The Things Time Can’t Touch

Artist Daniel Gerhartz: pinterest.com

Romantic Flash Fiction:

Morning sunlight streamed into the courtyard as the swallows who made a home here chirped their contented salute to the day. Nightingales were the loudest, their songs echoing like a symphony off the stucco walls of the elaborate Spanish home. A cool breeze tickled the air and the roses that grew in the courtyard gardens flourished in the spring dew. White columns lined the south porch near a stone staircase that led to the interior of the mansion.

You were leaning against one of the columns when I first saw you, where my breath was stolen from me for a moment, lost in the realization that I had been in the presence of heavenly beauty. I smiled at how the sunlight made your blonde hair glow like a golden tiara and how its delicate rays settled over your slim, creamy shoulders and melted into the artistry of your radiance. You were holding a rose, leaning against the column, your eyes melancholy, and my heart went out to you. Someone must have hurt you, and in that moment I wanted to slide into you and hold you and be the shoulder you could cry on.

Your eyes were distant, and at first, you didn’t even see me there watching you. You were twiddling with the golden pendant on your necklace, rubbing it languidly in your fingers, and I wondered if he gave that to you, and what special significance it held in your life. I wanted to know this and so much more about you. I wanted to step into your life like bathing in warm natural springs and making myself the heat that enveloped your skin, your heart, your tender soul. I wondered if you would even let me. I wondered why you were holding the rose, and if love was on your mind like it was on mine. Would you let me in if I revealed to you the light of my love, the sound of the birds singing in my heart?

Your eyes glanced up as if on cue to my thoughts that clung to your heart and refused to let go. You gasped and lowered your hand that held the rose.

“Who are you?” you asked.

“Coriander,” I said your name, coming closer. I sensed your discomfort but wanted to set your heart at ease. “We’ve met before. Years ago. Outside a quiet pub in the center of town, we shared a glass of wine and a kiss that I’ll remember to the day I die.”

Your eyes suddenly filled with recognition and your chest lifted as you lightly gasped. “Is it you? All those years ago. We were young, lonely travelers crossing paths in our journey to nowhere.”

“To somewhere,” I grinned, my heart filled with joy that you remembered.

“Barely old enough to drink.”

“But old enough to love,” I said, sliding into your personal space. You didn’t move, your face glowing in the sunlight.

“Yes,” you whispered, your eyes sparkling.

I took the rose from your hand and brought it to my nose, inhaling its sweet fragrance, closing my eyes and wondering if I was dreaming or really awake. I handed the rose back to you.

“What are you doing here?” you asked breathlessly.

“To find that woman I fell in love with back then,” I replied.

Your eyes returned to the melancholy woman I saw when I had first come in. “Time changes things,” you said.

“There are some things time can’t touch,” I responded, my fingers lightly brushing loose strands of hair away from your face. “Come out with me tonight. Let me show you.”

Spring is Among Us

Artist Bruce Emmett; pinterest.com

Romantic 4-Line Flash Fiction:

As a month of showers brought forth glistening pansies and tulips, so their love, which had found its way through a season of heartache, finally blossomed with every flower in the field that stretched for miles.

Spring was here and had made its home among them.

With the sun enfolding her with warmth, Laleh reclined in his embrace, his breath lightly fanning her wanting lips.

“This is the season, Laleh,” he whispered close, “when all things change, when despair succumbs to our destiny, and when our love forges a new path to the promise of a brighter day.”

What True Love Really Means

Artist Morgan Kane; pinterest.com

Romantic short story:

Daylight splashed like an invisible steam bath across the desert forest as they hiked out of the clearing, the final stretch to the road on the other side, or so they hoped. Desert quail chirped on a nearby tree and somewhere overhead the squawk of a hawk echoed around the valley that was cordoned off by a sharply rising rocky mountain ridge to the north. The dry heat of the day was enough to melt wax to a puddle in zero-to-sixty.

Having already trudged through the endless valley for well over an hour, they were both exhausted and irritable. Dirk glanced up at the cloudless blue sky and spied two hawks circling overhead. “They’ve been following us for at least half an hour,” he grumbled. “We stay out here any longer, we’ll probably be their next meal.”

