like hell. Or that, since I was going to explore so many things in real life, I would need to feed it all into my stories over time.

Honestly, I don’t know the answer to the how or why—and like the phoenix, I don’t think the past matters anymore.

When you get turned out, the only thing you need to do is soar on.


Part of Toby's Poem

Today I’m Going to Share a Sad Story

Twenty-one years ago today, I lost my virginity.

That experience itself is not a sad one, but it’s important; I was 14-years-old, and having already had my first sexual awakening a few months before, I’d known when I started dating Toby that he would be the one. He was three years older, an incredibly tall and thin brunet with long hair, graceful fingers, and the most prominent, lovely nose. We’d started phoning one another after he stopped me on the sidewalk outside my Taekwondo studio, where he’d told me he loved my smile and eyes.

What he didn’t know then was that I already had a crush on him. We’d both auditioned for Tevye and His Daughters a couple months before, and while I’d had to drop out of my miniscule role because I had too much homework that I took very seriously, he’d gone on to perform as Tevye in a manner that didn’t fit his 17-year-old frame. It was on that stage Toby struck me as different from all the other boys, as if hosting wisdom beyond his years, but also a presence that couldn’t be explained in any terms I understood then. It wasn’t that he was confident, or dominant, or anything we might imagine when we think of onstage presence; instead it was an aura of listlessness, of discomfort. He was a young man who struck like the gentle beat of the carotid through translucent skin—rich with life blood, and yet so faint you might miss the ghostly tick of who he was.

I discovered I was right about this feeling when Toby and I started dating. There was something about the way he gazed wistfully out the window, and the unusual things he chose to discuss and dwell on. Then there was poetry; long before we’d ever kissed, I’d read him one of my early poems when we sat together in the park. I’d stopped mid-line, suddenly embarrassed and thinking there was no way anyone would really want to hear this blubber I was writing in which I poured out my soul, my ache, and all my love—but Toby did. After, he begged me to write more, to read to him over the phone so he could savor the words and ask me all about what I was thinking when I wrote them. Occasionally—after much encouragement from me—he shared one of his own, and in time, this became our habit. Poems and letters formed our connection, the secret we’d found to express ourselves beyond the physical moments we spent cuddled in the dark, talking of dreams and the futures we imagined for ourselves. Mine were tangible and real, fantasies I could make happen if I set my mind to them. But in Toby’s written words I learned something with which I’d never been familiar: the idea that someone could truly find himself not fitting in this world, that his very existence, for him, was in question at every moment of every day.

By the time we decided to have sex, Toby had shown me more of him. There was a youthful playfulness that distorted his face when he tried to fit in, as if underneath something lingered, a quiet unease that only spilled out on paper when he spoke serious fantasies of living in different eras and places. He made it sound romantic, this obsession with running away from here and now—and this was part of the reason I asked him to be my first. It happened in the middle of the night after he snuck his long, lanky body through my window, kissed me while he slowly peeled off my clothes, and then laid me down on the carpet of my bedroom floor as the moonlight streamed in through the open window and over our skin. Toby kept his lips on mine the entire time, as we both tried, desperately, to stay silent lest we get caught.

In truth, the experience was not what I’d expected. I wondered why people made such a big deal out of this thing. All the other physical acts we’d shared had struck me as more pleasurable, more intimate—and what I wanted in that moment was something more meaningful, to light a candle by which we could whisper our poetry aloud, like we did all the other times we’d been together. I’d been trying to make sense of Toby for so long, and now, this close, this forcibly connected, I needed to understand him, to peer into his soul and see why—despite all his love, his caresses, and the way he claimed he felt happier with me—he still struck me as so lost inside his head.

Part of a poem once written for Toby

Toby’s Poem

Our lovemaking continued for only a month after that, each time better and attempting to draw us closer. It was a physical act to meet my ache for understanding, and perhaps one that represented his need for a world he couldn’t find in his family, friends, or the comings and goings of high school life. And when we broke up, it wasn’t because he was acting as the lost young man I’d come to know and treasure, but instead the laughing, joking boy he thought he was supposed to be.


