Return to Love

Four-line Romantic Flash Fiction:

With reckless abandon, Alyssa dove into his arms and crushed her lips to his, her breasts pressing to his chest like blazing hot iron meets raw steel.

She panted into his mouth, “I thought I’d never see you again.”

“Every moment I was gone,” he replied, “I thought of you, my darling, and counted every step on my return to your embrace.”

With virile lips, he took her breath away; with stout hands, he held her close; and with romantic words, he stole her heart.

The Futility of Resisting Love

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Romantic short story:

Sometimes love swoops in like a summer breeze, catching you off guard in the most amiable way possible, stirring your heart like the warmth of sunlight. Other times, like today, I discovered that sometimes love comes in a relentless rain storm, thundering in the obstinate heart to get its attention and wrestling it into submission until the heart has no choice but to recognize love at its very door. Such was the case with my colleague Petunia Canterbury, the darker side of the moon compared to me, the ardent journalist who had all the answers when I was fresh out, the firestorm who eventually stole my heart.

For years we’d been working together as foreign correspondents, sometimes in over our heads in dangerous locales that we couldn’t even mention to homeland security upon our return for fear that we would be stuck in a detention center for days getting “debriefed.” To say our relationship was combative from the start would not be exaggerating. We were always at each other’s throats about decisions to cover stories, whom to interview, or how to write up a story. But the Associated Press called us, so we had no choice but to continue to work together or lose our jobs.

Our last assignment was the last straw, the argument to end all arguments. I had had enough and left with the intention of never seeing her again. That was over a year ago. But time passed and I found myself peculiarly missing her. I took homeland assignments to keep myself in journalism, but became restless and asked to be assigned to another foreign gig.

Now as I walk along the mud-caked road on a backwater somewhere in southern Laos, I allow the pouring rain to soak every inch of me. Thunder rolls in distant stereo as storm winds whip the fronds of palm trees along the side of the road. The humidity had already soiled my shirt with sweat, so the rain showers actually feel somewhat soothing as I traipse through ankle deep slosh and spit out rain water that has poured off my head onto my face. My saturated clothes feel like cellophane wrap plastered to every muscle on my body.

As I make my way to the local village where I have an interview with a farmer who is using a new method of crop irrigation, I find myself thinking of her – Petunia – the last person on earth I would ever want to see again. But here, on the other side of the world, I imagine the times we had, her whimsical blonde hair, her fierce lips that I always wondered what they would be like to kiss, and her saucy attitude that I strangely cannot get out of my heart.

Shaking me from my thoughts is the sound of a whirring motorbike riding through the mud, coming up behind me on the road I am traveling. A Laotian man is riding it with flip-flops and a tank top, completely oblivious to the fact that not only is he getting just as soaked as I am, but also that the rain storm is forcing his motorbike to go slower than a jogger’s pace. I wave as he passes, see his kind smile, and nod before he rides on. Sitting behind him on his bike is a woman clinging to his waist, maybe his wife, I assume.

As they disappear through the rain up ahead, I watch as the red brake light comes on and the bike stops. Thinking that he’s going to offer me a ride, I hustle to catch up to him, but then watch the woman hop off the bike and run toward me, too. She turns quickly, waves the driver away, and the bike disappears into the rain.

A wide smile forms on my face as I realize who it is.

“Petunia?!” I yell in the rain. A peal of thunder cracks overhead. I didn’t recognize her all wet, her blonde hair flattened and darker.

“I don’t believe this!” she yells back. “I thought it was you! What the hell are you doing all the way out here? Thought I left you chained to that domestic desk.”

“You’re a piece of work, you know that?” I reply. The sound of thunder rips all around us. “I try to leave the memory of you behind me by chasing a story to the far reaches of the earth, and who do I end up running into?”

She is silent for almost a minute, appraising me with a slight grin, uncaring of the rain showering over us. “You missed me,” she says in a softer tone.

My heart is beating at a mile a minute and to act on my impulses would be foolish for both of our sakes, but foolish is all I have to go on. I walk right up to her and while the rain drenches both of us, I plant a kiss firmly on her lips, my hand behind her head, holding her soaked hair.

I sense her resistance immediately, not that I wasn’t expecting it, and she moves back, wiggling away from me. Then she shoves me away, but I’ve seen her shove people before, and this was no shove. More like a jostle. A stubborn yet flirtatious effort.

I move in again, my arm around her waist, feeling the peak of her hard nipples through her wet shirt against my chest. I kiss her again, both of our mouths wet with rain water. This time, she opens her mouth slightly and my tongue slips in for a few seconds. Enough to feel like lightning has coursed between us.