Cicely had other things on her mind – dreams of love and romance and being whisked away to a tropical island and made love to for hours on a sandy beach. It came from the paperback she’d been reading in the car on their long drive. She leaned on the dry branches of a nearby tree, basking in the shade for just a while longer. It felt good to rest her feet. Their car had broken down on the side of a long stretch of highway in the middle of nowhere several miles back. Reluctantly, she had followed Dirk into the desert to search for another route to the other side where there was a rest stop and they could find help. But their ten-minute hike to the so-called other side was turning into a nightmare – ever longer, ever hotter.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Dirk barked at her. Her boyfriend going on three years always barked at her. It wasn’t just today, or yesterday in the car, or last week before they left. It was always. “There’ll be time to rest when we get to the rest stop. That’s why they call it that. Now, I told you to get moving. I meant it.”

“Can’t I just dream here a little while longer?” asked Cicely in a high singsong voice, her mind starting feel the effects of the heat. She wondered how long she’d be able to go on.

Dirk snickered sarcastically. “Oh, sure, dream on, Cicely. You’re always so good at that. Stuck in your own little dream world. Why don’t you ever think of anything practical? Like surviving in desert heat? Now, let’s go or I’m gonna leave your ass here.” There were other words he used. Jarring words. Words that cut her down and made her feel very small.

He always spoke to her that way. At first, she didn’t mind so much. At least he stayed with her. Thrown in and out of foster homes since the age of fourteen, Cicely was used to harsh talk and angry, hurtful words from men. Some men hit her. That’s usually when she would leave, and keep running. But with Dirk, at least he never hit her. It was just what he said to her that always got under her skin. She never thought of herself as all that bad. But when you hear it so many times, you’re tempted to believe it.

But today was the last straw. Deep down, she knew there was a better life than verbal abuse. In fact, she had never even realized that’s what it was. Until today. Until right now.

Cicely spun around and faced him, burning fire in her tear-stained eyes. “Go, Dirk! Just… go! Leave me here!”

Dirk was taken aback by her full-frontal counter-attack, speechless at her fearless bravura that she had never shown until now. When he regained his composure, that angry vein pulsed in his neck. “Why, you little…”

“What are you gonna do, Dirk?” she snapped, standing up to him, walking directly at him, her shoulders back, her head held high. Now she had him backing up. “We’re in the middle of nowhere. The desert heat could kill us before we reach whatever ghost of a destination you have in mind. Why… don’t… you just… leave?” she seethed. “Now!” She heard her voice echo across the valley.

Her heart was racing a mile a minute. She had touched a nerve and she knew it. He was staring at her with swirling emotions, hardboiled anger mixed with confusion. Finally he seemed to have made a decision, calming down and stepping away. “Fine,” he said, turning his back on her. Then as he walked away, he spoke over his shoulder. “You always come running back to me, anyway. If you ever make it out of this hell-hole, you’ll be back!”

“Don’t count on it,” she shot back.

When he was gone, she turned and scampered in the opposite direction, back to the street where they had come from. But after a half an hour of desert heat, she was starting to feel queasy. Using all of the inner resolve she had, she pushed on. She had to make it. Someone would have to drive past – eventually. After an hour, or however long it took, doubt and uncertainty began to pound her mind with Dirk’s voice. She kept hearing him in her mind berating her, tearing her down, telling her she was worthless. It was getting harder and harder to walk. Finally, she stumbled and fell to the desert sand.

But just as she was about to lose consciousness, she heard a sound in the distance. Of course, she couldn’t be sure if it was real or imagined, but it grew clearer and clearer as it approached. The sound of a vehicle. A motor! She glanced up through squinted eyes and thought she saw a dune buggy riding in her direction. Someone was coming for her! And then she passed out, knowing nothing after that.

Little did Cicely know in that moment that the man on that dune buggy would find her, take her to shelter, stay with her for days to help her recover, and in the process, fall in love with her. He would speak kindly to her, words she had never heard in her whole life. That she was worth more than priceless jewelry, that she had a future beyond her ragged past, that she was special. More than special to him. He would love her and find a home for them both where love was the ruling factor. And she would become a radiant bride, finally coming home, finally knowing what true love really meant.

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?”

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.