#52weeks52stories “Dream a Little Dream”

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#52weeks52stories: Week 26

Word Prompt: dream

Word count – 2007 words; Reading time – 7 mins


She was here.

His day went from good to great.

Everything else fell away from his viewpoint as he focused on her every movement.

After clearing the east entrance to the park, she loosened the harness on the huge malamute and looped the leash around her wrist.

Mark Evans had seen his mystery woman at the park enough to know the massive dog who could be mistaken for a small furry horse, was named Midas.

Though his size was intimidating, Mark had never seen the dog misbehave and was sure his mystery woman had no need for the leash.

Mark followed her with his eyes as she and Midas did a slow jog around the park’s perimeter.

She wore no knit cap or jacket today because of the warmer temps of late spring. Her dark brown curls pulled back into a messy ponytail, bounced as she ran.

She was beautiful.

His Dream-girl.

Only she wasn’t a girl.

Mark guessed her age was closer to forty than thirty, and her thick thighs could be proof her park laps with Midas were the most exercise she saw on a regular basis.

But it wasn’t a criticism.

He admired every shapely inch of her.

Mark had never spotted his Dream-girl with anyone else and he wondered if there was someone special in her life. Or a child.

Her unhurried park visits coincided with his own—in late morning—and were more than enough time for her to give her beloved pet some exercise while a spouse was at work or children in school.

Yet, somehow Mark didn’t think so. While the love and attention Dream-girl lavished on Midas was genuine and showed no signs of ennui in her life, Mark picked up on signs of loneliness. The restless way she rested her hands on her ample hips while waiting for Midas to retrieve his toy. Or the extended hugs she bestowed on him for behaving.

Or perhaps Mark was amplifying his own feelings onto her.

After the third lap, Dream-girl and Midas went to their favorite spot on the grassy knoll.

Dream-girl slipped a bright green tennis ball from her pocket and lobbed it across the park. It didn’t matter how far she threw it, Midas always returned it, moving with a speed that belied his large frame. After dropping the ball at her feet, Midas would sit and wait for his reward, mysteriously pulled from a different pocket.

Mark wanted to know her name, what she did for a living, and what she did when she left the park. He needed to know everything about her.

He also wanted to know if she’d ever noticed him.

His park visits began several months ago as the brisk breezes of autumn gave way to the freezing cold of winter.

Mark didn’t mind the cold. It cleared his head and allowed him time to think.

It also made him feel alive.

Like a man.

His future was at first dark and bleak. And while he still had no guarantees, Mark had hope, something that had been missing from his life for too long.

Dream-girl and Midas wrestled when the dog realized she had put the ball behind her back.

Mark could watch her for hours. She got so much joy from playing with her dog.

Not like Bonnie.

Shep would be lucky if she remembered to let him out into the backyard.

But when Bonnie left him, she’d insisted on taking Shep since she picked him out at the rescue shelter. Mark found out from a mutual friend Bonnie sold Shep to a dog breeder less than a week later.

Just something else to add to the list of things he’d lost.

Laughter drew his attention back to Dream-girl. Her laughter was deep. Throaty. Sexy. She could tell him everything would be okay and he’d believe her, soothed by her sultry tones. Minute tinglings of desire buzzed through Mark and he smiled.

Midas scampered to retrieve the ball again and kicked it with his paw, causing it to roll in Mark’s direction.

After a few hesitant steps, the dog stopped and sat. He could not approach strangers.

Dream-girl gave him a quick pat on the head as she jogged past him to grab the ball.

“Good boy, Midas!”

After grabbing the ball, she stood and gave Mark a warm smile that lit up her face.


He returned her smile.

“Hello. You have a beautiful dog.”

Her smile broke into a wide grin.

“Thank you. I think so too, but I may be partial. I’ve had the big moose since I could lift him with one hand.”

They shared a laugh as she backed away. “Treats will only hold him so long. I’ve got to get Midas home for his lunch… before he eats a park bench.”

Dream-girl turned back to Midas and Mark was elated and sad at the same time.

She spoke to him! She took the time to speak to HIM!

And now she was walking away.

He took a deep breath trying to steady himself when she turned to him again.

“Where are my manners? I’m sorry. I’m June. I’ve noticed you here before.”

Mark couldn’t keep the grin from his face. “I’m Mark. Nice to meet you, June.”

“You too. Well, I’ll see you around. Enjoy the rest of your day.”

She threw the tennis ball toward the east entrance and Midas ran, grabbed it and met her before she’d covered half the distance.

Mark watched dog and owner leave the park, still mesmerized by the encounter.

He’d been right about her age. The soft wisps of gray hair forming at her temples and the adorable laugh lines in the corners of her eyes proved she was close to his own age. Her caramel-colored skin was flawless and his fingers itched to touch her face.

And that voice. So deep, rich, and smooth Mark was sure someone had dipped him in hot chocolate.

He wished he’d had more time to talk with her.

“Okay, Mr. Evans. I think you’ve had enough sun today.”

But it wasn’t meant to be.

Miriam, his day nurse, slipped her book into her bag as she walked over to his wheelchair. She returned his seat to its full upright position before releasing the chair breaks and heading for the west entrance.