Then she resists again, shoving me back harder. I pause, wondering if she’s serious. Waiting. But I see it in her eyes. Something animalistic that burns in my heart, too. Finally, she moves into my space and clutches my face with both hands, pressing her tongue to mine in savage vengeance.

For as long as it takes, while the rain showers over us, while the thunder serenades us with its soothing rumble, we kiss like lascivious lovers, knowing that from this moment on, a new partnership has been formed, and love has replaced animosity.

And the Hills Cried Beautiful

Artist Arthur Sarnoff; photo: pinterest

Artist Arthur Sarnoff; photo: pinterest

Romantic Short Story:

For Daffodil, the world was a dark cluster of storm clouds and billowing thunder on the day she lost her darling love. From that moment on, even when the sun shone in the sky, the pouring rain of sadness in her heart would never end. Everything that she had ever loved or would love, so it seemed, all that she had depended on, all that had made her heart flutter, had died like spring flowers in winter snow, leaving nothing but emptiness in its wake and hopelessness in her heart. He was gone, and the aching loneliness in her soul felt like a thousand horses pressing her down, forcing her into submission to give up ever searching for love again.

What she hadn’t counted on, however, was that love would come searching for her. What she hadn’t imagined was that this new love would be even greater than the first.

It was a warm spring afternoon when Sage brought her to the mountains for a picnic on the grass. A ski lift transported them to the summit where they were the only ones around for miles. Vast views of mountain peaks that reached to clear blue skies above and flowery meadows in distant valleys captured their senses. A gentle breeze wafted clean fresh scents of azaleas and rhododendrons as birds sang hymns to a new season of love and hope.

The two of them mockingly argued on the place to set the picnic blanket down and when Sage half-jokingly refused her suggestion, Daffodil grabbed the picnic basket and hightailed down a path through the fields over the green hills. As she had hoped, he gave chase, laughing as he ran, and his infectious laugh started her giggling as she escaped over the ridge. Clearing the ridge came as a shock, however, which sharply sloped down at a 45-degree angle, catching her off guard. Without any thought whatsoever, Daffodil tumbled down the grassy slope, rolling over and over like a little girl and laughing the entire way down to the nearest glade that flattened out.

She turned to gather the things that had spilled out of the picnic basket, but when she looked back up the hill, it was already too late. Sage had tumbled down after her and rolled right on top of her, knocking her back. But somehow he was able to hold onto her in an embrace that kept her completely uninjured and the two of them laughed again as they rolled about in the glade until they finally came to a halt with Sage on top of her. She was grinning wide as they both caught their breath.

“How about right here?” Daffodil suggested.

Sage chuckled. “Right here it is,” he complied.

They must have stayed in that position for several minutes without moving, each gazing into the other’s eyes, not wanting to get up. Ever.

Daffodil caught the sparkle in his eye, the softness in his spirit, the clear indication that when he saw her, he looked straight to her heart and held it there. “What are you looking at?” she flirted.

Sage replied, his breath on her lips, “The most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen in my life.”

For a second it made her uncomfortable, but she melted into it, her eyes softening, receiving it gladly. “So we’re miles from civilization,” she began suggestively, her hands around his back drawing him closer. “What are you going to do with me?”

“First,” he said, grazing his lips tenderly over hers, “I’m going to kiss you.” And what a kiss it was. Deep, soulful, soothing like a warm bath in an outdoor pool. And when his lips separated, he said, “And then I’m going to ask you to marry me.”

Daffodil’s heart skipped a beat as she sharply drew back. “What?”

“Marry me, Daffodil,” he said, “and I’ll never let myself stop loving you for the rest of my life.”

Suddenly her past posted barriers like army defense posts around her heart. Fear had the upper hand and won out. “No,” she said flatly. “I can’t do that.”

The disappointment on his face was evident, and his eyes fell. She had to explain herself. It was only fair. For the next hour as they laid out the picnic blanket and feasted on roasted chicken, corn on the cob, and potato salad, Daffodil shared her story of loss, of hurt, of pain, of heartache that she would never let herself experience ever again. It wasn’t fair to Sage, she explained.

In the end, she left it with an open question, “After all of that, is love really strong enough for us?”

He had been quiet, silently listening and waiting. When they’d finished eating, he gave his answer. “Daffodil, I can accept your reasons. You’ve experienced love and also hurt. So have I. You’ve experienced courage, but also fear. I have, too. You’ve had great gain but also great loss. Is love strong enough for us? I love you, Daffodil. If you love me back, it will be strong enough. No matter how small we start. It will grow into a field of flowers like we see here. And not just a field, but hills, mountains, strong enough to hold us together forever.”

