Submitted into Contest #248 in response to: Write a story titled 'Persuasion'.... view prompt


Fiction Friendship Romance

In the opulence of a bygone age when the soft plucking of a guitar reverberated through aristocratic drawing rooms, Miss Tucker found herself at a turning point in her life. In her chest, like the delicate strings of that instrument, beat a tango of competing longings.

On the one hand, the canvas called out to her—a haven where her creative spirit could run free like a river of color. The burden of her love longing weighed heavily on her, casting a shadow on her aspirations.

Concealed within her tattered diary was a chamber that Miss Tucker herself had kept hidden among all the glitzy social events and whispered secrets. Her unsaid desires, furtive glances, and forbidden desires were all contained within its midnight blue-ink pages. The ink soaked up her tears and whispered promises as she exposed her most vulnerable self.

A haunting tune that had found its way into her heart resounded as she thought about her childhood sweetheart. Each note carried memories of moonlit gardens, kisses under an ancient oak, and hopes that danced in the twilight like fireflies.

Kelly Ann’s memories of Carl wove through her mind like a delicate melody. His warm and infectious laughter had been her refuge during uncertain times. But their paths diverged—the spotlight beckoned while Carl found solace in the intricate world of finance.

Carl’s passion was rooted in numbers—the elegant dance of balance sheets, the pulse of stock markets, and the precision of accounting. He thrived on pragmatism, his mind a well-organized ledger where every decision had a calculated outcome.

Yet, there existed a common ground—a bridge between their disparate worlds. Carl became more than just an accountant; he was a poet at heart, and he helped her with her lyrics when they were younger. His analytical intellect studied melodies, harmonies, and words. Even while he balanced spreadsheets, he felt the beat of her spirit.

Kelly Ann, on the other hand, was a dreamer. Her lute whispered secrets, and her voice carried echoes of distant constellations. She sought the spotlight—the stage where her heart could spill its poetry.

Their conversations were a dance—a waltz of practicality and whimsy. She’d share a half-formed lyric, and he’d analyze its potential impact. She’d dream of sold-out arenas, and he’d calculate ticket sales.

“You’re the dreamer,” he’d say, his eyes crinkling at the corners. “And I’m the one who keeps your dreams grounded.”

She’d laugh, her fingers tracing invisible chords. “But sometimes, Carl, dreams need wings, not anchors.”

So, they’d find harmony—between the lute and the ledger, the spotlight and the stock market.

As she confided in her diary, Kelly Ann wondered if their paths would intersect again. Perhaps she’d glimpse Carl’s familiar face in a crowded concert hall. Possibly, in the quiet of a backstage corridor, they’d share a joke.

For life was a duet—a delicate balance of pragmatism and poetry. And the dreamer, Kelly Ann, vowed to keep singing, even if the spotlight sometimes blinded her to the love she so desperately wanted to share with Carl.

Kelly Ann’s fingers trembled as they traced the edges of her well-worn diary. The ink-stained pages held secrets—longings, whispered promises, and the echo of a past she couldn’t forget. And there, nestled among the lines, was a number—a lifeline to a different time, a different version of herself.

She discovered Carl’s phone number. It was as if the numbers were dancing before her eyes. She recalled the warmth of his laughter, how it encircled her heart like a well-known tune, and the fondness it brought her.

What would a call to Carl ignite? Would it rekindle old flames or unravel the delicate equilibrium they’d built?

Her soul wrestled with conflicting desires—the yearning for connection and the fear of disrupting the present. She imagined the conversation—the awkward pauses, the shared memories, the unspoken questions.

“Hello,” she’d say, her voice a fragile thread.

“Kelly Ann,” he’d reply, and the years would collapse into that single syllable.

And then? Would they laugh about their youthful follies, or would the silence stretch like an uncharted road?

She closed her eyes, feeling the weight of her hidden desires. The lute’s strings hummed in sympathy, and the ink in her diary seemed to pulse with anticipation.

