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Under the Cherry Trees

Artist Preston Blair; pinterest.com

Romantic 4-line flash fiction:

Fresh air teemed with inexorable life as a cool mountain spring wind tossled Celosia’s honey blonde hair.

As the cherry blossoms dotted the landscape pink against an azure afternoon sky, my shoes crunched gravel as I meandered beside her along the path with my fingers interlaced with hers.

“This is it,” I said, drawing her to myself, wrapping my arm around her shoulders, my lips a hair’s breath from hers.

“Don’t let me go,” Celosia pleaded breathlessly, a tiny tear trickling down her cheek, as our lips met and warmth flooded my soul, my heart aching for her to stay.

Author’s note: I’ll be heading to Japan this weekend in search of cherry blossom trees. Perhaps there is a romance story lingering there beneath the cherry trees, waiting for just the right moment when an author may happen by and capture a slice of romantic magic.

The Story Within a Story

Artist Kai Carpenter; pinterest.com

Romantic Dialogue Flash Fiction:

“But he sought better days,” I recited to Cassia from the romance novel, “his life a long road of wistful adventures on the open sea, all of which having taken a toll on his health and his mental well-being. But her. She was the light through it all, the guiding star that pointed the way in his wayward heart.”

Cassia moaned contentedly, cuddling closer with her long, soft brunette hair splashed over my broad chest. “We all need someone like that for us, don’t you think?”

“I think I could relate,” I said, turning to Cassia and kissing her softly on her cheek before turning back to the book. We were so close that our cheeks lightly grazed one another. “But it doesn’t end there. She runs away. But he never gives up on her. It would be years of him sailing the seven seas to catch up with her.”

“Does he… eventually?” she asked, rolling over onto my chest, her breath warm on my lips.

I put the book aside, gazed into her tender eyes, and stroked her satin hair. “Cassia, you don’t want me spoil the whole story for you, do you?”

“I’m curious,” she replied. “Spoil away.”

My two forefingers drew her chin up to mine and I kissed her long and delicately on her silken lips. Finally I said, “Maybe it’s like our story. With you, my love, I’ll never spoil the ending. Instead, I want us to discover it on our own. Both of us together. It’s more exciting that way. Are you with me?”

Cassia softened her eyes and lay back, pulling my neck gently to lie on top of her. “Lead on, sailor.”

What to Do in a Thunderstorm

Artist Raphael Desoto; pinterest.com

Romantic Short Story:

It was my first date with the woman of my dreams, Tansy Kaeller from Vienna. She had feathered blonde hair like lemon sugar and a radiant smile that made her eyes squint and sparkle. When her mouth turned up in a grin, she revealed a slight yet devastatingly cute overbite. Devastating to me because I was the one who fell head over heals in love with her. From her sweet Austrian accent and dainty voice to her soft creamy skin, I loved everything little thing about her. In short, she took my breath away.

On my private multi-acre ranch that evening, we meandered down a dirt path that wound through rose bushes with a view of the stars above as bright as lanterns. The crickets serenaded our walk, but otherwise, it was pretty quiet except for the sound of our voices.

Tansy was drop-dead gorgeous that night, wearing a pink dress that clung to every curve with a generous dip in the front to reveal plenty of cleavage. She was clinging to my arm and her hair smelled like shampoo from perhaps a shower she’d taken before coming out tonight. I could feel her soft breasts pressing against my side, igniting my insides. With Tansy, I felt on top of the world and above all else, I had to tell her that tonight.

I couldn’t wait. I stopped and turned to her and she to me. Her face glowed in the moonlight and I noticed her full lips were wet. Had she steathily licked them while turning to me, or were they always so naturally glistening? I didn’t care, but I knew they were calling out to my lips like a magnet.

We had been talking about stupid things to kill time while we were meandering down the prim rose path – topics like the weather, the ranch, her English learning, the horses I’d ridden that morning, and so on. It was time to get serious. “Tansy,” I began breathlessly, “I have to kiss you.”

Her eyes squinted as she smiled. “Then why don’t you?” she asked, pronouncing the w in ‘why’ like a ‘v.’

I didn’t need a second invitation, moving in and pressing my lips to her wanting velvet mouth, one hand around her back, the other gently holding the nape of her neck. When our tongues met, she moaned and pressed her tongue harder inside my mouth with passionate fervor. We kissed long and wet, indulging deep desires that were bubbling up like a furnace.

But when I lifted my head from our kiss, just to see that beautiful face again, I noticed that her cheeks were no longer glowing in the moonlight. I looked up to the sky and immediately had a sense of what was coming. You get this intuitive sense on a ranch that just before it rains, there is a kind of fresh smell in the air and leaves on the trees turn over one way or another.

Then a rumbling in the distance. Thunder.