“Such a beautiful today, isn’t it, Mr. Evans? Not too breezy, not too hot. A perfect day to get some fresh air… and make new friends.”

Mark was glad she was behind him and couldn’t see his face. The wily grandmother was invading his thoughts.

“I couldn’t agree more, Miriam. And why do you insist on calling me Mr. Evans?”

“Because it annoys you and I can’t have you getting too complacent, now can I?”

They both chuckled as Miriam pushed him across the street and continued on to his three-bedroom home a half block away.

June. As warm and inviting as the month she shared a name with.

Her dark brown eyes sparkled like the stars on a clear June night when she looked at Mark.

At his face.

In his eyes.

Not at the chair which served as his prison for most of his waking hours.

Not at the legs held together at the knees by a strap and hidden by jeans now two sizes too big.

June may not have seen Mark Evans, the man, but she saw him as a whole person… and there was no pity in her eyes.

Mark was lost in thought as Miriam pushed him up the driveway and stopped to open the garage door.

He wished June could see him as he was before the accident. Mark would never be mistaken for a male model but he had worn the lost forty-five pounds well.

The accident had also cost him in other ways.

For a short time, he’d lost his memory, but even as it returned, his independence and personal freedom did not.

Paralysis had also cost him his marriage though Mark lost no sleep on that loss. He knew his marriage to Bonnie was a mistake, still, he tried to make it work. But her multiple affairs with younger men and her endless excuses for not starting a family killed any interest Mark had left and just a few short weeks before the accident, he’d decided to end the year a single man.

Though devastating and life-changing, the job-related accident gifted him with the fastest… and cheapest divorce possible.

Saying she didn’t sign on to be a nursemaid and that she wasn’t emotionally strong enough to handle Mark’s injury, Bonnie packed, filed for divorce, and fled even before Mark had a full prognosis.

Had she not been so quick to leave, Bonnie would have found out Mark’s years of paying long-term disability insurance premiums resulted in very lucrative benefits for him. And accepting full responsibility for the faulty crane which dropped the steel beam on Mark, Sunburst Construction avoided a lawsuit… and bad press by paying him his full claim. All eight figures.

Now Bonnie was shacked up across town with some muscle-bound idiot eleven years her junior who supported her with a part-time job as a bartender and selling illegal steroids.

Good riddance.

Mark Evans didn’t care about the money though. Except for paying for his round-the-clock care, his bank account went untouched.

What he was glad Bonnie didn’t know was he wasn’t a true paraplegic.

Initial tests first showed the tissue around his spine much too inflamed for clear test readings.

Mark had no feeling or movement below the waist and only minimal movement of his arms. Doctors were convinced MRIs and CT scans would soon show a severed spine.

It never happened.

It baffled doctors how an eight-hundred-pound beam could fall on a man and he not only survive it but also have no broken bones.

Mark Evans was living proof it could happen.

He was also proof swelling in spinal tissue could subside but it didn’t mean sensation in his legs and the ability to walk would follow.

His doctors were cautious in their encouragement but assured Mark the day might come when he could walk again.

Mark’s frustration with his situation soon became depression, and it was Miriam who insisted on taking him out for daily walks, forcing him to concentrate on something other than himself.

And that’s when he saw her… his Dream-girl.

Temperatures were dropping below freezing, but Miriam still insisted on his daily outing. She didn’t stop to read her book on those frigid days but she would push Mark around the paved concourse twice.

The park would be abandoned except for Dream-girl and her dog.

He marveled at her steadfastness and dedication to her pet. He decided any woman so loyal and committed to a pet would also stand by her man.

She occupied his thoughts as he created scenarios on what her life was like.

She occupied his dreams as he dreamed about what life would be like with her.

Miriam said something about lunch and Mark agreed, not sure what he was agreeing to. She pushed him up the ramp to the back patio doors and set the breaks while she opened the doors.

Now his Dream-girl had a name.


And she knew his name.

Mark would give anything to run and play in the park with June and Midas.

It could happen.

It was just four days ago Mark spilled his morning coffee in his lap… and he felt it. Not just the sensation of the weight of the heavy, damp fabric, but also the warmth of the coffee. This morning he’d wiggled the toes on one foot. He’d tell Miriam before Chuck arrived and she left for the day. Mark knew she’d give him hell for not telling her sooner, but she would also be thrilled for him.

It was happening. He would walk again one day. He knew it.

Mark also knew his infatuation with June may never get past greetings in the park and comments about Midas.

But he had hope.

And he had his dreams.


©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

Dabbling in Drabbles


“Deja vu” – Drabble #4

His tight squeeze elicited a moan from Vonna as the music faded.

“Wanna get out of here?”

She responded with a kiss before going to update her cousins of her plans.

Smiling as she approached their table, the sight three tables away stole her smile.

Her dance partner grabbed his coat while arguing with a crying woman.

Vonna froze. Who was she?

It didn’t matter.

The look on his face—anger… evil and violent—caused a mixture of déjà vu and premonition to wash over her.

Turning, Vonna bid her cousins goodnight and hurried from the nightclub. Alone.