With many such words, he tried to persuade her as they held hands and traipsed up the path back to the ski lift. She was grateful that he didn’t give up on her, even after she had rejected his proposal, and she continually pondered what he was telling her.

When her heart cried sorrow for what she had lost in the past, the hills in their desperate silent plea would cry out how beautiful her life really was. Gazing into his eyes, envisioning her future with him, she smiled and her heart melted.

Pretty soon, she thought, in spite of the past, she was going to believe the voice of the hills.

When Love Comes Knocking

Artist Morgan Kane; photo: picssr.com

Artist Morgan Kane; photo: picssr.com

Romantic Flash Fiction:

I have discovered that it is sometimes in the strangest of circumstances that an opportunity presents itself. When we least expect it to show up, when we are set in our minds to throw in the towel, when we want nothing anymore to do with the dream, a seemingly random favorable circumstance drops right into our laps and we are stunned at the outcome, as if we are unworthy to receive the vision we imagined in the first place.

I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me back up to the day before she arrived on my doorstep, the day my life changed forever.

It was a cool morning just after the sun was rising over the city, casting its eclectic glow of deep blue over the still, empty streets. I meandered my way past the grocer and inhaled the aroma of freshly brewed coffee from the café down the street. Upon entering the park, I felt like I was in another world all my own. Birds were greeting the day and gathering in trees to find their breakfast, and the gentle spring breeze that fluttered emerald leaves wafted against my back, coercing me along the rustic rocky path that led to the lake in the center of the park.

I sat on a boulder that jutted out of the ground by the water’s edge. As the fog that floated effortlessly over the surface burned off in the warm sunrise, I smiled at a family of ducks that swam in formation, forming a V of water ripples that lapped the shore by where I was sitting. I closed my eyes and breathed in the fresh early morning air.

But then I remembered why I had come. I had often come to this park, but never this early and never for this reason. Without hesitation, I pulled her photo from my pocket and stared at it for a while with a melancholy heart. This was not the way it was supposed to go. The familiar feeling of anger ripped through my soul and, fighting back tears, I quickly ripped the picture into tiny pieces and tossed them out, scattering them on the surface of the lake. So much for romantic love. I had done all I could to win her heart, but in the end, she had broken mine. I walked around the lake that morning, not making it back to my apartment until lunch, contemplating life and relationships and things that made no damn sense.

But it was the very next night, well past midnight by the clock in my kitchen, when I was pouring over papers from work that were spread out on the dinner table, and suddenly I heard the doorbell.

My head turned dubiously to the door. Who in the world…?

I opened the door and smiled in unexpected shock at my neighbor from down the hall. Her name was like a flower, I remembered, but the exact name eluded me. What was surprising was not only the fact that, beautiful as she was, she was knocking on my door after midnight, but the fact that she was dressed in sexy pink lace lingerie. A darker pink robe was draped over her shoulders, and her short curly red hair was a bit disheveled. In a word, I was in love. Well, superficially at least.

She saw me gawking at her pink negligee, and quickly covered up with her robe, a look of sharp dignity covering her face. “I’m… I apologize to bother you at this hour,” she began, “but I saw your light on and… well, to make a long story short, I’ve been locked out of my apartment.”

I grinned. “Well, that’s an easy fix. I’ll just kick it down for you.” I was joking, but by the look on her face, you’d have thought I’d just told her the world was about to implode. “I’m kidding,” I backpedaled sheepishly. “I’ve got some tools inside. Maybe we can try to jimmy it.”

“Well, it’s like this…” she started, blushing at her hesitation, “um, Davey, is it?”

“That’s right,” I smiled sincerely, thrilled that she’d remembered my name. “You’re…”

“Flora Sorrell,” she replied. No hand shakes. Her hands were still holding her robe over her breasts. “It’s just that…” She finally sighed heavily, surrendering to sharing embarrassing news. “My boyfriend locked me out. He was drunk, we got in a fight, and … yeah, so here I am. I’m sorry to put this on you. You’re probably about to go to bed and all, but as you can see I’m kind of desperate. For help, that is,” she added emphatically.

I shrugged. “You’re welcome to borrow my phone. Why don’t you call the police on the guy? Isn’t that your place anyway?”

“Yeah, but,” she replied, “I’m a little under-dressed and already embarrassed enough as it is. I don’t want any more drama for tonight.”

“Then what can I…?” I started before she cut in.