“We’d better head for shelter,” I suggested. “If we don’t hurry, that storm’s going to overtake us.” She nodded and we both hurried back down the path from which we’d come. But then some raindrops tip-tapped over us and then some more.

We began to run.

“Are we too late?” she asked, beginning to panic, and wobbling beside me in her high heels, picking up the pace.

The downpour was enough answer for her, coming down in drips at first, then a steady stream, then a heavy shower. Then the crack of thunder. She shrieked and held her arm over her head as a basic survival instinct to shelter herself from the rain. It wasn’t working. Within seconds, both of us were soaked through the clothes and running down the path that was quickly turning to mud.

I led her to the closest shelter there was on my property: a barn. It may not have been a five-star dream hotel, but it had a roof and dry shelter inside, priceless when you’re stuck out in a thunderstorm.

A flash of lightning and another whip crack of thunder chased us in through the massive double doors that I quickly shut behind us when we got inside. We were panting and laughing at ourselves that our clothes were fully soaked and we’d just barely managed to escape the storm.

Inside the empty barn that normally housed the bushels of wheat during harvest time, it was pitch black, so I found her hand easily in the dark and led her to a narrow staircase with creeky wooden steps in the corner. The stairs led to a loft with a low wooden-beamed ceiling structure, so we had to at least kneel down when we got up there.

Tansy lied on her back, catching her breath. Even in the shadows, I could see her breasts rising and falling with every breath she took. Her head was turned to me and was silently appraising my shadow, too.

“It’s the perfect shelter,” she said in her sweet singsong accent. Even though I couldn’t see her face, I could feel her smiling.

Outside the thunder was still crashing and rain was pelting the roof not far above us. When lightning flashed, I caught a glimpse of Tansy on the floor of the loft and my heart melted. I had never seen her like this. She was more adorable than I’d ever imagined. All wet and uninhibited and free.

I reached around for what I’d come up to the loft for and found it, the kerosene lamp. I found the matches in the little box underneath the lamp and lit it up.

Suddenly the whole loft flooded with light, which wasn’t really all that bright but coming from pitch darkness, anything dim seems like the sun.

Finally I sighed heavily with relief that we were finally safely out of the storm, and I sagged down to my back next to her, staring up at the wooden beams, feeling her warmth next to mine as our arms touched and our fingers interlaced.

Tansy turned over and lay on my stomach, her sparkling eyes staring into mine. “Can I tell you a secret?” she whispered as the rain poured down outside.

“I love secrets,” I said, gazing back into her eyes.

“All I wanted tonight,” she said, her breath on mine, “was just the chance to get close to you. Just like this. And now because of the storm, I get my wish.”

I was beaming. It got me thinking that maybe we forget that even though the storm crashes in ferocity, it’s who you’re with in the storm that really matters. I was grateful to be with Tansy. Our lives would never be the same again after that because we’d spent one beautiful night together, not only in the shelter of a barn, but under the shelter of each other, in the midst of the storm.

Wrapping my arms around her, I kissed Tansy again, drawing her close, fulfilling the wish she had made, and the one that I hadn’t even had the courage to wish for myself, believing in vain that it would never come true.

Didn’t You Hear the Sound of Love?

Artist Pruett Carter; picssr.com

Romantic Flash Fiction:

Senna closed her eyes and grinned, playing along.

“Listen,” Dalton said. “Now don’t peak. Just… listen. What do you hear?”

As her bare feet rested gently in the cool water that flowed over her ankles, Senna listened intently to the babbling brook. The water dribbled over rocks and tumbled down tiny falls as the current moved with soft intensity and gentle impulsiveness. High in the trees of the forest around them, birds sang their sweet melodies that Senna probably wouldn’t have heard over the rushing water of the brook if she hadn’t closed her eyes. She felt the cool breeze dance through the forest and brush against her cheeks as she breathed in the fresh air.

“I’m listening,” Senna said, opening her eyes after several minutes of quiet meditation over her surroundings. “The forest is truly alive, isn’t it?”

Dalton reached out to hold her hand and scooted along the rocks to sit next to her. Senna could feel his warmth nestle up against her, and her heart swirled with delight.

“Long winters fray, etching away,” he whispered close to her ear. “The forest dreams, its sound a charm that rings through every stream.”

“Mm,” Senna moaned, her cheek resting on his. “Your words touch me like nothing else can. Or was that a quote?”

“I just made that up. For you.” His lips kissed her gently on the closest cheek, making her whole body tingle.

Senna giggled, leaning into it, not wanting it to stop. Ever.

“Didn’t you hear it, Senna?” he asked her. “When you closed your eyes.”

“I heard a forest that inhales and exhales through a babbling brook and a soft breeze,” she replied, matching his mood for poetic diction.