©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

Lyrical Fiction Friday | “His Carla”

LFF banner

This week’s lyric prompt is:

“…6:00 in the morning yawning and laying down next to you…”

For the rules, click on the lyric above. 

This is the last Lyrical Fiction Friday challenge. Many thanks to Marquessa Matthews for challenging writers to dig deep for the story. I missed a week or two and still have one continuation to complete so there will be more LFF posts from me coming soon.


I did a thing again with this week’s writing. Thank you, Mr. Migraine. At least you let me write something.

Instead of posting the same short story for Lyrical Fiction Friday and #52weeks52stories, I took the same characters… and went in two different directions. It’s so much fun being me! Enjoy!


Pat Sinclair made the last few entries in his case file notes. He emailed a copy to his sergeant and to himself, and finally to the queue of the records department.

With his latest case closed and files done, fatigue to bore down on the fifty-two-year-old detective. He eased his bulky frame from his chair and stretched. The aches and pains of age joined in with the past job-related injuries and scarring to once again bring thoughts of retirement to mind.

Why do I keep doing this shitty job? I’ve put in my time. Served my community. Tried to be a good cop and make things better. Twenty-seven years is long enough. Let the new guys have it.

Sinclair thought of the kids coming into the department… with four-year college degrees and not a single clue in their designer-hairstyle covered heads.

Most wouldn’t make it a decade and almost none would get as far as he had. The pay would drive most away. Gen Xers and millennials felt they deserved condos, sports cars, and fancy vacations—things a cop’s salary could never cover. Especially if they had a family.


The thought made him smile as he bagged the remains of an hours-old sandwich, dropped it in the trashcan and headed for the elevator.

He knew he was a blessed man.

Five great kids with no major problems, and his youngest would graduate from college in five months. He was a good, supportive dad, but he also knew he couldn’t take the credit for such an amazing family.

That honor went to Carla Sinclair, his wife of thirty years.

Pat grabbed his coat, needing to get home to the love of his life.

He’d witnessed many marriages implode over the years. Being married to a cop wasn’t a walk in the park. Resentment could grow in even the most supportive spouses and partners after years of the job coming first.

But not his Carla.

Despite the missed dinners, abrupt exits from school events, and canceled vacations, she stood by his side, never complaining.

The irony was the Sinclair arguments were almost always started by him because of his guilt for working so much. But his Carla was still the voice of reason.

“When we got together, I knew I’d have to share you, although back then, it was with the military. But I knew you were that guy… the guy who lives to serve and protect… the hero. And while others may not see you as a hero, you’re my hero and you always will be.”

His steps quickened when he exited the elevator in the lower level parking garage. Raising his hand, Pat clicked his remote starter as he walked down the ramp. He heard his GMC Terrain roar to life and was grateful to find the air blasting from the heater already warming when he climbed inside.

Chalk up another one in the win-column for the all-knowing Carla Sinclair.

The remote starter was her Father’s Day gift to him, so he wouldn’t have to sit in a cold vehicle until it warmed up.

She was always thinking of him.

He’d learned years ago he couldn’t keep up with her, much less, outdo her, but Pat Sinclair was no quitter.

While his coworkers funneled their overtime dollars to weekend camping trips and tech-inspired man-caves, Pat left his overtime pay… in addition to his regular pay, in the business-savvy hands of his Carla. Combined with her pay as a billings manager for a busy vision-care center, she paid the mortgage, household expenses, notes and maintenance on two cars, clothed and fed five kids, and made him look like a million dollars. When they sat down together each month, Pat beamed with pride at all she’d done, and still manage to squirrel a few dollars away into their savings.

Which was why Pat never turned over all his pay. He had his own small savings account for one reason only… his Carla. Whenever he managed to get two or three days off together, Pat would take her to dinner at an upscale restaurant or to a show. Whatever she wanted. Planning was difficult in the early days when the kids were small but one of their mothers or his aunt Joyce would come to his rescue.

Experience taught him in order to keep his job from cutting into his time off, Pat needed to leave town for special time with his Carla… so he did. Whether it was live theater in the city or making love all weekend at a tiny bed and breakfast two towns away, it didn’t matter to him as long as they were together.

Turning off the thoroughfare, Pat entered Crestwood, the family neighborhood he and Carla had lived in for all of their married life.

Many of their friends from the early years fled the congestion of the city for ranch-style homes in the suburbs, but Pat and Carla loved the big, rambling colonials lining Graves Avenue and stayed put.

He pulled into the driveway of house number two-forty… home.

In an instant, too many cases, not enough manpower, and the many stresses of his job faded from Pat’s mind.

He looked up at the weather-beaten roof. He was thankful it didn’t leak but tiles slipped out of place with each storm. The black shutters adorning each window were now grayer in color thanks to the heat of summer and winter’s freezing temps. Pat cringed as he noticed even in the dawn’s muted light, he could see paint curling around the windows. The house had last been painted when Trevor entered second grade, and in a few short months, he would be a college graduate.