It was almost four years later we ran into one another, and everything, while different, had stayed the same. Toby complimented my eyes; I told him I still loved his nose. He was thinner, lankier, and his eyes had grown darker somehow, like he’d taken on more of the world’s weight and it had sunk the skin around them as a mark of all he had to carry. But when he asked if I still wrote poetry and I flashed a reminiscent grin, he brightened up. He told me he missed my smile and that we should catch up over poetry and wine.

I honestly can’t remember much of the dinner we shared when we met a week later. The trials that had happened in our lives—rumors that had spread around town about me, and the rumblings I’d heard about him through friends of friends—were all irrelevant as we sat across from each other. We both pulled out the notebooks we’d written in over the years, eager to share everything we’d thought and felt about life, other lovers, and what the future would bring. After our meal, Toby bought a bottle of red while I stood outside the liquor store in the cold night air, wondering if the love we’d make would feel the same to an experienced 18-year-old as it did to the virgin he’d soothed and welcomed into his mystery all those years before.

When we arrived at my house, we uncorked the wine and sat facing each other, poetry in hand as we read, back and forth, for the next couple hours. There were many toasts, many utterances of encouragement, many awed shakes of heads at what each of us had expressed over these few years that felt like a lifetime of change. He stopped me, at one point, telling me he was so glad I’d never stopped writing. I’d dropped my notebook to my lap, beaming and blushing—no one but Toby had read so many of my words, and certainly no one but him had encouraged me to keep writing them. In the same way, I loved what he’d done with his own, and I told him so.

It was somewhere after our second glass we started to kiss.

The memory is ancient and tainted with the fuzzy haze of wine, but what I do recall is this: two naked bodies curling under the sheets, fingertips grazing each other’s sides, tracing memories and yet learning something new, something changed. There was more wine, then more poetry. We whispered it as we made love again, this time a little older, more sure, knowing it was the magic of the lines we read that fueled our fire, that maybe seemed to others strange—two people reading as they arched and bowed, breaths wavering between the words—but that for us remained the secret to our true selves, and what we sought to understand in one another. Our rapture was in poetry, and when we woke in the morning and he kissed me goodbye, I remember thinking it was the real way we were supposed to end: the writers who’d loved, not just the lovers who’d written.

I lost Toby after that night. I heard he moved away, somewhere strange, some other country he’d always wanted to visit. As close as we’d been that night, I’d read in him that comfort in his skin remained a diaphanous, tenuous thing—that despite his beautiful words and loving touch, he still wasn’t all that sure of the world or his place in it.

Wherever he was, I hoped he’d soon find the solace he’d been looking for.


It was over four years later I got the news.

My life was a vastly different one then. I was nearing the end of a five-year relationship that lasted five years too long, one that, without saying too much, broke me in ways women should never be broken. And it was while this boyfriend visited my apartment that my best friend called to tell me what she’d heard about Toby through some mutual friends. She’d dated him too, for a short while before I’d ever met her—but through the years, she knew who and what he was to me.

She spilled it all in a moment, her low tone signaling the gravity of what she had to say: Toby had been living in Europe with a pregnant girlfriend. No one had seen him in a while, but everyone thought he might finally be happy.

And then he killed himself.

My reaction had been stifled by the look I got from my boyfriend. I didn’t know how to act, how to feel. I’d never lost anyone before, but I found myself remembering Toby in that instant as I’d first known him—a lost young man, living in the wrong world, the wrong time, searching for something that fit and never quite finding it, writing letters and poetry that forever tried to make sense of it all.

“So he killed himself and he was your first. Big fucking deal,” was what my boyfriend said to me. “You dated that guy? He was your first? What a loser.”

And because my reaction would determine what came next between us, I didn’t say anything more.


They say you always remember your first, and I believe, for many, this is true. There is something to be learned in your first time—awakening, desire, love, pain, change. And yet, when I think back to my “first,” I hardly remember that moment with Toby on my bedroom floor. What I remember instead are those moments sharing ourselves in the poetic way only we understood, and, deeper than that, the lost man I tried so hard to understand but never fully could. With it all usually comes a sense of grief and loss, a feeling that rose and fell so fast then, never expressed in a way that suited the connection we shared every time we read our words.

Most of all, there comes the acceptance that sometimes, you can never truly understand what’s going on inside a person’s soul. You can encourage them, and you can empathize, but there’s always so much more beyond what they will let you see.