“That,” he explained, “is the sound of love. Every time the water rolls over rocks, the brook continues on, the bird chirps its song, you hear three words from the bottom of my heart – I love you. And I do, you know.”

She turned to face him, her smile glowing in the sunlight that broke through the trees from high above. “Do you really?” she teased with a lift of her eyebrow, snuggling closer, her lips inching towards his.

“That’s why I brought you here today,” he said. “To let you hear it for yourself, not only from me, but from the thousand witnesses of nature all around us. To give you this gift.”

Their lips brushed lightly before Senna melted into his kiss as he cupped her hands in his. It was a kiss that for just a brief moment pillaged all the vitality out of the forest, and if it could be harnessed, it would black out a city and light up her whole world in that one touch of his lips.

When their mouths separated, he grinned at her with sparkling green eyes. “Now open your hand,” he said with a mischievous, mysterious grin.

She felt nothing there, and she almost thought he was joking. Until she opened her hand. When she did, she caught her breath. She looked back at him in disbelief. He was still grinning as if he had planned it all along.

Senna suddenly closed her hand, clutching it so tightly that she imagined that if she didn’t, it might disappear as magically as it had appeared. She felt the diamond against the palm of her hand and shut her eyes tightly, now unable to control the tears that trickled down her cheeks.

“The other message of the brook,” he said. “Marry him, Senna, it said.” Choking up with emotion himself, he fought to get the words out. “Marry me, Senna.”

When she opened her eyes, they were glassy pools gazing into the eyes of the man who would father her children and give hope to her life in old age.

But then, just for a second, doubt suddenly crept in like a poisonous asp on the slippery rock. “But what about…?” she heard herself saying.

He shook his head. “I don’t care about that. I’ve never cared about that. I only care about you.”

She sniffled, fighting back her emotions. “I love you,” she said, mouthing the words, no sound coming out, but nearby a babbling brook echoing her heart.

Breaking Free

Artist Enoch Bolles; pinterest.com

Romantic Flash Fiction:

After running almost a mile into the deep forest, I finally found Honeydew lounging against the half-supine trunk of a tree. I stopped to catch my breath and loosen my tie and collar that had been suffocating me all afternoon. Sweat was pouring from my brow as I removed my suit jacket and hung it on a nearby branch.

Then I took in the scene – Honeydew in rare form – the woman I had met less than an hour ago on the lawn of one of the richest homes in the county. The formal Victorian dress that I’d last seen her in had been haphazardly tossed into a bush nearby along with her corset and other items of intimates. She casually lay back on the tree trunk with only one article of clothing wrapped around her body. Apparently, she’d found my white scarf. I watched her, entranced in her spell of beauty. The melting softness of her smooth skin drew me further in as I revered her seductive and delicate features.

Under her broad-rimmed straw sun hat, she joggled her thick, dark hair that hung in graceful curves over her slender shoulders. As she watched me appraising her, the tender moistness of her ruby red lips curled into the most adorable smile I have ever seen in my life. My heart melted at the sight, and I knew in that moment, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I loved her.

After I caught my breath, I said, “Honeydew, everyone’s been wondering where you’ve run off to. Some of them were starting to worry.”

“Yet you were the only one who came to find me,” she replied suggestively with a flirtatious squint in her eyes.

I didn’t know what to say to that. What she didn’t know was that I had desperately needed to find her. One dance, one glorious spark that could light a flame, doesn’t disappear without the slightest measure of a broken heart. She had no idea how happy I was to have found her.

“The truth is,” she continued, her voice whimsical and free, “I hated that party, those people, that crowd. It was stifling, suffocating. I had to get out of there or I was going to faint. Or vomit. Whichever came first.”

“I thought they were your friends,” I said.

“My father’s,” she shot poignantly. “Not mine. I have no interest in conceited men and women that flash their wealth and play a role of expectation in society. I’ve never enjoyed being a part of that crowd. Never for a second have I even desired to be in the presence of those who do. Me, I like to live outside the box, to do the unexpected, to shed at my will the things that bind me… so here I am. You found me.”

Everything that she had said was what I had always thought in my heart. Everything she did was what I had wanted to do, too. For years. So why didn’t I? Why haven’t I? In that moment, I suddenly admired her most for her courage. So I thought I’d start right now on my own.

“Honeydew,” I began, “I think… that I am head over heals in love with you.”

Waiting For His Return

Artist Julian Paul; pinterest.com

Romantic Flash Fiction:

Morning brought with it a chilly, restless spring breeze that swelled over the lifeless stalks of left-over winter. And with the wind, a vibrant spirit of love ruffled in – subtle, whimsical, yet altogether alluring in beauty – lifting the tall blades of grass to attention, leaving the dandelions to shudder with fear that something entrancing and mysterious was afoot. Meanwhile, nature danced to the chorus of the farm at sunrise, birds in violent chirping, cowbells jangling in the stables, a sheep or two bleating on the grassy hills over the horizon, and a rooster to wake the world.