Making a mental note to sit down with his wife and make a list of needed home improvements, Pat exited his SUV, house-key in hand. He had thoughts of retirement daily and he knew Carla was ready to explore a home-based business. With no more tuition payments to make, they could take care of the home repairs and settle into a more relaxed way-of-life.

Letting himself in, Pat grinned at a familiar sight… a note from his wife.

Over the years, Pat’s erratic schedule and caseload might see him home long enough only to shower and change clothes. He could miss seeing Carla or their kids depending on the time of say.

So, Carla left him notes.

Some were obvious—on the hall closet door, the stove, or the bathroom mirror.

Others were not—in his underwear drawer, their medicine cabinet, or the jacket pocket of a suit coat.

Carla’s notes would update Pat on mishaps and ER visits for the kids, upcoming school events, or just that she loved him.

Pat Sinclair loved her notes and saved everyone. His favorite was when after a stressful evening of nursing four kids with the flu while pregnant with a fifth, Carla’s note left on the hall closet door informed him she was running away to join the circus.

“I vowed to love you for better or for worse, but I’m drawing the line at projectile vomiting.”

He laughed at the memory while grabbing the latest note from the closet door.

“There’s stroganoff on the warmer or a turkey and Swiss in the fridge. Also, cold beer or lemonade. And because I’m an awesome wife… and somewhat fond of you, there’s a German Chocolate cake on the counter.”

The corners of his lips quirked into a light smile and he raised his eyes heavenward, thankful for having this amazing woman as his wife. His Carla.

His stomach considered the food she’d left for him, but his heart propelled him toward the stairs, which he took two at a time while turning off his cell phone.

Entering their bedroom, Pat’s heart swelled when his eyes rested on his sleeping wife. She lay on his side of the bed, clutching his pillow.

Tearing at his clothes, he rushed into the bathroom for a five-minute shower to remove the stench of the last twenty-four hours.

After toweling off, Pat crawled into bed behind his wife, pulling her back against him.

Stirring, Carla nestled against him, looking over her shoulder.

“Excuse me, sir, but have we met?”

He kissed her temple.

“Yes, ma’am. Just over thirty years ago at a summer carnival. You sold me popcorn.”

She smirked. “Thirty years ago? You expect me to remember that?”

Pat pulled her closer and rested his head on the pillow. “You don’t have to. I remember everything.”

Carla turned in his arms, laying her head on his chest. After a few minutes, she glanced up. “Is everything okay.”

He kissed her forehead. “It’s 6:00 in the morning, I’m yawning and laying down next to you. Everything’s fine in my world.”

They were both asleep in minutes, Pat Sinclair holding onto the woman who made it all make sense. His Carla.

Dabbling in Drabbles


Just for Now – Drabble #3

With a heavy heart, Des drove home from work, unhurried.

He wouldn’t be there tonight… or ever again.

He’d stroked her cheek and said, “I’ll always love you,” followed by, “but, I’m not happy.”

He wasn’t the first to say the words, just the latest.

And the one she’d hoped would stay.

Why did they always leave?

She was the temporary girlfriend never good enough for long-term.

Parking her car, she rushed up the walkway ignoring the pitying looks of her neighbors.

Letting herself in, she closed the door and sagged against it.

They already knew.

She was alone again.

broken heart


Image from Pixabay
©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

It’s time for a Drabble!


Back with another Drabble!

I believe I’m getting the hang of the rhythm.

The difficult part–word usage–is… coming.

Much like any story, writers want readers to be able to empathize with the protagonist (good or bad), and visualize and feel the scene.

Tall order for a hundred words but it is fun!

How did I do?


C H A N G E S – Drabble #2

Kerri Kennedy sat alone on the swing watching her four former friends play across the schoolyard.

They treated Kerri as though she’d changed.

The accident last winter took her father and left Kerri with mangled legs.

She couldn’t stand up straight and walked with a limp, but she was still the girl who liked pineapple on her pizza.

She wasn’t the one who changed.

A soccer ball bounced against Kerri’s foot. She kicked it back to the girl running toward her.

“Thanks. Wanna play with us?”

“I can’t. My leg.”

“Sure, you can.”

Surprised, Kerri smiled at her new friend.


©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

Lyrical Fiction Friday | “His Distraction”

So sorry I’m late with this, but I have the flu. And a migraine. And I had to go out for more COFFEE. And my socks don’t match. And a Unicorn ate my first draft. 😀

LFF banner

This week’s lyric prompt is:

“…I met this girl…she ruined my philosophy…my heart skips a beat when she comes around “

For the rules, click on the lyric above. 

My mind was all over the place with this prompt. Of course, that could have been due to ridiculous amounts of cold medicine. But where I finally landed surprised even me.

Blog followers will recognize Jonathan Pratt’s distraction–Lenore ‘Lennie’ Porter from Free, a Novella, a free read on this blog, and the extended versions in ebook and print. Can you say Story tie-in?


As usual, Claire Pratt’s cocktail party was the place to be.

Jonathan Pratt marveled at his sister-in-law’s handiwork as he strolled through the seven-bedroom showplace. Only Claire could take leaves, tree branches, and pumpkins and put an elegant spin on autumn decorations.