And the only thing you can do is treasure them anyway.


For Toby.

Capture Cupid Blog Hop logo

Chemical [se]X Capture Cupid Blog Hop—Win a Valentine’s Day Prize!

The Connection Valentine's Day Card Image

Hi everyone! It’s almost the big day, you know, V-Day…and in honor of all things Valentine’s, we of Chemical [se]X are running a 14-day blog hop contest. The lovely Oleander Plume—editor of this indie collection and also a graphic design extraordinaire (just check out the sexy image she created above, wowee!)—has gathered some amazing prizes as part of our special blog hop.

The prizes are:

  • A $37 (£25) gift certificate from Belle de Soir
  • Two e-books from Go Deeper Press: First by Jacob Louder and Cream by Lana Fox
  • A $10 gift certificate from Seattle Chocolates
  • A paperback version of Chemical [se]X, signed by the author of your choice

Mmm. Chocolatey and sexy. You totally want to win, don’t you?

Well, the rules are simple—each author is hosting a different segment of the contest on his or her blog through February 13th, and all you need to do is comment on each blog. You can comment once, or, you can comment on every single person’s post through the end of the contest. You can find the full line-up here to keep track and enter as many times as your heart desires.

Speaking of heart’s desires, my story, “The Connection,” is based on a couple who have lost their spark, and its these special chocolates that help bring back the magic they share. I’ve got an excerpt for you below, but first, let’s talk about this leg of the contest.

Capture Cupid Blog Hop logo

One of the things I love about this book—besides working with some fabulous authors I’m honored to know—is the chocolate theme. Why? Because I love chocolate. Okay, really, I love all things candy…if you didn’t hear this through the grapevine, welcome to my reality: I am a sugar fiend. It’s a problem, most of the time, as I have no self-control and love to indulge as often as possible (I swear I’m still talking about candy, guys). I even almost made a sugar-covered bodysuit for a fetish party once, and the only thing that stopped me was the melting potential. I am not kidding!

All that said, I’ve decided to make my stop for this contest incredibly easy for you: all you have to comment on is your favorite Valentine’s Day candy. Really. That’s it! Conversation Hearts? Cinnamon hearts? Marshmallow cherubs? Chocolate roses? Take your pick, and then gimme some sugar. Whoops. I mean, share your sugary addiction with me.

You know you want to!

As promised (and to encourage you), here’s an excerpt from “The Connection”:

Heavy and taunting, the container had banged against her hip when she hoisted her purse over her shoulder, its presence as poignant as the need deep in her sex when she pondered what might happen after Terence came home. The wonder burned on as she waited for him, and when she ran her fingers across the top of the box, she tilted her head coyly to the side. Aubrey could actually smell the truffles through the cardboard and the wrapping, the scent definitively chocolate with a whiff of crisp mint and grass beneath. But there was something else, too. It was earthy and rich, she realized, much like arousal.

Her arousal.

Aubrey wanted to wait for Terence, but she ached to know what these chocolates could do. Lifting the lid, she admired the six candies inside, each piece tempting her from within the black and white polka-dotted foil cups. The store clerk had explained this decorative packaging as specific to the premium box, “guaranteed to satisfy” or her money back tomorrow.

How could she resist?

Quickly, Aubrey grabbed a chocolate and took the smallest nibble, then nested the candy back in its cup. The dark chocolate tingled along her tongue and down her throat when she swallowed, the sensation peculiar and warm. It had to be her imagination, but the lid was barely back on the box when the feeling spread through her neck, her breasts, and her arms. It was powerful, overwhelming and sweet—exactly how she felt when Terence thrust inside her, making her whimper and writhe in passion.

Aubrey gasped.

That. Yes, that.


Okay, so you’ve had a sample of something sweet—and now I want to hear something sweet from you! Please make sure your email address is linked to your name when you comment below with your favorite Valentine’s Day candy. I’ll be sending all entry names and emails to Oleander Plume to work her drawing magic…and hopefully, you will be one of our two lucky winners.

Thank you in advance for commenting, and be sure to follow along and comment on other blogs for more chances to win. Tomorrow we will move over to Annabeth Leong’s site, then C.E. Hansen’s site the next, and so on and so forth… I hope you’ll join us!

Now, please share your sweets with me! 🙂