Azalea breathed in the fresh air with a strong inhale as she stepped out the front door of the house, letting the screen door bang shut behind her. With a smile firmly in place, she traipsed down the wooden steps of the deck onto the lawn that led out to the stables. He was coming soon! It had been too long.

Every day he had been away, she had counted the days, the hours, the minutes – if she’d been able to keep up with thinking about him every minute of every day. But oh, how she had tried! Afternoons on horseback, evenings by the fire, nights lying in bed, mornings also … lying in bed – in every place, she had thought of him. His strong callous hands, imagining them comforting her. His laughter, imagining it infiltrating and enveloping her with its warmth. His brawny hard-working arms, imagining them around her.

And now, finally he was here!

Charging into the stable, she kicked off her shoes and hopped onto the hay, waiting to surprise him. Pulling down her blouse around her shoulders revealed more skin and she wanted desperately to attract his attention on the day he returned. Finally she heard his footsteps in the stable. Then she saw him. He stopped, utterly stunned at the sight of her. His wide grin and sparkling eyes behind the muscular exterior set her off.

“Hey stranger,” she called to her boyfriend. “Miss me?”

The Passions that Drive Us

Artist Ed Tadiello; photo: pinterest

Artist Ed Tadiello; photo: pinterest

Romantic Flash Fiction:

The lake at dawn breathed in meditation, inhaling and exhaling with the gentle breeze of a new day. As a brilliant sun rose in the eastern sky, painting the horizon pastels of magenta, cadmium, and red amber, songs of morning birds welcomed the day. The ripe scent of pine trees permeated the crisp air while tiny waves rippled along the glassy surface that reflected the colorful sky like a mosaic. Far across the lake, the outline of the cluster of forest trees yielded from evening to dawn with the sun burning off the fog that had shrouded them earlier.

I was holding the warm hand of Lilac Honey, my darling lover, as we followed the path along the edge of the lake. Having spent the past three days at my cabin deep in the heart of a secluded mountain forest, I had grown to love her. Before that, I had only lusted after her, and I’ll admit that my original intentions for taking her to the cabin had ulterior motives. She had obviously known, too, but the passions that drove us had overtaken us both, and on the first night, we tore each other’s clothes off and made love for hours on the wooden porch that overlooked the lake, while a steady stream of mountain rain made a fountain-like wall from the edge of the porch roof to the ground.

The next day was supposed to be a thrilling series of romantic activities, soaking up the beautiful nature around us and enjoying each other’s company, but instead we fought like cats, clawing at each other, never satisfied with our answers to each other’s questions and finding stubbornness the ruling factor that eventually yielded to anger and resentment.

By evening, we had made up and were once again on kissing terms, devouring and succumbing to passions that drove us wilder and more savage in intensity. We tore our clothes off like they were on fire and there in the kitchen, we once again made love as we rose together to a crescendo of wild desire.

With naked bodies lying on mink on the living room floor, we held each other and felt warmth course through each other’s bodies like shared electric currents. We kissed for some time, stopped to talk, then kissed again.

This morning as we walked around the lake, I glanced at Lilac Honey and my heart felt as though it was soaring higher than the highest clouds in the sunrise-glistening sky. In the distance, a lark whooped and a woodpecker tapped on a tree. As we held hands, she leaned into me.

I sighed heavily, knowing that our time together was short. We would be heading back that evening, back to the world we both knew would send us in opposite directions.

“I know what you’re thinking,” she said, squeezing my hand. Then she stopped and turned to me, her eyes misty and vulnerable. “I don’t want this to end either.”

My fingers brushed across her cheek. “Then why does it have to?”

“You know why,” she replied, shaking her head, wanting to make it work, to find a way that we could be together forever. “There is a reality that neither of us can escape from.”

“Lilac Honey,” I said, as if about to make a formal declaration, “I swear to you this will never end. My love for you is the escape we seek. My love for you is what will sustain us even when doubts tear us apart or distance seems too unbearable to bridge. I’ll never stop loving you. Like the light of this dawn, it can only grow into a noonday sun. And it will. And so will my love. Isn’t that enough?”

She nestled into me, close and intimate, and I felt her warmth and inhaled her sweet scent. “You’ve captured my heart,” she said. “No matter where we are, I will never be able to leave you. We must never give up hope that one day… We will find each other again.”

“We will,” I said, planting my lips on hers, letting them open like a rose bud in spring as they invited me in, both of us knowing that it was not to be our last.