He recognized a few of the faces from past parties, and there were several from the old neighborhood. While they were affluent, like him, Vernon and Claire would never forget their roots and where they came from. They were all part of a small group which paid into a fund so the daycare centers and the Boys’ and Girls’ Club in the old neighborhood didn’t have to worry over the paltry few dollars from the national charities.

Leaving the sunken living room, Jon headed for the family room where he knew Vernon had set up two kegs of beer… much to Claire’s dismay.

He had one foot in the doorway of the family room when he saw them. Hannah and Liz. Jon did an about-face so fast, he made himself dizzy. There was nothing wrong with forty-two-year-old Asian-American Hannah Nakuru, who ran her own high-end catering business or forty-year-old African-American Liz Brent, a web designer from Vernon’s firm. But both women admitted to being ready to try marriage again after five failed marriages between them… and the forty-nine-year-old confirmed bachelor had no interest in being a candidate.

He headed toward the dining room and Claire’s elaborate wine bar instead.

A dozen people milled around the room chatting in hushed tones. Jon found his favorite Moscato and reached for a glass.

As he poured, he glanced around the room at the well-heeled group… and froze.

She was across the room next to the window talking with two men.

Her emerald green cocktail dress complimented her caramel skin tone and shapely figure. Her thick, chestnut brown hair was pulled back into a loose, but neat French braid held in place by an ornate hair clamp.

“Whoa, dude!”

Jon looked to the young man next to him who pointed at Jon’s wine glass.

He stopped the pour just before the pale pink vino flowed over the edge of the wine glass… and saved himself a ton of misery. Claire would not have been happy if he ruined her snow-white table covering.

“Hey, thanks, man. Guess I got a little… distracted.”

Staring at a woman in a form-fitting red dress near him, the man tilted his head with a knowing smile. “Yeah, I get distracted too,” and he walked over to introduce himself to the woman in red.

Embarrassed, Jonathan gulped the wine down to a reasonable level. Then, trying to look nonchalant, he strolled to the other side of the table before fixing his gaze on the woman in green.

She was stunning and his jealousy flared as he wondered if she was with either of the men.

He guessed she was near his age, not because she looked older, but her posture and mannerisms spoke of a mature, confident woman comfortable in her own skin.

Averting his eyes, Jon gulped his wine again while his mind raced.

Stop acting like you’ve never seen a woman before! Walk away!

His feet, however, didn’t care for that idea and stayed firmly planted.

Still in a mental battle with himself to leave the room, his brain lost the battle when his eyes were drawn back to his distraction.

She laughed at something one of the men had said and her laughter traveled across the room, wrapping Jon in a tight embrace.

His chest and slacks tightened.

Her laughter was deep and throaty. Warm and soothing. Playful and seductive.

He never wanted it to end.

“Hey, bro? You okay? How much wine have you had?”

Startled, Jon whipped his head around to a grinning Vernon Pratt.

He ducked his head, rubbing the back of his neck.

“No, I’m good. This is my first glass. Think the time zone change is messing with me.”

Vernon gave his shoulder a tight squeeze.

“Okay, man. But don’t overdo it.”

As Vernon looked over the wine selection, Jon figured it was now or never.

“Vern, who’s that?”

He responded while reading a wine label.

“Room full of people, Jonny… could you be more specific?”

“The woman over there… in the green dress.”

Vernon looked up and gazed around the room until he found the ‘green dress.’ He smiled.

“Oh. That’s Lennie.”

Jon frowned. “Lennie?”

“Yes, Lennie. Or rather Lenore Porter. Bobby’s cousin.” Bobby was Robert Pearson, also from the Pratt’s old neighborhood and Vernon’s best friend. Bobby and his wife, Gayle, owned El Encanto, an upscale eatery.

Jonathan’s frown deepened to confusion.

“Wait. We’ve known Bobby since grade school. I thought all his family lived here in Pittsburgh?”

Vernon chuckled. “They did for the most part. Bobby and Lennie are second cousins on his mom’s side. They met once or twice as kids but didn’t get to know each other until Bobby took his mom to Lennie’s mom’s funeral a couple of years ago.”

“She lives here now? And how do you know so much about her?”

“No, she does not live here… just here for the holidays, and, she’s been here several times in the last few months. She has degrees in food sciences and nutrition and ran her own catering business in Minnesota for years. Now she’s a consultant, working with restaurant chefs to incorporate more health-conscious items into restaurant menus. Thanks to her, Bobby and Gayle’s vegan/vegetarian menu is outselling the rest of the regular menu.”

“Sounds like a super smart lady.”

“Good business mind too. El Encanto has been a money-maker from the beginning, but Lennie helped them up their game—streamlining job tasks and increasing staff productivity, raising employee morale, strengthening business relationships with city government—Gayle keeps begging her to move here.”

A faint smile played at the corners of Jon’s mouth. Streamlined job tasks and increased productivity—intelligent and shrewd. Raised employee morale—she knew how to handle people. Works well with city government—she can navigate the political landscape. Jon was impressed

“Vern, introduce me.”


His mouth gaped open. “What do you mean no? Why not?”

“Did you miss the part about her being Bobby’s cousin?”