Perhaps, just perhaps, she’d dial the number. Maybe they’d find themselves on the precipice of something new in the quiet of a moonlit night.

Miss Tucker, the dreamer, knew that sometimes the most beautiful melodies were born from the collision of hearts. Carl’s number was a note waiting to be played.

For what is life but a delicate composition—a symphony of choices, harmonies of love and sacrifice? And Miss Tucker, with her hidden diary, was the composer of her own story.

As the bus rumbled down the road to her next gig, every bump and pothole sent shivers through her tired body. The bed offered no respite, and the dim overhead light flickered like a distant star. The night outside was a blur of passing streetlights and neon signs, each one a fleeting glimpse into a world she no longer recognized.

The road noise was relentless—a symphony of engine growls, tire hums, and the occasional screech of brakes. It drowned out her thoughts, leaving her with nothing but the rhythm of the journey. She was curious about whether the road itself had a history and whether it revealed hidden information to anyone who traversed its twisting path.

And then there were the passing cars—their headlights slicing through the darkness like knives. Each one carried a story, a destination, a purpose. She imagined the drivers inside, their faces illuminated momentarily before disappearing into the night.

But it wasn’t just the physical discomfort or the sensory overload that kept her awake. It was the emptiness—the hollowness that echoed within her chest. Fame had brought her success, adoration, and a life most could only imagine. But it had also severed ties, frayed connections and left her adrift in a sea of strangers.

She reached for her diary. Carl was mentioned multiple times, and only she would know it. “Letting fame separate me from my past was a mistake,” she wrote. “I traded memories for applause, love for headlines. And now, as the wheels turn and the miles stretch ahead, I wonder if it’s too late to reclaim what I’ve lost.”

The road stretched on an unending ribbon of asphalt. She pressed her forehead against the cool window, watching the world blur by. The passing lights whispered their secrets, and she listened, hoping to find a way back—to the girl who strummed her guitar in dimly lit cafes, to the laughter shared with friends, to the simplicity of a life before fame.

Perhaps she could bridge the gap between past and present in the quiet of this bus. Possibly, in the ink of her diary, she could weave a new story that harmonized fame with authenticity, applause with soul.

Her manager, Denise, and childhood buddy had distanced her from Carl because she considered him a distraction. Carl would never approve of a rock star’s lifestyle. Denise knew Kelly Ann was capable. Carl, the scrawny schoolchild, was always reading. He was the definition of a nerd. That wouldn’t do. Rock stars required actual men who practiced sports and socialized with other real men.

“What’re you up to?” “You need your sleep, darling,” Denise inquired.

Kelly Ann didn’t want to admit what was on her mind. She wasn’t nervous about the concert she was to perform that afternoon. She wasn’t even concerned that the band hadn’t had time to practice her latest song. It was something else that troubled her.

Denise was not only a producer but also managed Kelly Ann. She knew that Kelly Ann had something on her mind, but she also knew she needed to rest.

Engaging her in silly banter seemed to be her go-to way to mitigate whatever troubled her.

Denise got her attention. “Hey, I’ve got this great idea for the new album. It’s called ‘Silence’. It’s revolutionary—no music, no singing, just... silence.”

“What, Silence? Do you mean, like, John Cage’s 4’33” silence?”

“No, no, that’s been done. This is different. It’s... deeper silence. The kind of silence that makes you think, “Wow, I’ve never heard anything like this before.”

“Right... And how exactly do we record this ‘deeper silence’?

“Easy! We just turn on the mics and leave the studio. The mics will pick up the essence of nothingness.

“I see. And who is the target audience for this album?

“It’s for you, darling. It’s the sound of life, the universe, and everything—or the lack thereof. It’s the sounds that I want you to focus on while you go back to bed.”

She nodded while glancing at Denise. “Thanks for caring,” she said.

What she really needed was a confidant. The diary never talked back or offered advice. While there was no doubt that Denise cared, her loyalties were divided between Kelly Ann and the Profit and Loss statements.