“Could I sleep on your couch tonight?” she asked. “It would only be for the night. In the morning, I’ll call my friend Suzy and she can help me get some clothes. And maybe a lawyer.”

After I smiled as an unspoken agreement to help, she finally smiled back in relief. Her eyes sparkled like shimmering gold flakes and my heart responded by rising like a buoy in deep water. “Why don’t you come in, Flora?” I suggested. “It just so happens, I’m a lawyer.”

A Valentine’s Wish

Artist Jon Whitcomb; photo: pinterest

Artist Jon Whitcomb; photo: pinterest

Romantic Flash Fiction:

You have dreamed of this moment for years, decades even, and now you have it. Step aboard the cruise liner headed for destiny, next stop: true love. Gaze reverently at the light of the full moon shining magnificently over rippling water, fragmenting into star-like sparkles on the surface of the warm sea. The evening breeze ruffles your elegant dress, sending goosebumps over every pore of your skin, and as you close your eyes, you dream of what you have come for, luxuriating in anticipation for what joy awaits.

With a step of courage, you stride out alone onto the open-air terrace with a view of the stars glistening in the night sky. You whirl around in your dress and feel it twirl, the evidence that you have stepped up to the status of a princess. But then, even here, doubts defy you like an army on a frontal assault. They whisper harsh words of your past and play to your fears, stinging your heart like a poisonous ray, until all that is left of your courage are the cold feet you walked in on. Yet there is something deep within you willing you to go on and fight the fears like a counter-battalion of fortitude you never knew you had. This is destiny. And you will not be overcome.

Sounds from the galley below drift up to the terrace where you stand, the exquisite music of a philharmonic orchestra, playing your tune, giving you hope.

Out of the stairwell, on the other side of the finely polished terrace, steps a man whose confidence and gentle demeanor flow from his heart, capturing yours in one smooth motion. He smiles to you as he walks over. Your heart beats wildly with a mixture of anxiety and apprehension. This couldn’t be happening, you think. And yet it is. He sees you and finds you and comes to you.

Words could hardly do this meeting justice, so he slides his warm hand into yours, entwining his fingers through yours, drawing you near. His other hand slips around your back as his touch electrifies your spirit, like the fire of a torch. Gently and hardly noticeably at all, you find yourself swaying together, dancing to the rhythm of the philharmonic melody. You lean closer and close your eyes, swept away by this man whom you feel like you’ve known for years.

As you dance, your cheek touches his and you feel an overwhelming desire to kiss him. As your heart melts under the bliss of true love, you turn to him, your lips a hair’s breath from his. His arms are wrapped around your waist and you feel his warmth through every part of your being.

As you gaze into his sparkling, inviting eyes, he grins. “Happy Valentine’s Day, sweetheart,” he says. “I knew you’d come.”

Gently Whispered Dreams

Artist Arthur Sarnoff; photo: pinterest

Artist Arthur Sarnoff; photo: pinterest

Romantic Flash Fiction:

It was a glorious sunny day at Love Beach when she heard her dreams whisper to her from the hollow of a seashell. They were words that she had known in the deepest recesses of her heart and longed to hear if only for a day.

Along the slope of a sandy dune, Kahili Ginger lay on a beach blanket, basking in the summer sun. Behind her in the branches of green leafy trees, birds chirped and sang melodies that calmed her soul as the waves softly trickled up the sand in overlapping froth. The scent of coconut suntan lotion over her breasts and legs was soothing and comforting, and the fresh sea air reminded her of when she was a little girl laughing and running on the sand to escape the next harrowing incoming wave from tickling her toes.

Reclining on her back, she removed her sunglasses to receive his kiss as he leaned in closer and found her lips. His kiss was like the penetrating sweetness of a pomegranate that sank in deeper into her taste buds and lingered there, stirring up delectable flavor. Their tongues danced like silk on satin, and she moaned into it as his delicate passion took her breath away, leaving her yearning for more.

He was gazing into her eyes when she opened hers, the brightness of the sun making her squint. Just one smile from him was enough to melt her heart. She stared back at him, lost in his eyes, drawn to a place where time stood still. Inhaling and exhaling slowly, she felt her chest rise and fall like the ocean waves.

“Kahili Ginger,” he said, his voice a deep tonal co-mingling of masculine power and tender grace. “I love you with all of my heart. And I know I always will.”

Dropping the seashell from her ear, she grinned broadly and wrapped her arms around his bare shoulders, pulling him in for another kiss. This was the whisper from the seashell, the words of the ocean. Not a gentle sea breeze, but his words, his heart, and his voice.