“No, but – ”

“He’s like a brother to me too, man. I can’t risk it.”

Jon clicked his tongue. “Excuse me. Exactly what can’t you risk?”

“C’mon, big brother, calm down. I wasn’t trying to upset you. But, even you have to admit… your track record with women…” Vernon’s words trailed off, and he leaned in close to Jonathan, speaking in a near whisper, “Your relationships always have an expiration date.”

His anger flared, but the truth tamped it down just as fast.

Vernon was right. His relationships didn’t last long, but it wasn’t always that way. There were long-term relationships in his past. One he’d hoped would lead to marriage. But, she played him… just like a handful of others after her.

After being used and burned one time too many by money-hungry women, a new Jonathan had emerged. The women he dated were of his choosing, the relationships brief—never lasting more than 3-4 months, and… he never took them to his home.

He thought it ironic and a double standard how women accused men of being users, players, and wanting the milk without buying the cow.  Jonathan Pratt’s experiences were the opposite.

Successful, middle-class, or struggling, Jonathan Pratt had dealt with women from all walks of life. They didn’t necessarily want him, but the things he could give them. Everything from expensive trips to jewels, to even braces for a teen whose father refused to step up—but whose mother was still seeing the deadbeat on the down-low—had been demanded of Jon. The final straw was when he gifted an up-and-coming sports agent with an expensive attaché for her birthday. She was expecting a car.

The successful freelance technical writer and consultant walked away from that dinner and never looked back. Jon became Mr. Love-‘Em-and-Leave-‘Em, not caring what others thought. His way of life worked well for him for over a dozen years and he’d seen no need to change it.

The modern, forward-thinking, independent career women Jon met in his line of work had no problem with his rules, most seeking the same type of encounter.

Now, here was a woman he didn’t know, tugging at his heart and tying him in knots.

“Dude? You sure you’re okay? Maybe you should call it a night.”

Pulled from his thoughts, Jon pleaded with his brother.

“Vernon, introduce me. Please?”

Before the younger Pratt could respond, Claire slid in between the two men. “Introduce you to who?” She glanced from brother to brother before her husband gave the one-word reply.



“C’mon, Claire. Why not?” Jonathan was at his wit’s end.

“She’s a sweetheart, Jonny. And your record with women… well -”

“I cannot believe my own family is treating me like some kind of sexual predator!”

Husband and wife exchanged surprised looks, caught off guard by Jon’s anger.

He scrubbed his hand over his bald head, trying to collect himself.

“Claire, please? I just want to meet her.” He looked over her shoulder, watching Lenore. “There’s… something different about her.”

The sincerity in his voice and eyes sent a tinge of guilt up Claire Pratt’s spine. “Okay, Jonny.”

As if on cue, the men standing with Lenore were called away for picture-taking. She walked over to the table to refill her glass.

“Enjoying yourself, Lennie?”

“Claire, you do know how to throw a party. Everything is wonderful.”

“I’m taking that compliment and running with it, even though half the food is from your recipes.”

“That makes us an unbeatable team.”

The two women laughed and high-fived each other.

Vernon cleared his throat.

“Lennie… Lenore, I don’t believe you’ve met my brother-in-law, Jonathan. He’s in town for the holidays.”

“No, I haven’t.” She extended her right hand and looked up into his face. “It’s a pleasure, Jonathan.”

Lost in her eyes, her touch jolted him back to reality.

“No, Lenore. The pleasure is… all mine.”

The couple stood there, silent and hands still clasped.

“You know, Jonny, Lennie will be joining us for Thanksgiving dinner.” He slipped an arm around his brother’s shoulder and leaned toward Lenore. “But only if she brings her cornbread dressing.”

She stuck out her tongue. “You’re mean and I’m telling Bobby.”

“Won’t help you, sister, he wants it too.”

Jon gave Vernon a side-eye glance. “Cornbread dressing? With giblet gravy?”

Vernon smirked. “Oh, yes.”

Jon considered Lenore. “With chopped hard-boiled eggs?”

Lenore tilted her head. “You know of another kind?”

Jonathan beamed. “Can we have dinner now?”

The two couples laughed but were interrupted by cheers from the living room.

“Swing, Roy! Swing!”

Claire Pratt growled.

“If Roy Cathey has snuck another piñata into my house…” Her voice trailed off as she rushed to the living room.

Vernon chuckled as he backed away to follow his wife. “Excuse me, folks, but I have to go, um… save Roy’s life.” Still laughing, he turned and followed the crowd’s cheers.

Jonathan relaxed, glad to be alone with Lenore. “So, cornbread dressing and giblet gravy. Save me a seat next to you.”

She laughed, and Jonathan rubbed the center of his chest, attempting to calm the erratic beats of his heart.

“Claire told me it was a favorite of Vernon’s.”

“One of mine too. Our mom. It was one of her specialties. The holidays don’t seem right without it.”

“I hope mine is an enjoyable substitute for your mom’s.”

Intelligent, beautiful, modest and humble. Jon wondered if there was a minister on Claire’s guest list.

“How long are you in town for, Lenore?”

“I cannot deal with crowded airports, so I don’t fly back to L.A. until next Tuesday.”