Carl was traveling with his company on her last visit to her home. She didn’t admit her disappointment to anyone but her diary.

However, it wasn’t solely the prospect of financial gain that inspired the melodies to emanate from her soul. Unfortunately, love was the missing note in the symphony of her life. The absence loomed more significant with every standing ovation, an emptiness that applause could never bridge, enveloping Miss Tucker in a profound solitude that reverberated through the vast halls of her residence, as silent as the untouched pages of her songbook.

Queen Emma, also known as Kelly Ann Tucker, was caught in a web of astonishment and intrigue. Life had taken unexpected turns, revealing secrets and transformations that left her breathless.

The news arrived like a sudden gust of wind, sweeping away the familiar landscape of her memories. Her childhood confidant—the scrawny lad who once shared secrets under the ancient oak tree—had metamorphosed into a well-known financial advisor. The boy who stumbled over his shoelaces now navigated the intricate world of stocks, bonds, and market trends. How had time sculpted him into this new form?

As she confided in her diary, she grappled with the paradoxes of her existence. Fame had woven a gilded tapestry around her, but it had also unraveled threads of familiarity. The boy who knew her secrets now analyzed balance sheets, and the lute that sang of simpler times now harmonized with the elite.

Yet, hidden within these transformations lay a common thread—the yearning for connection. Kelly Anne wondered if her childhood confidant still carried his shared memories. She was curious if the financial advisor ever glanced back at the past. And the lute—did it remember the whispered promises and stolen kisses?

Kelly Ann vowed to bridge these worlds in the quiet of her bedroom. She would strum her guitar, not just for the upper class but for the scrawny lad who once dreamed beside her. She would seek out her confidant, unravel the mysteries of his transformation, and perhaps find a melody that wove past and present together.

In her bedroom was a tiny jewelry box, the kind with the little ballerina that popped up and magically danced with the haunting music of her youth. Instead of jewelry, there was a collection of cat eye marbles, each a memory of a song she had made just for him. He traded marbles for songs, their own currency that only they understood.

In one chapter, the title ‘For Carl’ referred to a collection of songs made specifically for him during their youth.

Kelly Ann turned the pages of lyrics…

In a moonlit room, where shadows dance,

Two hearts collided simply by chance.

She was the moon, he the sea,

Their love-like marbles were rolling free.

Marbles of love they tumbled and turned,

Across the universe, their passion burned.

Each one a memory, a shared delight,

In this cosmic game of day and night.

As she closed her diary, tears had stained the ink on the pages. She wondered what other surprises awaited her on this winding journey. Would she play it safe, or would she follow her heart?

Without confiding in her producer, she researched where Carl was and how to reach him. As the bus headed for another gig, she dialed his number one night.

She braced herself for a business-like conversation filled with talk of diversification and dividends. She wanted to chat with a buddy who only wanted to talk about life, not strategy.

Expecting his anemic voice and calculated logic, she was shocked. His voice, now deep and resonant, filled her ear. She was captivated by the melodic sound of his laughter and the profound wisdom that transcended material wealth.

Her heart was set aflutter in this unexpected exchange. She discovered a new passion for economics and a revived fondness for the man who once traded marbles for songs.

Backstage, the air hummed with anticipation—a symphony of whispered excitement and the distant echo of tuning instruments. He stepped into the dimly lit corridor, the scent of old wood and adrenaline clinging to the walls. There she was, bathed in the glow of stage lights, her eyes alight with recognition.

“You made it,” she said, her voice a melody that wrapped around his heart.

He nodded, words caught in his throat. The years melted away—the scrawny lad and the girl with the lute—replaced by two adults who had danced to different tunes.

“It’s been too long,” he replied, and she laughed—a sound that echoed through the backstage chaos.

As their conversations deepened, the world outside faded. They spoke of lost chords and found harmonies, of dreams deferred and melodies rewritten. The jokes flowed freely, each one a bridge between past and present.