“L.A.?” He frowned, confused. “But when I asked about you, Vern said Minnesota.”

“You asked about me?”

“Um, yeah. Sorry.”

“Don’t be. I’m flattered. I saw you walk by the room earlier and wondered who you were. Although, even with your shaved head and overnight stubble versus Vernon’s head full of curls and clean-shaven face, it’s obvious you two are related.”

“You noticed me?”

“Is that all you got from what I said?”

“Yeah, the important part.”

Their shared laughter was quieter this time as an easy shyness drifted in, making them both avert their eyes.

“Um, to answer your question, I did live in Minnesota. Spent most of my life there. But after losing my parents, and then filing for divorce, I needed a change. My two older boys are stationed at Camp Pendleton and my youngest son is doing his residency at Stanford. California was the obvious choice.”

Divorced, yes! Thank you, Sweet Baby Jesus!

“You’re not going to believe this, but I live in Cali too.”

“No way! Where?”

“Brentwood. You?”

“Hidden Hills.”

“What’s the distance? Twenty miles? In Cali, that’s practically neighbors.”


He couldn’t let her get away. This was Fate at its finest. “Would you like to find a quiet place to talk, Lenore?”

Her smile told him everything before she answered. “I’d like that, Jonathan.”

Before they could exit the dining room, Bobby Pearson rushed in. “There you are, cuzzo! We need you for pictures before some of the peeps head out.” He noticed Jonathan for the first time. “Man, I didn’t know that was you. Love the Isaac Hayes non-hairdo!”  They shared a one-arm man-hug. “I’ll send her right back, Jonny, promise.”

“Make sure you do, Bobby. I’ll wait right on this spot.”

He and Lenore shared a look as she followed her cousin from the room. She held up one finger. “I’ll be right back.”

Jonathan stared after her even though she disappeared into the crowd. He couldn’t remember a time in his life when he felt so at peace. He’d just met Lenore Porter, and she calmed his soul. He didn’t see Hannah and Liz approach until they brushed up on either side of him.

Liz cooed. “You still playing hard-to-get, handsome, or can one of us start planning a wedding?”

“Sorry, ladies. I’m off the market.”

“Wait, what? That was fast.”

He chucked, talking more to himself than the two divorcees. “I know, right? I just met this woman [girl]. And just being near her changes me. She’s ruined my philosophy altered my thoughts. My heart skips a beat when she’s close by [comes around].”

He shook his head.

“Who knew I had to come back home to find out my heart was twenty miles from my front door?”


©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

I Wrote a Drabble!


I wrote my first drabble!

YAAY, me, right?

Wait. Don’t you know what a drabble is? It’s a short story written in 100 words or less, and it’s easier said than done.

I’d never heard of it either until a couple of weeks ago when I saw this post on Connie J. Jasperson’s Life in the Realm of Fantasy. Do you follow Connie? You should. She gives great writing advice… with examples!

After reading Connie’s post, I went on a drabble info search.

Google drabbles. I dare you! The search returns were mind-boggling. I felt like the planet was drabbling (← I have NO idea if that’s a word!) without me!

What’s the point of drabbles?

You’ll find several reasons listed on Connie’s blog, but prime for me is there is no room for anything which doesn’t move the story forward. Words must be chosen with much thought… because you can’t use more than a hundred.

If you’ve read anything by me, you know I have a love affair with the written word and don’t believe there can ever be too many, wonderful, glorious words! *Glares at last sentence* So, um… yeah.

I give you… my first drabble!


Calling His Bluff – Drabble #1

She removed her scarf and wiped her brow. The apple tree’s shade did little to protect her from the oppressive heat.

“Raelene – ”

“I’m done with this, Willie. Daddy is sick and needs me here to run the orchard. I can’t marry you.”

“He ain’t sick, Raelene! His mind is gone. He’s never getting better. Sell this land and put him in a nursing home.”


“I thought you wanted to be with me?” He smirked. “Patty Walters would love to marry me.”

Raelene grabbed her basket. “I hope you and Patty have a nice life.”

She walked away… relieved.


Okay, so I didn’t redefine drabbles, but… I did have the key elements: a setting, one or more characters, conflict, and resolution.

It’s a start!

I feel an obsession coming on. You know, after all my other writing obligations.  Averts eyes.

On average, drabbles will take about an hour to write.

It took me longer than that. A lot longer.

But don’t tell Connie.


©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

Farewell to a Grand Lady | #52weeks52stories

Changing gears for this week’s entry to pay tribute to someone very special.

Dorothy Reevers

We said goodbye to a grand lady last week. A woman of old world style, grace, and polite manners. For most of the thirty-six years I’d known her, she was fastidious… meticulous, always doing things the proper way.

She was my mother-in-law, Dorothy Reevers.

When you first met Dorothy, you knew she was a different breed, formed from a mold broken long ago.

Dorothy’s creole features were obvious—fair, mulatto skin, thick, dark hair, and almond-shaped eyes. But when she spoke it left many confused. While her own French-Creole mother barely spoke enough English to manage the household, Dorothy had no European lilt, West Indian pidgin or Louisiana geechie in her speech.  She and her older brother, James, spoke with perfect diction and enunciation. And neither spoke a word of French. Their father, Elijah forbade it, believing their ethnic heritage was barrier enough to a successful future.

Julmiez, Dorothy’s mother, agreed to her children not learning or speaking French, but one thing she wouldn’t compromise on was school. Dorothy received her entire education from kindergarten through college from parochial schools in and around Berkeley, California where she was born. Some of her best anecdotes were about nuns in the classroom… especially Sister Helen Grace. Even after converting to Seventh Day Adventism years later. Dorothy would continue to genuflect whenever she passed a Catholic church.

With her poise and grace, it’s not hard to believe Dorothy was a debutante and introduced to society at sixteen. Her high morals and business-like attitude were greatly admired in the community and she was called upon to mentor to other young debutantes and would even serve as an officer of the Debutante Society.

When I met this incredible woman more than forty years later, I knew she was a force to be reckoned with. I also knew I was being observed… and graded as a daughter-in-law. I won her approval less than a week later after making dinner for her. She fell in love with me after having my lasagna! For the next three decades, I would be required to bring lasagna to all family gatherings, church functions, and even a couple of potlucks at her job.

For most of Dorothy’s career, she worked for the United States Military and in civil service.

Standing only four feet, ten inches tall, Dorothy wore four-inch heels every day of her life until she retired in 1989. She didn’t do it be ‘be’ taller. The few extra inches helped to put things within reach of her tiny frame. Dorothy was independent and self-sufficient and refused to be looked down on because of her stature.

And she never backed away from a fight.

When we met in early 1982, Dorothy and several co-workers had filed suit against their employer, the State of California, for working them in higher rank classifications past labor law limits and without the higher wages for those ranks.

Over the next few years, her co-workers were bullied and harassed into dropping out of the suit. Some retired, others moved away and dropped out of sight. By 1987, Dorothy was the sole plaintiff. And she wouldn’t budge.

As assistant to the department’s director, Dorothy had a laundry list of job duties, and in true job

In this photo, Dorothy is pregnant with my future husband!

intimation tactics, her boss would add others at random. (Never mind some of them fell in line with the very reason employees filed suit to begin with.)

Shortly before her retirement, the courts ruled the state had acted in bad faith and did violate labor laws.

The state also lost on appeal.

As the lone plaintiff, Dorothy won all her back-pay plus punitive damages.

When I congratulated her, she simply shook her head and said, “Dear, what they did was wrong, and you can’t hide wrong forever.”

It was just that simple for her.

As was life.

Dorothy believed in God, home, and family. Even when ill, I don’t know of a day when she missed saying morning prayers. And I don’t mean, “God bless the poor, etc.”, but literally down on her knees at her bedside…with a list of names and their situations!

Having one sibling, and both parents coming from small families, Dorothy had a strong sense of family, and longed for a large family. The mother of four had ten grandchildren, twelve great grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren! And, she doted on each and every one. It was inspiring to see someone get so much joy from making others happy.

But with joy comes sadness and Dorothy was no stranger to it. She lost her dad in 1964 and her mom in 1984. (Julmiez Davis passed away nine days short of her 101st birthday.) Death is a part of life and Dorothy mourned her parents as most adult children with families of their own do while moving on with life.

However, in the early 2000s, her resolve was sorely tested.

In the span of three short years, Dorothy lost her oldest grandson, brother (and only sibling), and her husband of fifty years, Elmer… all to cancer.

They were devastating blows which temporarily impacted her health. Yet, as her health improved, Dorothy appeared to be stronger and more resilient.

But fate wasn’t done with her. In January of 2008, Dorothy’s oldest daughter, and a great-granddaughter were killed along with seven others in a tour bus accident during a high school ski trip.

Dorothy was the epitome of a strong woman, comforting others. She attended a memorial service at her great-granddaughter’s high school, where she embraced and comforted students and faculty… and added more names to her ever-growing prayer list.

However, even the strongest among us can only withstand so much loss, and an emotionally broken heart can only be broken once. If it’s not allowed to heal fully, subsequent turmoil rocks us to our souls, stealing our essence a little at a time.

This was the case with Dorothy. Never fully recovered from losing close family and the love of her life, the losses changed her. Not in a drastic way or by radical measures. But, her smile wasn’t quite as bright. The sparkle in her eyes we all were so used to seeing was replaced by a sadness at burying too many family members who should have outlived her.

Dorothy passed away on January 12, 2018 at the age of 93. While she took medication for mild dementia and a blood platelet problem, she wasn’t ‘sick’ or suffering from a major illness. When she and I last spoke the week before Christmas and I asked how she was doing, she replied, “Dear, I’m just tired.” She went quickly, from a cardiac episode. Paramedics arrived only six minutes after being called but could not revive her.

As I looked around during her memorial service, I realized there was only one person there I did not know. So loved and respected was this wonderful woman, people traveled to Arizona from as far away as California and New York to celebrate her life and say their last goodbyes. Dorothy enriched every life she touched, never expecting or wanting anything in return.

She was a blessing not fully realized until she was gone.