“Remember that song?” she asked, her eyes dancing. “The one we wrote under the moonlight?”

He did. It had been their secret—a fragile creation that had never seen the light of day.

“It needs work,” she said, her fingers brushing against his. “Think we could do it together?”

And just like that, they were back in the old rhythm. The backstage chaos faded, replaced by the quiet urgency of creation.

He picked up a guitar, its strings familiar yet foreign.

She sat beside him, her lute resting against her knee. Together, they strummed, hummed, and wove notes into existence.

“Remember the bridge?” she asked, and he nodded.

They played, their laughter blending with the music. The song emerged—a tapestry of memories and longing.

“It’s missing something,” she said, her eyes searching his.

He leaned closer, their breaths mingling. “Maybe it’s missing us.”

And so, in that backstage cocoon, they worked—the scrawny lad and the girl with the lute. The song transformed, its chords stronger, its lyrics bolder.

As the stage lights flickered, they shared a secret smile. They would perform their creation tonight—a melody that spanned years, bridging gaps and rewriting history.

And when the curtain rose, they stepped into the spotlight, their eyes locked. The lute played the trendy tunes of the upper class, and the guitarist strummed their hidden song.

The audience held its breath as the two stepped under the lights. The crowd erupted in cheers when they sang—a duet of past and present, of love and possibility.

For fame had separated them once, but music had brought them back—to the scrawny lad and the girl with the lute, flying on the wings of their own creation.

May 02, 2024 21:14

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Linda Stone
23:07 May 08, 2024

Your writing is filled with emotion and creativity. Reading your story filled with so many metaphors and such wonderful use of imagery makes me feel like I am there witnessing the events taking place.


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Beverly Goldberg
14:17 May 05, 2024

The melody of your words was lovely. The story is a song. Brilliant writing that evokes pictures of sweet memories. I'm eager to read other stories you wrote.


Scott Taylor
03:44 May 07, 2024

Thanks, Beverly! I was trying something different. I read your story about 'The Home.' I chuckled when I thought back to the many visits I had over the years with aging relatives of one sort or another. Some residents wanted to chat, and I would engage with them. The stories they told, for the most part, I would file away as fodder for another day. I felt like getting to know them and possibly putting some of their words into another story was a small way to keep part of them alive. Maybe that's silly, but I did write a short story about a g...


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Darvico Ulmeli
22:16 May 03, 2024

Nicely done.


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Alexis Araneta
18:20 May 03, 2024

The romantic in me swooned at this ! Wow ! The descriptions and imagery were so impeccably used, made me smile. From this plotter, I say you did a great job !


Scott Taylor
03:45 May 07, 2024

Thanks so much! This style is totally out of my comfort zone.


Alexis Araneta
03:55 May 07, 2024

Well, now, you know you can do this plotting thing. You can write romance. Splendid work !


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Trudy Jas
12:15 May 03, 2024

Hey, Scott. This sure is a departure from your regular style. I'm a great fan of "getting back together with the possibility of HEA" stories. You asked for feedback. It's fun to experiment with new styles and you stayed consistent throughout. Though I wonder if the dialogues should be in current vernacular. e.g. Denise took half the night telling the MC to go back to sleep. :-)


Scott Taylor
12:47 May 03, 2024

Yeah, that was supposed to be humor. However, referencing John Cage, who sat at the piano doing nothing for 4 minutes and 33 seconds, might be a little too obscure for the humor to be evident. Have a super weekend!


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Scott Taylor
21:23 May 02, 2024

This story took a while as it forced me to plot rather than dance to the rhythm of my imagination. I am a discovery writer, not a plotter. Why did I do this, you might wonder? I believe pushing ourselves well outside our comfort zones is good. Several things in this story accomplished that. Sci-fi is my normal genre. The title of anything I write usually appears in the story's conflict. Refreshing myself with Jane Austen's book of the same title was paramount in putting a new spin on her work. I am currently experimenting with a more poe...


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